Sep 27 2011

Butchery & Graphic Design

Park Slope is days away from having its very own butcher shop!  This would be good news by itself, but because the butcher shop is Fleisher's, my anticipation hovers near Christmas-time levels of excitement.

Some of you reading have probably come to a screeching halt in your thoughts:  wait, I thought Meaghin was a vegetarian?

Well, I am still mostly a vegetarian.  After a full two years of eating a seasonal, local, and vegetarian diet, while reading and grasping the finite details of our food system and animal welfare, I've reached a conclusion:  to support farms raising animals the correct way, to support a holistic and dynamic agricultural system, and to keep myself healthy, I need to eat meat--every two weeks or so.

As a runner, and as someone with a generally high metabolism (now I can hear echos of 'shut up, that's not a problem!'), eating seasonally without meat is both do-able and enjoyable in every season except for Winter.  In the Winter, especially by late February, squash and potatoes and old greens and apples have lost their appeal. If I were a car, I'd no longer be running on a full engine--I would not be getting all of the nutrients I need to function.

So, to most people, yes I'm still a vegetarian.  But for those who want to know more, I'm now a very selective omnivore.  I'll eat meat when I can tell that my body needs protein and slow burning calories.  My selectivity stems from three factors:

  1. I crave meat sporadically.
  2. It's difficult to purchase meat that's been raised on pasture, fed and nourished appropriately, and slaughtered ethically.
  3. And when I do find amazing farms (Grazin' Angus, Flying Pigs Farm, etc), the price correlates with the effort and care put into raising each animal.  Our food budget can be severely reduced just from buying a packet of bacon.

Fleisher's owners Josh and Jessica Applestone opened their Kingston, NY butcher shop in 2004.  You can read this article about their unlikely path to butchery and their meteoric rise as ethical butchers and teachers.  As the article shares, Fleisher's remains one of a handful of butchers in the nation to offer only sustainable meats from small local farms (Manhattan based Dickson's is part of that handful!)

And now-Park Slope will be home to Fleisher's second store!   When we peeked in two days ago, things were bustling.  All of the cases and freezers and refrigerators were in place.  The shut door was framed with an awesome poster of a pig, entitled "Brooklyn Knows the Tastiest Parts".  You've probably seen images of animals divided up by their cuts of meat; this image is divided by Brooklyn's neighborhoods, but if you look closely, artist Alyson Thomas has drawn divisions for the cuts of meat too (ham, jowl, bacon).

San Francisco-based Thomas has drawn four "Meat My City" posters:  Brooklyn, Portland ("Portland Knows how to Pork"), Los Angeles ("Los Angeles is for Meat Eaters") and San Francisco ("San Francisco is for Carnivores").

Speaking of funky food graphics,  I'm also excited about Julia Rothman's upcoming Farm Anatomy book.  Rothman is a Brooklyn based illustrator of innumerable talent.  This book looks like the perfect quirky resource both for the at home cook and as a companion to teach children more about food and food varieties.

So, I know I've jumped around from vegetarianism, to Fleishers, to graphic design.  Consider it a glimpse into my daily struggle of focusing on just one thing at a time!

Pictures of Thomas's posters are from her website, and images of Rothman's Farm Anatomy book are derived from her Flickr stream.