The Ethical Butcher: How Thoughtful Eating Can Change Your World

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9781593765057: The Ethical Butcher: How Thoughtful Eating Can Change Your World
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America is in the midst of a meat zeitgeist. Butchers have emerged as the rock stars of the culinary world, and cozy gastropubs serving up pork belly, lamb burgers, and sweetbreads rule the restaurant scene. In New York, the humble meatball enjoys entrée status from upscale Gramercy Tavern to newcomer The Meatball Shop. Across the country in San Francisco, savvy chefs flock to hip meat markets like The Fatted Calf. If butchers are our new rock stars, then Berlin Reed is their front man.

Berlin Reed is The Ethical Butcher,” a former self-described militant vegan punk who grudgingly took a job as a butcher's apprentice in Brooklyn when he could find no other work. Shockingly, he fell in love with the art of butchering, and a food revolution was born. Along the way he saw how corporate greed, unsustainable food practices, and outright misinformation gave birth to such falsities as the USDA label organic’ and the conglomerate of eco-friendly supermarkets. Most people, even those that try to be healthy and green, are not really eating what they think they are eating. The Ethical Butcher will shine a light on these untruths and show a better way towards food justice and the sustainable living of a mindful omnivore.

Through the lens of Berlin's personal story, The Ethical Butcher educates readers about how they can improve the meat industry by participating in it. It's a memoir in cuts and Berlin's return to eating meat illustrates for readers and foodies alike how they can change the meat industry by making better choices.

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About the Author:

Berlin Reed launched The Ethical Butcher blog in 2009 and now travels the country hosting informative farm-to-table dinners that seek to educate the public about how to be sure their choices as consumers match their intentions. He was profiled as one of the country's top 50 butchers in the book Primal Cuts, and is a charter member, and the voice of, the newly formed Butcher's Guild. He's been featured in O Magazine, on Today.com, and has appeared several times on NPR. He is currently at work on a pilot episode for a TV series that documents his farm to table dinners across the country.

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Excerpt from The Ethical Butcher

My hand was steady, but my head was spinning. Billy's eyes were two fixed and glazed cloudy marbles. I traced the topography of the outsretched goat carcass before me with my eyes, then with my hands. When you are so acutely aware of every choice that led you to what you're about to do, thoughts swirl in the mind. In these moments, for better or worse, we are made most human. The air is charged with energy, caught somewhere between construction and destruction.

I have repeated this act countless times in the years since, but that day was my very first turn to break down, or cut up, a whole animal on my own. I had named the goat carcass "Billy." How a vegetarian of 14 years ends up at a butcher counter, knife in hand, is where my story begins. This slow and deliberate action, taking in every detail of the animal lying before me is an action every bit as moving to me now as it was that day. Every butcher knows a certain primal satisfaction as their knives move through flesh and fat, skin and bone. Our skilled carving turns death into life, a carcass into meat.

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9781619023031: The Ethical Butcher: How to Eat Meat in a Responsible and Sustainable Way

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