Of the butchery arts

I stumbled upon this blog post about, er, animal fat sculptures. I basically grew up in a butcher shop, so this shit fascinates me. Alas, we didn't have window displays, otherwise I might have carved out (pun intended) a niche for myself in the meat-centric decorative arts.

My step-dad sold off the plant a couple years ago, after nigh on forty years cutting meat. Not because he was ready to retire, I feel, but because the work was literally causing him to fall apart. I often take for granted what an effect the place had on my writing - it stirred in me a love/hate of the visceral. Butchery is hard fucking work, and I respect Charlie endlessly for having dedicated the better part of his working life to the craft of it as well. And, in general, the art itself is awash with poem fodder.

But, on a personal level, Charlie and I did not get along very well while under the same roof. I took a turn as vegetarian when I went off to college, but it was more ridiculous than anything. I endured excruciating home visits of starch and salad and lingering gazes at bloody steaks. The kind that still moo. I can't see eating meat as morally indefensible because I grew up not with mass slaughtered cow parts, but locally-raised and razed livestock. The whole process was made transparent to me. I'm fortunate in this regard, and am fairly certain that if I hadn't had this experience, I would probably have stayed a vegetarian after my feeble undergraduate rebellion.

NOW I really want a bloody ribeye. Dammit.


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