It started with a kiss…
Okay, it didn’t start with a kiss. Or did it? Did kissing Lorraine, the butcher’s daughter, start me down this strange and twisted path? Maybe not! Did my passion for the pig come from even earlier times?
When I was a child – yes, I was once one of those small innocent things that strangers coo over and families bear upon their shoulders with pride – I was an utter bastard for taking bites out of things in shops. I’d reach out from the pram, snatch something and it would be in my mouth before you could say, ‘Oi Missus, you bastarding child has just swiped something and taken a bite out of it!’
So, what were these tasty tidbits I couldn’t resist? Was it sugary cakes or sweets? No, ’twas not! Maybe fruit or vegetables? No, wrong again. It was pork products, typically raw ones. Black puddings were my first choice, apparently. I say apparently, because being of an age when I had to be wheeled around by an adult, I have no memory of this. Black puddings, sausages, even the odd pork chop. Back in the days before supermarkets, when real meat was displayed for real people to buy, the Mother had to take care where she parked the pram!
Over the years, I’ve eaten most meats; all the butchers’ meats, along with every type of game, and many exotic meats, especially those prevalent in the Asian region! I’ve not only eaten a wide variety of meat, but I’ve probably eaten a wide variety of cuts and internals, and arguably every bit of the pig.
It’s fair to say that I like meat.
So, why charcuterie? Why not. Well, in truth, I was buying some cookery books on-line a few years ago, and in order to get free next-day delivery I had to spen a certain amount. My selections fell slightly short of the magical figure, so I made the amount up with a book about charcuterie. I had no intention of doing anything. It was more something to read, and to see if I could nick a few ideas about flavour combinations. That book has sat, untouched, on the shelves of cookery books in my kitchen since then.
The other evening, I saw that unloved and unread book, and I felt a little guilty that I hadn’t even opened it. I plucked it off the shelf and started reading. By midnight, I was on-line, searching for Prague Powder.
I know how to cook, I know how to brew and I know how to eat meat. Charcuterie? Not a bloody clue. But I shall learn. Along the way, I might cock things up. I might even make myself ill. Hopefully, I won’t die. But if I do, then that’s what it’s going to take.
What can go wrong?