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Ace Interview with Berlin Reed, The Ethical Butcher

berlin reed

Yesterday, I read a brilliant interview on the Ace Hotel blog with a guy called Berlin Reed, aka The Ethical Butcher. I’ve never heard of him before but have since become obsessed with learning as much as I can about what he does. Mostly because he said many things in the interview that reflect my own personal philosophies and mindset when it comes to food consumption. My favourite excerpt from the interview:

Ace: Dario Cecchini, who wrote the forward for Primal Cuts says, “There are four things an animal must have: A good life, a good death, a good butcher and a good cook — someone who can dignify the animal and all those whose labors led it to the table.” What do you think about that?

Berlin: I love it! It is the theme of my party and that quote, paraphrased, is the chapter in my book. It is absolutely true, and in my opinion, can be extended to our entire food system. Where does it come from? How was it made and by whom? How did it get to the restaurant/store/market? These are questions we need to ask ourselves about grapes, bananas and coffee just as much as we do about pork and salmon. We have to start looking at our system as whole, as well as our implication in it. The respect afforded these animal is a stream that flows all the way from farm to slaughterhouse to butcher’s counter to your table, you can taste the difference in these meats. Respect is nowhere in the equation of industrial meat, no respect for animals or land, no respect for those who labor in their diseased feedlots and no respect for us, the consumers who will ultimately ingest this food. The four keys open the door to responsible food production and consumption across the board. It is time to ask the questions, not just look for labels.

Serving as a chef, butcher and { meat } blogger he certainly has his hands full, but it seems that this chap also hosted a series of supper clubs…a supper tour if you will, around the US for the past few months culminating in a dinner and book release in Portland tomorrow night { details to be found on the ethical butcher blog }.

I highly recommend reading the interview, I personally find it refreshing that there is someone out there doing what he does. Although I am a vegetarian I am pro meat consumption if it’s done right. It’s just not for me right now – and some of the problems Berlin cited are just some { not all } of the reasons why I chose to stop my meat consumption, { that being said there are various reasons that make up the whole as to why I don’t eat meat – most of which I don’t bother tell people because they get all passive-agressivey about it! }. But regardless of your stance it’s a good read and an encouragement to be an informed participant in your food decisions.

image by alison picard


Cheesy Blasters!

cheesy blasters

What does this foodie do when she’s ill? Watch food related comedy of course – check it out.

image source unknown

crEATe. Eating, Design and Future Food

crEATe eating, design and future food

food typography

I know this book isn’t new but that hasn’t hampered it’s ability to raise intrigue in this craven little brain of mine. crEATe investigates recent trends and visual developments in and around food. Examining the way we eat, the interiors of restaurants and the furniture of food shops, food branding and packaging and so on. It sounds above and beyond like a print version of what the craven maven blog strives to be! Have you seen or read this book? I am adding it to my wishlist for sure!

food personalities

politics of eating

Buy it here.

image via gestalten

Eat Seasonally! Eat Locally!

local veg

You may, or may not have noticed, but I have updated the column on the left with whats in season for end of June / start of July on the east coast and west coast USA.

For detail as to what is in season in your area, use the NRDC tool located here. Eat seasonally! Eat locally! It makes a world of difference.

image by Jen Pinker

Meet your meat

cattle by John Faherty

* I apologise for the lack of posts this week – unfortunately life has not been too kind to me and things are a little topsy turvy 😦 Things will be (almost) back to normal soon I trust!*

Many years ago, when I’d just joined the ranks of vegetarianism, I saw a documentary and Q&A named the above. It was certainly an eye opener but as a person who had already researched the meat industry in the US at least, it wasn’t surprising. The presenters of the film were more focused on the cruelty to animals, which is of course a concern, but when I looked into where my meat was coming from, the concern was more selfish. What was I being offered to buy and was it of the sort of quality I would be willing to consume? I will spare you the details, in this area of life, I believe to each their own – but I know what my conscience would and would not allow when it came to what I was willing to eat.

The meat industry, nay the food industry should be a concern to EVERYONE’S. After all food and eating is a key facet of everyone’s daily life. EVERYONE. Not only should we be concerned with the source, but the quality and development of such industries.

I came across a very very interesting AP article on The Brooklyn Home Companion the other day that I think everyone should keep an eye on. Titled , Meat, poultry industries await new antitrust rules. A few excerpts from this article that caught my eye:

“KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal regulators are set to release the most sweeping antitrust rules covering the meat industry in decades, potentially altering the balance of power between meat companies and the farmers who raise their animals.

Activists, farmers and meat industry officials have been anxiously awaiting the new rules, which will be released this spring for public comment and are set to take effect this summer. The regulations are seen as a kind of litmus test for the Obama administration and how far it will go in regulating competition in the meat industry.

At issue is how much power farmers have as they produce cattle, hogs and chickens for large companies such as JBS SA, Smithfield Farms and Tyson Foods. The new rules will govern how meatpackers buy their cattle on an open market and what demands poultry companies can make on the independent contractors who raise their chickens.”


“Just four companies buy and slaughter 80 percent of all U.S. beef, limiting competition in the meat industry. Meanwhile, big poultry companies dictate chicken prices and can demand farmers take on debt to upgrade their chicken houses for the companies’ benefit.

Farmers such as Weaver, who has met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, think the new leaders in the USDA’s antitrust division will push for tougher and more far-reaching regulations than previous administrations. Some believe the new rules could be the strongest antitrust protections imposed since the Great Depression.

There’s also a risk they will drive up the cost of meat, eating into meatpackers’ profits or pushing up prices at grocery stores if companies pass on the expense.”

I highly recommend everyone take the time to read the article in its entirety, it’s not that long, and keep track of where this thing goes. After all, it is a part of your, my and everyone’s daily life.

image by john faherty