Behind the Home-Butchering Craze
By JOSH OZERSKY
Many of the young pioneers of this latest culinary trend may not even realize that butchers, like milkmen and iceboxes, were a mainstay of American culture for most of our history. The rise of supermarkets in the 1960s and ’70s, and the general decline of the blue-collar trades throughout the postwar years, contributed to the near extinction of the retail butcher — that gruff but lovable lug in a white apron who stood behind a counter and cut up chops for your dinner, and whom you knew as well as your baker and, yes, your banker. Butchers mattered in people’s lives, because they were part of the food supply. And they’re not coming back.
But the service they provided is, thanks to recession economics and a very of-the-moment mood for getting engaged with how and what you eat. At specialty shops like Brooklyn’s Meat Hook, hipster parents and earnest “gastronauts” attend cult butcher Tom Mylan’s weekly lessons in how to cut up animals.