- Joined Apr 3, 2008
I understand you and feel your pain. I cook for my family but rarely get to do the buying. Sometimes I give my wife an explicit shopping list and she returns with something else... at the suggestion of some-person-in-the-store. I can't tell you how many times I've sent her back and told her to tell the person-in-the-store that if they don't have what I want/need than they should just say so. Sometimes their substitution works but too often it won't. Meat is particular frustrating. I print pictures of the cut I want... especially after her first experience buying a pork loin for the Christmas dinner. Wife asked what that cut of meat will look like so I described it as "pork chops, but all in one piece. Apparently the meat guy at the market took that description literally; he used the band saw to cut a loin into chops and stacked them together. She was so proud of herself; he was so proud of himself; I was furious. The next day he ordered a center-cut loin for me and I asked for it to just be wrapped in paper. Aside specialty meat markets, I'm finding that markets, at best, have a meat cutter (which is VERY different from a butcher) and "meat men"... who seem best suited for stocking the shelves but not knowing too much about the product. I never thought of them as "butcher bullies" but more as "meat salesman who sometimes behave like used-car salesman"...It can be difficult to maneuver a butcher buy. Especially if you're new to cooking or new to butchers. I still find them confusing and difficult to have a conversation with but maybe that's because the butchers in my area are all Greek, serve mostly Greek clientele and are chauvinists. Sometimes it feels as if they are patronizing me when I ask for something outside their comfort zone.
One when I first started cooking I went to buy a pork loin. Didn't really know what to ask for and how to ask for it, it was my first time cooking pork loin. The butcher left the bone in and took the liberty of partically slicing about 10 portions. Cooking it was a disaster. I tried to tie it up as best I could but I didn't do a good job of cooking it. It was dry and carving it was a nightmare since the steaks were already predetermined but still attached to the bone. Not my most elegant dinner party. Took me years before I built up the confidence to make one of those again. What is the purpose of this? I don't understand why butchers do these things.
On the other hand when I do ask for something they fight me on it. If I want a sparchocked chicken they'll tell me it's better cooked whole. If I point to one piece they'll try to get me to buy another. Butcher bullies is what they are. And don't get me started about lack of skill. Does anyone have a butcher that is fully capable of deboning?