Sunday, December 4, 2011

Charcutepalooza. Nearly The End.

When Cathy and I first talked about curing meat together, it was barely more than an idea for me, a sexy idea.

I envisioned myself hanging salamis and standing in the basement, cutting off hunks of the stuff for people to sample, with the jack knife I just happened to have in the back pocket of my jeans. I imagined myself talking about mold and humidity, as if it were second nature. I envisioned a passion for meat so deep, I would give it all up to make artisanal charcuterie, which I would sell out of the back of our jeep, under-ground style, to restaurants, chefs and Brooklyn hipsters.

That never happened. I love curing meat, but not so much I want to sell it on Flatbush Avenue. I also love brining, making bacon and even tangling with sausages. I like the feel of the meat in a way I never had before, probably because I never felt so much of it, so intimately. I learned just about every kind of cut of meat can be confited, which is both weird and amazing and makes you want to try it out on anything you have lying around. I am no longer afraid of opening Michael Ruhlman's book and doing something from it, anything. It’s not my calling, but it has changed my kitchen, changed me.

But more than meat and the kitchen swagger, what made this year great was you, or really all of us together - being a part of a school that wasn't a school, the bad sausage jokes, people bickering about pink salt, the moment we made something we were quite sure we couldn't make and it came out amazing, how we stared botulism in the face and confronted our fear that we might kill a family member with our home-cured meats, how we figured out that mold is sometimes something you can just scrape off and move on from, the idea we were all in it together, not doing this alone. That was the best.

That's why you should read every single one of the posts below, because these people made something bigger than meat. And that's what we had hoped Charcutepalooza would be. Thank you for that.

Final Challenge Reminder

Just to remind you all: December 6th is the due date for the final challenge. THAT IS TOMORROW! We must have it by midnight. Please send us:

•your name, blog URL and email address
•a profile photo (jpg format)
•50 words describing your Charcutepalooza experience (not your bio, just what you learned this year)
•links to the 12 Charcutepalooza monthly challenge posts on your blog
•links to TWO of the Charcutepalooza blog posts you want to nominate for the grand prize competition

Send all of it to CharcutepaloozaATgmailDOTCOM. We will be looking for an overall knowledge and creative undertaking of the challenge, your original or adapted recipes, good writing, good photography.

This is going to be so ridiculously hard for us. We have been blown away with all the posts lately. But we are so excited to see what you've done. Thank you for playing along this year. I can't even begin to describe how I'll miss the #Charcutepalooza hashtag on my Tweetdeck.

Best Posts

1. Bite Me New England
Spanish Chorizo as food…and jewelry

2. Hounds in the kitchen
Six year old Lilly makes lardo in what may be the best food video ever.

3. One Vanilla Bean
Home-made Chorizo with a recipe for Lentejas Estofadas con Chorizo

4. Taste Food Blog
Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette, Toasted Pinenuts and Cured Pork

5. In Scott’s Kitchen
Man on a meat-curing mission….salami, bresaola, soppressata, Noix de jambon, proscuitto

6. A Cook Blog
Salami & Cheddar sandwich…totally from scratch, top to bottom

7. Eat, Drink, man, Woman, Dogs, Cat
Duck Salami

8. Naomaly
Facing Fears: This is way bigger than Chorizo

9. Vivek's Epicurean Adventure
Turning Pepperoni failure into inspiration.

10. Belm Blog
Salami, Bresaeola, Lonzino in steps, or...being unwilling to "cop to the suckage."

EXTRA: A Cook Blog
Eight amazing Thanksgiving courses using charcuterie in EVERY COURSE.

Best Photos

1. Dabblings & Whimsey

2. Snappy Service café

3. Nic Cooks

4. Eat Live Travel Write

5. Butcher's Apprentice



heidi defaut - said...

I just need to tell you how much I've missed reading you.Feels like you and your wonderful family moved away.
As far as the Charcutepalooza, it has indeed been an incredible experiance. While I didn't do much of the things, I thoroughly enjoyed keeping up on the experiance of others and found it to be an amazing thing!

The Yummy Mummy said...

Thanks for saying that. I will be back for sure in the new year. I just took a little hiatus.

Thanks for hanging in!


Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Kim I have loved every minute of this and am sad it's ending. I do NOT envy you and Cathy for having to make a decision... Good luck with it and from the bottom of our hearts, thanks. (Thanks for the shoutout of my pic this month too - even my holey-unevenly cured saucisson sec...)

Naomi Lee said...

Kim, Thank you so much for including my post in the round up. I can't believe the year is already winding down. I can't say often enough how amazing this year has been and how thankful I am to you and Cathy for hosting this sausage fest ;) Its been a blast!

Janis said...

I can't think what to say. I really loved this year and feel so lucky to meet you. Love you lots and appreciate the shoutout.

Scott Davis said...

Thanks for the shout out Kim. Thanks too for a great year!

Lynn said...

Thank you and Cathy for everything. It's been an amazing year - and Charcutepalooza has been a lifeline of sorts for me at different times. I'm so glad you included all of us on this journey. I'm honored to be part of the roundup.

Linda/IdahoRocks said...

Hi Kim,
I just wanted to say thank you for a terrific year of charcuterie. Like so many other participants I feel a bit sad that it's ending because I liked being challenged every month and I liked the comraderie amongst the participants. I hope you keep having those sexy ideas!
Linda (inlindadskitchen)

Anne Marie (Cuoca Ciccia) said...

I never heard about Charcutepalooza, but what a fabulous idea! I am drooling at these pictures and your lovely site.

Natalie Sztern said...

It was such a learning experience for me, especially at the start. Everyone was so attentive and dedicated in helping one another: it was a fabulous experience and it took me farther in food than I ever expected I could or would try to go.

You all deserve congratulations and what's on the agenda for 2012?

Unknown said...

Kim, where are you? I miss your fantastic writing about cooking with children. Your wit and grace. Please come back to us!

The Yummy Mummy said...

Hi Unknown -

Thank you for this. :) Yes, I'll be back in some form or another. Send me your mail at kimATFosterentertainmentDOTnet and I'll make sure to keep you in touch.

And thank you again for making my day. It was exactly what I needed.


Erin said...


I miss you, too! I check in on you quite often hoping you've posted something new and also hoping that all is well. Hopefully you're taking a much deserved break.


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Emily said...

Just a quick message to say that you have been missed over this last year! I hope you have had a good year, and please consider blogging again :)

kim Foster said...

Hi Emily - thank you so much for writing this. Can you email me? kim @ fosterentertainment dot net? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

where are u Yummy mummy.. have always loved reading ur blog.. keep checking to see if u will ever blog again.

Kim Foster said...

Hi Anonymous -

Thank you for that message! I have a new blog and I'm happy to be back. Just working out a few kinks, so it's on the QT. Email me and I'll send you the link.