Monday, December 27, 2010

My Husband Really Cares About My Breasts

Duck breasts, people. Minds out of the gutter.

I'm finding it takes a village to make meat happen. It takes me hooking up with Cathy of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Kitchen and having her be all "You can make your own knockwurst. You can. Shape up. What's wrong with you, woman? DIY is HOT!"

She talks like that when she isn't canning or smoking something.

And then, it takes my husband, David, who has become, overnight, the DIY king. Over Christmas he has been renovating our upstairs bathroom, without having any previous knowledge or training in bathroom renovation, and has been reading how to do it in "The Black and Decker Guide to Bathrooms", as he goes along. Seriously. He's done this with nothing but grit, a how-to-book and a hundred trips to Lowes.

And now, stoked by the flames of a nearly perfectly-tiled bathroom floor, and a nearly set-up, functioning vanity/sink, he has moved his vision to bigger things. If I do this "Year of Meat", and get into it and really love it, he will not simply help me create some bogus, half-assed, stove top smoker for my bacon. Oh no, he wants to build me a smoke HOUSE. In the backyard. An actual building dedicated exclusively to the production of smoked meats.

Which begs the question, do I really want to have smoking, curing and preserving meat to be my new food hobby? I mean, do I want a smoke house? Does the mere existence of the smoke house mean I'll have to smoke a lot of meat? What if smoking meat sucks? What if carcasses hanging in your cellar is just creepy? What if someone perishes from botulism? From the meat I made? Should I nominate an official taster so that people I like won't die? Will small animals, weary and food-deprived from winter, gather around our garage in hopes of gaining entry and ripping apart the carcasses like the starved little beasts they are?

And what about the kids? - you know my kids - they are going to play with the meat. This is a given. Lucy will want to ride a side of pork like a wild bronco. Edie will bring all her babies from indoors and make a doll house out of the smoke house. You can picture it, right? One kid swinging back and forth on a side of cow? Another dressing the pork belly in frilly pink dolly clothes?

Maybe a pool would be better?

I ponder these questions as my husband reads "The Popular Mechanics Guide to Building a Smoke House" and as Cathy e-mails me that our very own Charcutepalooza was mentioned in SF Weekly as a Food Trend for 2011, and as streams of people sign on to make their own meat with us, a community of people - a whole village - who want to do something different in their kitchens, and are, I'm sure, a little beautifully, off-balanced to begin with.

And I think, 1) Wow. This is cool. And 2) Was I drinking Manhattans when I said yes to this?

So far, I'm not hyper-ventilating, or thinking I'll give up writing for being an artisanal, heirloom, heritage, blah-blah sausage-maker. But David just went down to the cellar, to check my breasts (I know, many meanings here), and make sure mice hadn't started eating them, and the kids went with him, thumping, thumping down the stairs in socking feet, and they all gathered together under the slightly swinging carcasses, in the dimly lit, cold basement, to check for signs of mouse bites. And then, bolted back up the stairs, like little rockets, to share the good news.

No sign of interlopers.

The whole family rejoiced. Like the harvest was good. Like our winter meals depended on this preservation. Like we were pioneers. It felt pretty good.

We live to make meat another day.

xo Kim



Jennifer Hess said...

You know what goes well with a Manhattan? Smoked meat. ;D

Paula said...

Seriously, you are a much braver woman than I. Lacking both gumption and guts to become a member of the Charcutepalooza village, I do wish you much good luck with this project. I shall read your posts and follow your progress on it with much interest.

edamame2003 said...

following your posts may be as satisfying (and far less aggravating) than actually attempting charcutepalooza myself. but excited to join you and cathy on this adventure. sometimes virtually, sometimes vicariously, but always in spirit. thanks for the inspiration!

Lana said...

LOL! Your husband sounds just like mine! The artists can be useful, contrary to popular belief. Especially smart ones:)
I am looking forward to following along with your pioneering escapades. It is exciting and I wish I could join IRL (I miss my house, and my basement, and my big yard:(
Yes, the critters are a definite danger, both ones of the rodent and human kind.
You are a brave woman, and my sister in spirit.
(There are few things as intoxicatingly good as the smell of home-smoked meats:)

Jennie said...

It took 18 months to get my Mr. to paint a rectangle of chalkboard paint in the kitchen and hang a frame around it. He'd kill me for just saying that, because I promised not to joke in public about it.

Oh, well.

The closest I'll ever get to my own smoker is a crematorium.

Go David! While he's at it, can we request one of those fancy European shower heads in the guest bathroom?

Cheryl Arkison said...

Go Foster family! I'm watching from the sidelines and dreaming about the day I get to sleep in your guest house... er, smoke house and play with your breasts.

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

Don't put in a pool, hole in the ground to pour money into.

Nmaha said...

I'm vegetarian. What am I going to read the whole year? Otherwise your project sounds like fun.

MrsWheelbarrow said...

Where's the nightie? Geez - I was promised duck breasts in nightclothes.
Kim, I just love how you get everyone involved and can't wait to see the next installment.
So thrilled to be in this with you.

Julia's Child said...

You go, girl! I'm inspired. Yet nervous...
My Upper West Side apartment had no place to hang meat. We've been in the country (not the burbs, but deep country) for 18mos now, and I'm almost afraid to show this to my husband. He's going to borrow the "How to Build a Smokehouse" book from your husband and head off to Lowes.

Mardi Michels said...

I can't wait to get started on this. Hopefully can make the first deadline. And, errr.. David wants to build you a smoke HOUSE? I think I am in love. Actually, he sounds very much like my Neil - this is also his dream. Kindred spirits in meat loving unite!!!

Lynda said...

Too funny. I am looking forward to getting to know you over a year of meat.

Natalie Sztern said...

A pool wouldn't be better ....but a hot tub sure would!

auntjone said...

We have access to a smoke house. Once we actually live near it I will start researching the process and see if I can convince my husband and FIL to join in. They are hard core carnivores so it shouldn't be too difficult! Good luck with charcutepalooza!