WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW
“I view meat cutting as an art”
In my online humanities class I ask students at the beginning of each semester to introduce themselves, and in so doing to comment on their relationship to and/or how much their values have been influenced by art, music, religion, philosophy, and literature – i.e., the ‘humanities’.
Occasionally I receive a response too precious not to share.
“I moved to Florida eight years ago this November and I am currently a Meat Cutter Apprentice at _____. Personally I view meat cutting as an art if it is done in a respectful way to the animal you are cutting apart. Any person with a knife can cut meat; however, not everyone does it respectfully instead they do it as if they’re going through the motions of their job. Rather than view the pieces they cut as a living animal that was killed to feed others they view it as a slab of beef. This isn’t untrue but there is no respect for the fact that a living animal was killed and processed for our own survival. My personal goal in that field is to move away from the Grocery meat cutters and more towards the traditional Butcher’s Shops that have that respect for the animals they kill and process.”
I don’t dispute his view but I can’t help but wonder if he really needs to tackle Plato and Dante and The Book of Job to further his career.
Then again, I’m reminded of our go-to supplier of beer & deli sandwiches (me) and dog bones (Tzuri) out in Livingston a couple of summers ago.
‘Montana Matt’ I called him. He went to Montana State University and was good at cuttin’ meat. Probably took a humanities course or two.
This is actually a very practical solution to the ever-present road kill problem in the West. Montana passed a law that lets drivers who have hit deer or elk go online and immediately obtain a license for that animal, regardless of season.
Then you haul the carcass to your local butcher and the bloodletting begins.
It’s an art form, I now know – if you have the right respect and the gumption to see more than just a slab of beef.