Thursday, January 7, 2016

Meaty Goodness

Olympia Provisions – Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson (Ten Speed Press)

If you take the feminist, tree hugger, hipster caricatures of Portlandia seriously; you may find it hard to believe that the great northwest city of Portland is the home of charcuterie masters of quality meat, Olympia Provisions. Charcuterie is the art of salting, smoking and curing of meats and have little doubt the vegetarians, health food nuts and PETA members scurrying from the exits if the accidently stumbled into shop.

Part cookbook, part travel log, and jam packed with mouthwatering recipes and photos, Olympia Provisions, serves up not only an insider’s view of the process of charcuterie, but also covers the journey of discovery that these folks undertook to visit the masters of the craft. Along the way they learn the secrets of the craft and bring it back to America.

The photos of the often far flung places they visited are spectacular and breathtaking. The shot of the Aescher, what they describe as a hut, but in reality is a large alpine house quite literally built into a curving notch in a mountain is stunning. A narrow spit of trail, leads those adventurers willing to make the trek up to what ends up being about more than just a journey, but a true culinary experience.

Then there are the recipes, a wondrous array of Gustatory delights. My plan formed early in the thumbing of pages to work my way through each one of the multitude of hot dog topping combinations. Be forewarned, it will be a marathon undertaking with 19! Yes 19! variations to choose from including combinations and ingredients from the four corners of the world and even a breakfast dog entry to start your day.

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