Modern people, it is said, have lost touch with the origins of their food. They mindlessly shop at grocery store megamarts, assuming that the produce, meat, dairy, and packaged foodstuffs are safe and aren’t very concerned about where they’ve come from.
Many people seem to think that meat comes in hermetically sealed Styrofoam containers covered in clear plastic wrap, and other than the words “pork,” “lamb,” “beef,” or “chicken,” don’t really connect those words with the actual animals. Or, at the very least, they don’t connect the material in the containers with the fact that animals are sacrificed for our eating pleasure.
If you patronize any of the small ethnic markets, however, that’s not an issue. Whether it’s seeing whole ducks and chickens at an Asian market, or having a lamb or pig head staring at you from the meat cooler in some of the Hispanic markets, they know how to keep it real because they haven’t lost touch with their food’s origins. When I was a mere sapling, that was not unusual. We’d go to markets on the weekend, pick out our chickens – still clucking – and would have fried chicken that evening. Fresh food could be found in the inner city of Philadelphia in the ’50s and early ’60s. Alas, that’s not the case any more.
Humans have an essential need for certain animal substances in our diets – complete proteins (soy notwithstanding) and Vitamin B12 are two great examples. We simply cannot live healthily without them; a B12 deficiency, for example, will result in a disease called pernicious anemia. Untreated, it will kill you. While animal protein is the best source, pills, shots, and certain seaweeds can supply human needs for this vital substance.
But who wants to take pills when you can have a juicy steak? Just sayin’.
Echo & Rig brings it. If you ever wanted to know where your meat comes from, Echo & Rig is more than happy to show you. This place easily is a vegan’s ultimate nightmare.
Echo & Rig, besides being one of the newest and noisiest restaurants in town, is also home of a great old-fashioned butcher shop. You can decide to go up to the restaurant or over to the bar for a meal, or you can purchase prime cuts of organic, sustainably grown meats to prepare at home. When I was growing up in Philly, the corner butcher shop was a neighborhood mainstay. It has since been replaced by agribusinesses producing hormone-and-antibiotic injected Frankenbeasts. It feels great to purchase meats that have the flavors that I remember from my childhood.
I covered the demo of the beef hindquarter butchery in February, and last weekend Chef Sam Marvin and the staff in the Echo & Rig butcher shop demonstrated how they disassemble an American spring lamb and gave pointers on preparation to us home cooks. As always, it was educational, fascinating, (and ultimately delicious), but not for the faint of heart or weak of constitution.
The video below shows just part of the hour-long demo; I plan to post the entire video online if I’m permitted to by the video hosts (YouTube & Vimeo) and if time allows. I find stuff like this endlessly fascinating and a great way to keep it real.
Enjoy the video.
Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse is located in Tivoli Village in Las Vegas at 440 S. Rampart Blvd. The phone number is (702) 570-7400. And, yes, they also serve awesome vegetables, too.
Recommended wine with beautiful lamb like this – Vines on the Marycrest Heart of Glass. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. Absolutely luscious with lamb. Yum.