BEN’S ZONE: Why I Use a Butchers

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Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness.  You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂

Why I Use A Butchers

Butchers meat on board

Some years back I had cause to learn about the realities of meat production on an industrial scale and the result of that was I became vegetarian for 9 months.  I love the taste of meat, but I also love animals and what I learned made me feel I did not want to be part of that process.  Eventually I went back to meat eating as I enjoy the taste so much.  Some years later I watched another programme which went through the realities of meat production for supermarkets again.  Once again I felt I did not want to be involved, but I also knew that I wanted to continue to eat meat.
My solution to achieve both ends was to start using a butcher.  It’s important to me that the animals I eat have not suffered unduly during their life.  Shopping with a butcher means that I can find out where my meat has come from and make sure that it meets the highest welfare standards.
I’m also a big foodie and would rather eat less, good quality meat than large quantities of cheaper meat.  I have found, in my experience, that the meat that can be bought from a butcher far outstrips even good supermarkets in terms of quality.  As someone with a keen interest in food I also appreciate the range of cuts on offer at a butcher.  When making a casserole for instance,  I don’t want a packet of randomly labelled ‘stewing steak’ I want chuck, or shin, cuts that I know will work.  Going to a butcher means I can ask for these or, even better, get advice from someone who knows on what works best.
Cost is a factor and sometimes buying from a butcher is more expensive. However, given that the meat is free from the water that is pumped into supermarket products (the liquid in your pain when you fry bacon is water to bulk out the weight), I am not sure that kilo for kilo there is that much of a difference.
Finally, I don’t know of any large chain butchers.  Certainly the one I use is within 20 miles of where I live.  Butchery is a skill that requires no small amount of training and aptitude and it’s a dying art.  I am happy to support local butchers and do my bit towards preserving that.
I won’t go back to buying supermarket meat, while some shops are better than others in terms of controlling their supply chain, the quality is in a different league and a canny shopper can make choices that mean visiting a butcher does not have to break the bank.

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