Meat fabrication – aka butchering

It’s only day two and I’m exhausted.  We’ve been cutting up chickens into various portions/uses for two days now.  Yesterday we learned how to truss, cut halves, quarters and eighth’s as well as an airline breast (boneless).  Nothing all that challenging, except I’m not the best at trussing.

Today we had a trussing practical – only one bird and mine turned out worse than yesterday.  I’ll figure it out.  Then it was onto double boneless breast (for stuffing), boneless thigh/leg and then onto the galantine/ballantine which is a whole deboned chicken.  Essentially you would stuff this with a forcemeat mixture (think sausage or pate), roll it, tie it and either roast or poach it, or you could even make a turducken out of it.  Very classical French and something we’ll be doing in our next class which is Garde Manger.  Also one of the intriguing reasons I decided to quit my job and go to culinary school.  I have a slightly weird fascination with deboned and stuffed poultry.  I also really like pate.

You may be wondering how 4 and a half hours are filled with cutting up chickens, and the answer is that it isn’t.  We have an hour or two of lecture/quizzes and then go into the kitchen (or “lab” in culinary school parlance).  Lecture today included us watching a video of a woman cutting up chickens from 1982 – the music was awesome as you might suspect.

So far no major mishaps.  Not many people seem to be missing but we’ve added a few who apparently failed the previous class.  How one goes about failing basic knife skills I do not know.  You would literally have to work at failing this stuff.  Not to say it’s easy because it really isn’t that intuitive, but failing, serious?

There are also several papers due in Meat Fab, beginning with Friday’s on the history of the beef industry in the U.S.

Additionally I’ve begun my first math class – why didn’t I take this stuff in college?  Too late to lament a decision made over 10 years ago, plus it will go a long way to keeping my GPA up.  This class is 6 weeks long and I believe there’s another one after it.

I’ll end with a link to an article about the effects of a vegan diet – called “Death by Veganism”.  This only seems appropriate considering my current class.  Anyway, there have been a few well documented cases of vegan parents having their children (infants in some cases) on vegan diets.  The most recent case is discussed – I believe the parents were convicted of murder – correctly so.  Ignorance is not an excuse, and how could anyone really think that a diet consisting of fruit juice and soy “milk” is healthy?


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