Cafe Society

Photos: Western Daughters' homage to pig butchery

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Their shop, which will offer hands-on, "how to" classes, much like the one I was privy to, will also sell custom cuts of lamb, beef and pork, housemade sausages and deli meats, pasteurized whole chickens, local dry goods and even custom-made dog food and biscuits; delivery service and apprenticeships are part of what they have planned, too.

When it comes to whole-animal butchery, Kavanaugh has a few tips for those of us who aren't quite as professional as she and Curtiss are. First and foremost, she tells me while I'm stroking the fat on my pork chops, "Start with a well-raised animal. Make sure you know who your source is, and have a relationship with your farmer and rancher." Always -- always -- use a sharp knife (even if doing so sheds blood); start with your primals first and then break the rest of the animal into sub-primals; and, most important, she tells me, "just have fun with it -- you can't really mess it up and make it inedible."

For me, this was sort of like the continuing education I've always wanted. I know, more or less, where the cuts come from, but I wanted to get inside the animal -- literally -- and use my hands to feel the blades and the ribs, the kidneys and the colon. Several years ago, some friends and I pooled our money so we could share a steer; a quarter of a Black Angus was shoved into my two freezers, and the meat lasted for a good two months. I now have 100 pounds of pig in my freezers.

To contact Kavanaugh and Curtiss about upcoming butchery classes, call 303-477-6328. And to see what it's like to spend the day with the two incredibly patient butchers, click through the photos on the following pages.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson