Nose-to-tail

Mixed Breed Pigs

Photo by podchef via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The nose-to-tail movement has been around for some time now — millennia, in fact. It used to just be called cooking, or rather cooking along with shearing (or plucking or scaling), skinning, butchering, curing, tanning, etc. When an animal was harvested for meat, it made (and makes) little sense to just cast off the remainder. As part of the ongoing reactions against modern industrial agriculture, a revitalization of a “nose-to-tail” philosophy among chefs should come as no surprise. British chef Fergus Henderson was among the modern pioneers. (For more on Henderson, see this nice write-up in The Guardian or this excerpt from his book, The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating.)

The nose-to-tail movement has been thriving in Madison of late as well. This story from Isthmus provides an overview, with mentions of Tory Miller of L’Etoile and the Hunter brothers of Underground Food Collective, and a special focus on Daniel Fox of the Madison Club. As reporter Matt Mullins describes, “The trend neatly joins the need to balance ledgers with creative culinary challenges, Old World sensibility, and farm-to-table values…. When a kitchen uses everything from an animal, the appeal is obvious: ‘It’s more economical,’ says [Promega sous chef Pete] Kelly. A typical quality pork source may charge around $5.25 a pound for a host of cuts. A medium-sized, whole carcass will come in around $2.50 a pound.”

For more, check out this very nice piece from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It features Scott Buer of Bolzano Artisan Meats and Andrew Ruiz of The Rumpus Room and includes recipes for the at-home cook.

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