Crafted Meat: An informative contemporary survey on today’s new meat culture by Gestalten

ARTICLE / 02 SEP 2016 / BY DIMITRIS PANAGIOTIDIS

CRAFTED MEAT
Hood Food, Switzerland. Photography: Courtesy of Hoof Food, from Crafted Meat © Gestalten 2015.
Crafted Meat. The New Meat Culture: Craft and Recipes. Editors: Hendrik Haase, Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann.
Published by Gestalten on 22 September 2015 / gestalten.com

This book is about fine charcuterie made with passion and respect. Combining quality with consciousness, young butchers are rediscovering pâtés, sausages, and cold cuts. Crafted Meat provides an overview of today’s new meat culture with must-know information, delicious recipes, and expert tips. Meat is back – in many forms. Whether as salami, air-dried ham, bratwurst, blood sausage, pâté, or pulled pork, meat is truly experiencing a renaissance. Hendrik Haase is a food activist, connoisseur, and passionate educator. As a communication designer and “culinary curator,” he is helping to propagate a new movement in which young butchers are taking a more holistic view of their craft.

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The Rough Kitchen’s street food stand is located in Amsterdam’s newly opened food halls where since 2014 the two founders, Marcus Polman and Jord Althuizen, have been smoking the best quality meat in their prized American smoker, imported directly from the home of BBQ. / Crafted Meat. The New Meat Culture: Craft and Recipes. Editors: Hendrik Haase, Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann © Gestalten 2015.

Today, the enjoyment of meat is bucking recent ascetic food trends. Quality artisanal meats that combine tradition and innovation are replacing questionable mass-market industrial products. Whether one is sampling, enjoying, or making, attention is being paid to how the animals are bred, fed, and raised, as well as historical influences, regional specialties, and production methods. With the right mix of creative yet grounded craftsmanship, young butchers are making delectable products from premium ingredients. In addition to being purveyors of quality meats, they offer their customers insider knowledge, new impulses, and outstanding service. Today’s young connoisseurs are also propagating the Nose to Tail movement, which is based on age-old traditions of preparing and eating an entire animal in a respectful and sustainable way.

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Since the beginning of the 2015, the creative dinner club, Hood Food, has toured the Swiss capital of Zurich with its delicious events. In the process the three young culinary enthusiasts Valentin Diem, Laura Schalchli, and Fanny Eisl transform unusual and simple products from the local area into tasty morsels. / Hood Food, Switzerland. Photography: Courtesy of Hoof Food, from Crafted Meat © Gestalten 2015.

Crafted Meat is a compelling visual reference on today’s new meat culture. The book documents current developments, products, and background stories for both epicures and makers. In addition to introducing the differences between cattle breeds and cuts of meat, it offers advice on which questions to ask a butcher and what to look for when making a purchase. It also includes guides for making liverwurst and salsiccia, an Italian sausage, as well as a selection of delicious recipes especially created for this book that bring the new meat movement to the home table.

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B.E.S.H., Germany. Photography: Hartmut Seehuber, from Crafted Meat © Gestalten 2015.

“Less meat, but better meat” is the movement’s motto. But what does “better” mean? And where can I find these tasty alternatives? Who today is still committed to honest artisanry and humane animal husbandry? And where has the taste gone that for many people is now just a memory?

Hendrik Haase says “To this day I can still recall the special flavor of the handmade sausage my grandmother gave me every time I went to visit, cut into thick slices and layered on buttered bread. There was the hearty taste of ripened meat, paired with garlic, and the fine notes of pepper and piquant mold that had accompanied the sausage during the half year it spent ripening in the barn. Even now I can distinguish this unique taste from every plastic-wrapped supermarket sausage. However, the times when grandma used to keep her own pigs, sheep, and chickens have passed, along with the days when the whole village gathered on the farm to celebrate the slaughter of an animal, salting ham together cooking liverwurst in the cauldron.”

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Vom Einfachen das Gute, Germany. Photography: Ashley Ludaescher, from Crafted Meat © Gestalten 2015.
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Recipe “Steak with sauce chyron and watercress salad”. Photography: Silvio Knezevic, from Crafted Meat © Gestalten 2015.
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Raw Sausage / Landfleischerei Neumeier, Germany. Photography: Hendrik Haase, from Crafted Meat © Gestalten 2015.

Hendrik Haase says “The good news is, there is another world of meat out there, a world of hope in which the origin, enjoyment, and, above all, the taste of meat have returned to center stage. On farms, in butcher shops, restaurants, and street kitchens, the protagonists of this new movement are bringing about a renaissance in the enjoyment of meat.”

“Just a few decades later and I am living in the metropolis of Berlin, surprised at how little of that world remains and how hard it has become to discover the origins of the food I eat on a daily basis. Meat and sausage have now become an every-day food on our plates – as well as a fiercely contested social theme. Books and documentaries continually uncover scandals, and for many people, wobbly YouTube clips are now the only source of information on livestock farming and the source of our sausages. Far too many animals live a life without ever having seen the sun, with troughs full of feed that makes them ill. Antibiotics and performance enhancing hormones are a further chapter in the horror story from the cramped conditions of the huge sheds. On top of this comes the fact that we are becoming increasingly conscious of the effects of cheap mass production. Industrial livestock farming consumes enormous resources and has long ceased to operate according to a healthy balance between animal, man, and nature.”

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Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. Photography: Silvio Knezevic, from Crafted Meat © Gestalten 2015.

“What I experienced has enabled me to understand the connections between a healthy pasture, honest handicraft, and the special taste of meat. The more I explore farming, slaughtering, and the butcher’s craft, the more respect I have for this work. With every experience and every encounter I understand more about these important parts of our culture.”

“Suffering in all of this is variety and taste. The consequences of this unheeding industry are uniform, tasteless meat products that are now available at discount supermarkets for less that the price of dog food. Many regional specialties, such as my grandmother’s Ahle Wurscht, have almost disappeared as numerous artisan butchers have been forced to close due to price pressure. Many meat lovers have now lost their appetite, and the ascetic renunciation of everything meaty now appears to be the only solution. However, is this the whole story?”

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In 2013 Fritjof Andersson and Rasmus Ek opened their butcher’s shop, Lennart & Bror, with adjoining restaurant in the north of Stockholm. Since then the two Beatles fans have rocked the counter and grill with grandiose, hand crafted meat specialties. / Lennart & Bror, Sweden. Photography: Tobias Regell, from Crafted Meat © Gestalten 2015.