by Merle Ellis
I will often expound on the cuts of meat and poultry I use in my posts. I am not a butcher nor do I possess any special knowledge of the art, though it is a secret passion. However I do have a special source for all my butchery advice. From Cutting Up in the Kitchen by Merle Ellis…
Merle Ellis is an odd combination of men. One is the ideal butcher–born in Sioux City, Iowa, youth spent on his grandfather’s farm in Nebraska, first started to learn his trade at 13 from his father. Today, a practicing butcher in the quiet and scenic town of Tiburon, a bit north of San Francisco.
That’s Merle One. Merle Two is a man of communications, a former television producer for NBC and for his own company, and a highly successful lecturer in person, on radio and TV where he has appeared on several national programs. Now, in this time of high-flying meat prices, he has undertaken a consumer-oriented syndicated newspaper column and this timely book.
That was from the books introduction when it was published in 1977. Have you seen the 2014 price increases in meat and poultry? Yikes!
Merle died at 76 in Tiburon, CA in 2010, but this book remains one of the foundation blocks in my kitchen library.
Most of us don’t know much about where our meat comes from, let alone from which part of the animal. But if you like a good steak this book can teach you how to look for it and how to talk to the butcher. It’s indispensable if you plan to buy halves or quarters of beef, pork or lamb from any of our local Rhode Island farmers.
It has taught me where some of the best and least expensive cuts of meat are. Graphics show the Primal Cuts of each animal and then how to cut and prepare them for full flavor and tender eating. It’s full of tips and tricks. Whenever I’m cutting up in the kitchen, this book is always nearby.
The book seems to be out of print but you can find lots of lightly used copies of Cutting Up in the Kitchen by Merle Ellis at Amazon.