Tuesday, April 14, 2009

woman vs. meats

Over Easter weekend, I spent some time with the "new" part of my family. They are incredibly warm, selfless people and have opened their home to us on several occasions. They are also very conservative and have a lot of interesting conceptions about the way that "young" people live. Of course, I brought some homemade sausage to share (I'm not so good with potlucks - I'm pretty anti-casserole). One of the woman was beyond shocked to find out that I enjoy cooking, sewing, reading books... and that we preferred to have friends over for food and board games instead of going out on weekends (OK, I realize that last part may make us kind of lame!)
I came across this (somewhat dated) article today that left me both inspired and confused. The article speaks of Stephanie Gerbier, a young woman who decided, against her parents' wishes, to pursue a career as a butcher. She faced heaps of cynicism and was subject to comments such as-

"You shouldn't leave your cute little butcher in the back; we'd like to see her out front."


I understand that butchering is a trade that requires a certain amount of physical strength and, well, emotional well-being, but I was surprised that it was only recently that women began to study it in France. I wonder if such desires have surfaced as part of an artisan resurgence, the backlash against processed foods, slave-labor clothing, and fill-in-the-blank wasteful lifestyles. Regardless, Gerbier has a real passion and talent for what she does and in 2007, won France's annual competition for apprentice butchers.
Perhaps I am being insensitive to the fact that being a working mother may not allow one to bake fresh bread every day, hem your husband's pants, and keep the floor sparkley clean with homemade non-toxic cleaners, but I hope that when I find myself in that position, I will still be aware of what my family is eating and conscious of how it affects our health and well-being! It is perplexing to me that a woman is still expected to keep her family fed and clothed, but heaven forbid she has a part in the raising/slaughtering/butchering of the animals.

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