This cookbook was reviewed by Carol a staff member of The Daring Kitchen. Carol also interviewed Chef Brian Polcyn. The interview can be found directly following the book review.
The food culture in America is undergoing a remarkable transformation. Consumers are demanding a better selection of fresh, pesticide free, organic, free-range, grass fed natural products. Farmers’ markets and community supported agricultural organizations (CSAs) have grown dramatically over the last decade as more Americans seek to engage with farmers for the foodstuffs to feed their families. The push may have started with restaurant chefs and local 100-Mile Clubs, groups that seek to prepare meals using ingredients sourced “locally” within 100 miles, but it is slowly moving into the mainstream. The growing online internet food blogger phenomena has contributed to this as has the recession, which sent home chefs returning to managing food budgets with cheaper cuts of meat and a return to comfort foods such as homey stews with local meats and vegetables.
It is against this backdrop, that Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn realized that American households were one generation away from losing their ability to preserve meat as their fathers did and as a result decided to collaborate and write about how to do exactly that – Charcuterie: The Salting, Smoking and Curing of Meat published in 2005 by W.W. Norton. I had an opportunity to interview Brian Polcyn, one of the co-authors. Polcyn told me that originally the book was turned down by five publishers as being too niche until it was finally accepted by Norton Publishers– the fair turnaround is that the book continues to be in print today with over 120,000 copies sold.