Of course, we’d all got plenty of news to share and there was lots to talk about. Friends hadn’t seen one another for a month in some cases and as always, our January meeting had a real buzz to it. After last month’s snow and ice, a mild, drizzly evening was a kinder way to start the year and only a few familiar faces were missed last evening.
We were blessed with a great speaker for the evening. We’d looked forward to hearing Perry Ellis, from local butchers Jesse Smith, for a long time and our patience was more than rewarded. He had arrived quietly and been sitting at the back for quite a while but the minute the side doors were opened, the blast of January air dispersed the serious business of discussing resolutions and conversation quickly turned to the white, cloth wrapped “thing” he was carrying in on his shoulder. Having now dressed for the job, Perry assembled the tools of his trade, opening up the white package to reveal a locally grown lamb which he used to illustrate points throughout his talk.
Actually, it was more of a conversation and an interesting one at that. To his great credit, even the vegetarians amongst us were fascinated by what he had to say. Whilst speaking passionately about the role of the professional butcher who can supply meat with local provenance and offer advice and a wealth of knowledge to his customers, he never once neglected to acknowledge that high-quality, locally grown meat is a privilege that many find it hard to afford. Nevertheless, his experience and knowledge meant that he was able to offer an insight into the products of which he is so proud and his concerns for the butchery profession as younger people choose alternative careers.
His recommendation for the Sunday roast this weekend? Locally grown and well hung beef which is in good supply at this time of the year and which will be full of flavour. Our local butcher can offer advice about cooking and we shouldn’t hesitate to ask about the provenance of the meat we buy, whether in a restaurant or at a butchers counter. A good butcher will be able to tell us exactly what we need to know – and if they are all like Perry, we’ll thoroughly enjoy the conversation that follows.