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The Craft and Poetry of Curing Meats at Home
Cured meat products arose from the need for preservation, in a time when cooking and refrigeration were not always available. Today, charcuterie is an embodiment of art in the kitchen, combining precision, balance, patience, and creativity; an economy of ingredients, as poetry is an economy of words. The confluence of these elements, along with the purest of ingredients, can enable anyone to craft cured meats in their home.
Pure Charcuterie is a practical and artistic look at the techniques for curing meat at home both as a creative hands-on craft and as a fantastic and sustainable way to preserve highly valuable food. This accessible, beautiful, visual guide walks the reader through the process of making charcuterie, including:
- sourcing ingredients
- clear explanations of charcuterie technique
- creative recipes balancing tradition and invention
- smoking meats and building your own smoker
The analogies drawn between art and food, along with creative and accessible photographic discussions of charcuterie technique, make this book an essential primer on the basics of charcuterie: the mystery, the science, the art, and the technique. Ideal for home cooks working in small spaces, Pure Charcuterie is a must-have for experienced and new cooks alike — and any home artisan.
Over the past 15 years, Meredith Leigh has worked as a farmer, butcher, chef, teacher, non-profit executive director, and writer, all in pursuit of sustainable food. She has developed a farmer co-op, founded and catalyzed non-profit ventures, grown vegetables, flowers, and meats, owned and managed a retail butcher shop and restaurant, and more. She is the author of The Ethical Meat Handbook: A Complete Guide to Home Butchery, Charcuterie, and Cooking for the Conscious Omnivore.
"There are plenty of books about charcuterie out there, but none couple technical know-how with the eloquent approach to language and learning that Leigh employs. Making charcuterie is indeed an art form. Meredith's artful writing inspires us to be that kind of artist. Her thoughtful approach to instruction makes it possible to actually be one. I will refer my own students to this book again and again for that reason."
Camas Davis Portland Meat Collective, Meat Collective Alliance
"Meredith Leigh does something with Pure Charcuterie that most chefs strive a lifetime to do—combines the worlds of ethical meat production with innovative ingredients and techniques such as koji curing and wild game recipes. Pure Charcuterie is a must-own for amateur and professional butchers alike."
Chef Clark Barlowe Heirloom Restaurant, Charlotte, NC
"In this beautifully rendered book, Meredith Leigh takes us on a poetic journey through the world of charcuterie showing us step by step the key concepts and principles of home curing for the novice. I'm excited to embark on the journey she lays out in this amazing book and I hope to meet you along the way. I guarantee you it will be a rewarding one, as I don't know of anyone that can make a description of making mortadella sound poetic, funny, emotionally engaging and most importantly to the point."
Rey Tagle Instagram: @home_charcuterie
"This book will make you hungry. It'll make you dig out the meat grinder someone gave you years ago. It'll make you want to change the world. Meredith Leigh is one of the foremost young authorities on sustainable meat. Her latest book, woven with recipes, philosophy, and poetry, is so much more than a step-by-step on charcuterie. Read it, and you'll see that the ingredients of good food extend far beyond your kitchen."
Rebecca Martin Managing Editor, Mother Earth News
"Pulling no punches, Meredith Leigh balances the scientific "whys" of curing fundamentals, food safety and sanitation, while encouraging curiosity and flavor artistry. Her prose make will you feel like you have a teacher and mentor beside you each step of the way to create salty, fatty, delicious, pure charcuterie."
Tanya Cauthen Owner, founder, butcher, Charcutier, Belmont Butchery, Richmond, VA
"Pure Charcuterie is the book I've been waiting my whole career for. Meredith takes an approach to creating charcuterie and guiding you through the process that I've never seen before in print.... This is a book for advanced professionals and beginners alike. There has not yet been a book about charcuterie that speaks a more resonate and relatable tone."
Jeremy Umanksy Larder Master/Owner, Larder Delicatessen & Bakery
"In Pure Charcuterie, Meredith Leigh takes the reader on a meaty, and yet artistic journey into the wonderful world of curing meats. This book should be on the pantry shelf of every meat loving maker out there – and even if you don't envision creating charcuterie, Leigh's prose, detail and passionate voice will help you understand the history and process behind the textures and flavors you so savor."
Hank Will Editorial Director, Mother Earth News