Salt. Cure. Blog. Repeat (every 30 days).

Saint Antonio Abate, Patron Saint of Butchers

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You know it as 2011. To others, it’s The Year of Meat.
It’s Charcutepalooza, a name that doesn’t exactly roll trippingly off the tongue, but it’s all part of the slightly off-kilter, home-spun appeal.

It started just a few weeks back when a pair of food bloggers, Kim Foster and Cathy Barrow (aka The Yummy Mummy and Mrs. Wheelbarrow) decided to spend 2011 curing and preserving a meat a month– bacon, prosciutto, sopressata, bresaola, merguez, kielbasa, knockwurst, boudin blanc, and maybe even a pate or two– just for the hell of it. Hardy home cooks, but hardly professionals, they could support and encourage each other in the shared endeavor, and of course blog about it.

Before they had even salted their first duck breast (duck prosciutto would be January’s challenge), the food blogosphere had jumped on board. Now a full-fledged phenomenon, hundreds of bloggers have signed on to participate in monthly challenges. Charcutepalooza is on Facebook and twitter, there are corporate sponsors, a world map of participants, celebrity judges (well, celebrities to those who cure meats for fun), and a grand prize to the top blogger of a food-packed trip to France including five days of butchery and charcuterie school in Gascony.

The allure of The Year of Meat is not hard to see. There has always been something mystical in the transformation from raw to cured, but at the same time so very elemental: slather a cut of meat with salt and spices and hang it until it’s covered with mold. There’s also something daunting in the knowledge that a single miscalculation of salt or curing temperature could be lethal; and this makes it a natural for Charcutepalooza’s network of online support and resources.

Charcuterie is very much in step with the prevailing taste for all things authentic, artisanal, and local. No two pieces of cured meat taste alike; the unique conditions of the home curing environment give subtle differences to charcuterie that can be compared to the terroir of wine. A space-challenged blogger from Manhattan is expanding the notion of terroir with her January challenge duck breasts curing in the space above her baby’s crib, detailed in a Charcutepalooza entry titled The Freakiest Baby Mobile…Ever?

If you’re game (a little charcuterie humor, there), Charcutepalooza is open to new bloggers just until February’s challenge gets underway.
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8 Responses to Salt. Cure. Blog. Repeat (every 30 days).

  1. It’s great to find an expert who can explain things so well

  2. Hallelujah! I needed this-you’re my savior.

  3. Eren says:

    It’s Spring? I didn’t know that! I added myself as a feoolwlr again..because even though I was following I wasn’t getting the posts. But now I am! Love the new look of the blog no evidence of Hurricane Heather anywhere! P. S. I love the kale chips, thanks for your help!

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Charcutepalooza | Gigabiting -- Topsy.com

  5. Monet says:

    I read about this the other day…it went viral! I love seeing how things like this begin…this blogging world is quite powerful. Thank you for sharing this story with us!

  6. I know what you’re saying, but honestly, for me, it’s always the year of the meat.

  7. How cool! Thanks for sharing their story with us.

  8. that just goes to prove you never know what the next new craze might be….what a fun happening they created!
    Cheers
    Dennis

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