Hug a Farmer, They Said…

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Gentle Reader:

Greetings! Welcome (back) to my humble blog. First, a note on etymology. Did you know that “blog” is a truncated form of “weblog” from the internet’s earlier days? It’s true. “Blog”, therefore, takes out the “we”. But when you read my words, Gentle Reader, “we” are brought back together. Harmony, Gentle Reader. Harmony.

This assignment is grounded in the need to hug a farmer. But more important than the hugging, I contend, is the attempt to understand the work of farmers around us. I did not hug my farmer, but I spoke with her. I learned a bit of her life.

I would to share my findings with you.

In a feat of GREAT INTERTEXTUALITY, let me remind you of an earlier blog submission in which I documented some Royal Eggs that I had cooked. Guess what? Those eggs WERE FROM THE FARMER I WILL NOW DISCUSS!!!!!!!

I went to a local farm. Not local to where I am right now (i.e. Toronto) but local to where I was (i.e. Lafontaine, Ontario). In Lafontain, Ontario is a truly charming farm, whose main business is equestrian stuff: riding lessons, boarding, and the like. They have a website: http://www.celticrootsequestrian.ca/index.php

On this farm is a henhouse, and in that henhouse are some hens. Those hens produce eggs, which are sold on the farm property (for cheap!).

The first interaction I ever had with a product that called itself "CHEAP!" was MAD Magazine. Guess what?? The first MAD Magazine I ever bought was also in LAFONTAINE, ONTARIO!!! http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/mad/159-2.jpg

The first interaction I ever had with a product that called itself “CHEAP!” was MAD Magazine. Guess what?? The first MAD Magazine I ever bought was also in LAFONTAINE, ONTARIO!!! http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/mad/159-2.jpg

The current owners of the farm have been tinkering away and expanding for more than three decades. For most of its time, the farm was operated as a dairy farm. The switch to eggs came about during what I assumed was a 4 A.M. early milking epiphany: “Dairy farming is freaking hard. Enough of this.”

The owners love horses and love their hens. But only the hens lay eggs.

Is it totally organic farming? Nah… (too much hassle). But let me transcribe what is printed on the exterior of all egg cartons: “Our hens run around, socialize and eat / local grains, forage and seasonal veggies. / Happy Hens : Health Eggs.” Sounds good.

From this, we can gather the following vis-a-vis the farmers’ support for political or environmental initiatives: the farmers support local farming (i.e. sourcing their grains locally), perhaps due to the combined political effect of supporting local economies as well as the environmental effect of reducing emissions incurred by transporting food great distances. They have also committed themselves to a free-run atmosphere in which the hens are not combined to BARBARIC battery farm cages.

I visited the hens, to tell the truth. In all honesty, I wouldn’t have loved living in there, but the hens seemed OK with it.

It did not seem appropriate to take a photo with the farmer at the time, so what I have done instead is taken a photo of the combined fruits of our labours (the farmer’s and mine). From the farmer, I feature a carton of eggs that I bought on the farm premises. From myself, I give you another peek of my beautiful anti-plagiarism key. Would you like to see the photo, Gentle Reader? It is below.

If you look closely, you will see a red splotch in the spoon's reflection. I AM THAT RED SPLOTCH. So this is a selfie after all. HAHAHAHA!

If you look closely, you will see a red splotch in the spoon’s reflection. I AM THAT RED SPLOTCH. So this is a selfie after all. HAHAHAHA!

So, if you’re still reading, Gentle Reader, what can I tell you?

Here’s what I learned from the experience… There seems to be a hierarchy or at least a sense of increasing reverence divided amongst strata of farmers. The egg farmers look to the dairy farmers and think “Boy, that is hard!” And maybe the hemp farmers look to the egg farmers and think “Boy, that is hard.” I also learned that hens like to peck at snow off one’s boot. That was good knowledge to acquire.

Bonus farm-related Canadian theatre history interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T-EMQfqcjA

Butchery

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Or What We Talk About When we Talk About Filet Mignon

I went to a butcher shop and I explored their products. I chose a cut I was not familiar with and I noted the cost. Dear reader, I will reveal all momentarily.

"We're the brothers who sell dead animals!" (This is an original photo: the glorious key is found to the left of the frame.)

“We’re the brothers who sell dead animals!” (This is an original photo: the glorious key is found to the left of the frame.)

I went to Brown Brothers Meat & Poultry, which is located in St. Lawrence Market. My most experienced readers will recall that St. Lawrence market also once served as the jail to my fruit prey. But that was back when I was a fruit hunter… young… foolish. Times have changed.

We’re talking meat now. What meat? Filet mignon, which the butcher suggested should be pan fried. But why are we talking about filet mignon? I’ll tell you. My love affair with filet mignon began while watching Law and Order (the real, original one) with my brother. So there Ben was, trying to push a difficult case through the courts when the common law and political will were both opposed to his position. Tough slog, yes. But Ben is a bright guy. But in Adam’s office (Adam’s the District Attorney and Ben is the Assistant District Attorney, you see), Adam tell him: “Drop it, Ben! It’s no good. Your evidence is weak. What do you want me to tell you? Mincemeat is filet mignon?” The price by the way, is $28.95 for each cryovac package. There is no weight listed.

Meat.

Meat.

Inspired by Law and Order and then also excited by the butcher’s suggestion that I “pan-fry the meat”, I did some in depth research.

This is not a straw.  French art joke!

This is not a straw.
French art joke!

A recipe that uses my cut is pictured above. Filets mignons (plural!) with balsamic pan sauce and truffle oil. The source for this groundbreaking recipe is: Denis Kelly’s “Steak & Chop”, a Williams Sonoma cookbook published by Simon & Schuster.

Filet mignon is French for “cute fillet”, and it is beef, from the tenderloin’s smaller end.

I would prepare the product by rubbing it down with salt and pepper before cooking it in a hot buttery pan. Basting the filet mignon with truffle oil would allow those delicious flavours to infuse into the meat.Following the recipe, I’d charge about $30 bucks a plate, and that plate would be good quality. There would also be good service in this restaurant of mine, and people would be overjoyed to pay $25.

I have to say, the recipe from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook is pretty straightforward, so I don’t foresee special accommodations being required for the cooking method.

Would it be effective in a fast-paced restaurant? Yes, depending on what we’re talking about. This is an expensive cut of meat, and it wouldn’t fit well at a cheap, quick service place. I would prefer to serve it over dinner service rather than lunch. I would cook it to order and allow the guests to revel in the beautiful ambience of my restaurant.

POST UPDATE: Speaking of restaurants, here are the members of Rush getting drunk at a fancy hunting lodge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb-MwVUUy3g