Pork scandals


Though the English have mastered the art of pre-packaged microwaveable food (Any Marks and Spencers food package is a treat), their country still brims with meat: Steak and ale pies, goose fats, matured beef, pork pasties with mint and vinegar. Here, in Leeds market, I’m dazzled by the range of well-hung meat sold by these well-hung butchers. The Chinese would be envious…Here’s a poem I was reminded of when I was at this particular butchery:

The butcher carves veal for two.
The cloudy, frail slices fall over his knife.
His face is hurt by the parting sinews
and he looks up with relief, laying it on the scales.
He is a rosy young man with white eyelashes
Like a bullock. He always serves me now.
I think he knows about my life. How we
prefer to eat in when it’s cold. How someone
with a foreign accent can only cook veal.
He writes the price on the grease-proof jacket
and hands it to me courteously. His smile
is the official seal on my marriage.

–Hugo Williams


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