“As the light gets long and the days get short my heart and my mind are in Italy.”- Dominic Palumbo
This week, Meat Market Proprietor Jeremy Stanton tells us the story behind the very special Testa in Cassetta that is in our case, recently made in house by Dominic Palumbo (of Moon in the Pond Farm) and friends:
It was 2004 and Dominic and I applied to Terra Madre, Slow Food’s Semi-Annual gathering of food artisans and farmers in Turin, Italy. Which is also where the Fiat is made. I happen to love the Fiat. Turin is somewhat of an industrial city. It’s not the most beautiful in Italy, but even in an industrial city you find beautiful architecture and artifacts of history. Terra Madre was three days, five thousand people – all farmers and artisans- and the finally a keynote speech by Prince Charles, a huge supporter of local foods. It was incredible.
After Terra Madre, Dominic and I headed off into the country side of Piedmont, laying out our route on a map over breakfast. We had ambitious plans of seeing about 20 or 30 different sausage making outfits in eight days. We got to maybe about six of them. One of them was a commune where they raise very large pigs for their whole hog sausage making company. Five guys come together every week to do the slaughter right there on the farm, and they chill and bone out the whole pig all in a room smaller than the kitchen at the Meat Market. They cut the heads off and boil them in a large steel box with legs over a propane burner. They throw lemons and a few other seasonings in with the head and cover it with a lid. On the side they boil the carrots that go into the casings with the meat, pistachios and nutmeg. All this is made out of diamond plated steel, mind you. Which was an inspiration, really.
I mean, a lot of this inspired the concept of the Meat Market because I realized that it didn’t have to be so complicated. That it didn’t have to be so fancy. It was simple. Things could be very rudimentary and very effective. The rights tools are accessible and they aren’t a mystery. When the heads came out, everyone gloved up and chopped them apart together. On the side they boil the carrots that go into the casings with the meat, pistachios and nutmeg. When it’s done, they sell it in the nearby cities and villages. I was forever altered. I just realized that it’s simple, it’s not complicated. You can make amazing things out of very simple formula.