“Ray Spines”, sounds like the name an author might inflict on a dodgeball insurance salesman who wears a Hawaiian shirt and a pork pie hat. His long suffering wife would have to be called Barb and he would have a minor role in a particularly gruesome murder mystery. That’s one Ray Spines for you. My ray spines are a different kettle of fish. Let me back the boat up a bit.
There are few meats more tasty than a roasted leg of Wicklow lamb, garlic and rosemary studded, cooked pink and served with a traditional gravy and boiled potatoes (with a green veg for form’s sake too). There are a few half decent recipes here on the blog for such like. However, I like to try out my ideas and I often (I really mean rarely) listen to suggestions from friends and family. So, when a friend suggested I should part roast and part steam a leg of lamb “low and slow”, I was delighted (reluctant) to try it.
Because of geography, interest and dumb luck, I know a good number of butchers. I also know a number of good butchers. But let me tell you about some of the things that help to make a good butcher great.
Understanding the customer is a great thing. But understanding on its own will not a great butcher make.
Product knowledge helps when cutting steaks, yet it won’t cut the mustard in the greatness stakes.
Stocking the unusual is in itself unusual and is a great help.
Enthusiasm and passion are essential ingredients too.
When you come across all of the above, you know you are dealing with greatness.
My British friends, for I have a few, are more against than in favour of Brexit. I also hold an anti Brexit viewpoint. Looking on from the other side of the Irish sea I am aghast at the collapse of the already low standards held by so many UK politicians who seem to be scrabbling for party or personal power, caught up in a perfect storm of self interest. Apart, that is, from the leader of the opposition who takes up position sitting on his hands. Pathetic stuff. Perhaps the olde English phrase of “Opportunity makes the man”, from the original “Opportunity Makes the Thief”is more appropriate to the sad behaviour we see. I am also astounded at seeing so many of my generation steal the opportunity that they squandered from the next generation. History will judge and not kindly.