Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Michael Ruhlman recently blogged about distinguishing between foodies and cooks. (On a side note, this post was part of a pretty unique media dialog. Michael Pollan wrote an article for the Times Magazine, inspired by the movie Julie & Julia, which is of course based on a food blog and the life of Julia Child, as documented in the public and private writings of Mrs. & Mr. Child. This article prompted Ruhlman to respond on his blog concluding, among other things, that food bloggers are continuing Julia Child's legacy. This post generated tons of responses on his blog as well as his Facebook and Twitter pages, which ultimately resulted in Ruhlman writing a follow up post responding to many of those comments. Media democratization at work!) Michael's basic point, is that there is an important distinction between foodies and cooks. Food is a lifestyle for foodies, but cooking isn't necessarily part of it. Cooks are, quite simply, people who cook food, and presumably, enjoy doing it. The two are not mutually exclusive, certainly many foodies are also cooks, but many are not.

Personally, I can trace my transformation from foodie to cook, and further to butcher, back to a specific moment. Bill Buford's wonderful book Heat, itself a memoir of the author going through this transition, was a huge inspiration to me, and surely to many, many others. Specifically, Buford's description of Dario Cecchini, the master butcher was a revelation. Buford is a great writer, Dario is a brilliant butcher with a flare for the theatrical, and the resulting combination is pure magic. Dario is a bombastic, larger than life kinda guy. Or at least that's how he comes across in the book, and now Bay Area foodies, cooks and butchers alike will have the opportunity to check him out in person! Meatpaper and Marin Organic are teaming up to brig Dario to Fort Mason for a meat cutting demonstration. Tickets are pricey, but likely well worth it.


  1. WOW! $275 to watch a man cut meat in a theater! The concept of butchery as performance art is one that I struggle with....but, hey..struggle is what makes life interesting. Are you going to attend? Found any interesting butchers in the Austin area?

  2. Unfortunately, I will not be attending. I can't make the trip back, and frankly, the price is a little steep for me. I would love to see Dario at work though.

    I haven't been to any butchers in Austin yet, but I do like Granzin's in New Braunfels.