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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Old World & New: Hecho A Mano Series

I had the pleasure today of going to the butcher. S. Maresca & Sons Fine Meats, in Sergeantsville, NJ. I make the trek over the hills and down the winding country roads as often as possible. It is an extraordinary experience to see two brothers carrying on the family traditions and keeping this honorable profession alive. I won’t wax on about their unbelievable bangers, chorizo, Neapolitan flank steak, or anything else. They are precious artisans: enough said. Joe and Emil are getting along in years, yet they refuse to let anyone else do their work. They refuse to compromise their standards, and that means doing it themselves, the right way.

Today we got to talking about modern times. I complained about people wearing bluetooth earpieces while Joe reminded their assistant that her 10 earrings were fine as long as she didn’t pierce her nose or mouth. Then Emil proceeded to cut me a Porterhouse out of an enormous carcass. He used, what looked like, a hundred year old saw to cut through the bones. In fact, nearly every knife, saw, and butcher block they use is an antique. They still use the tools and knowledge handed down to them from their family and forefathers. And while most people continue to shop in grocery stores and buy processed foods, Joe & Emil admit that they are not great business men because they cannot grow beyond their own talents. But they are great Artists; and even better business men. Like great Cigar and Pipe makers, they labor away to honor their product, their consumer, and their time. Always staying true to an idea or ideal: this is art. Ultimately, they have lives with real value which I feel fortunate to share in.

Every day that goes by, life becomes a little more fast paced, communication a little quicker, and our time a little shorter. There is no better moment to sit back, relax, and have a great cigar than right now.

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