Somewhere in a kitchen cupboard I still have a plastic bag from the Hampstead Butcher.
On several occasions during the house move I nearly threw it away, but I just can’t seem to part with it. It’s not a particularly good bag – it’s certainly no Sainsbury’s bag for life – nor is it especially pretty.
What force compels me to cling to this thing?
Is it nostalgia for my old life, or a desire to strut the streets of Canterbury advertising that I once bought sausage meat at this famous North London institution?
No. I realised the other day that this bag came to me a couple of Christmases ago, when I bought a variety of incidental Christmas meats (everything but the turkey) and decided to push the boat out and go to the expensive butcher up the road.
These carnivore’s victuals came at such an eye-watering cost that I am now unable to discard the bag it came in. It’s all I have to show for the kind of expenditure that should happily feed my family for several weeks, and I can’t bring myself to throw it away.
Which brings me to the subject of this week’s witless musings: meat.
As usual the Mrs put me in charge of Christmas meat, and as usual I left it a bit late. I conducted a thorough investigation of all the local butchers, by which I mean I went in to Hedger’s in St Dunstan’s and asked if they had any turkeys left.
It turns out, rather surprisingly, I’m a genius. This place is a rare gem. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable. There’s not a cut of meat they can’t get their hands on, and the quality has so far been universally excellent.
If you’re not the sort of person who spends enough money on meat to become emotionally attached to a plastic bag, then you might not know the joy of finding a good butcher. Though more expensive than the supermarket, it really is worth the difference.
You don’t have to be a total idiot like me either. Just get a nice sirloin or two and you’ll see the difference. I can’t tell you how happy I am to find such expertise and quality, especially at prices that make it possible to shop there more than once a year.
As you can tell, I’m not doing “veganuary”.
There was a sign outside Hedger’s the other day saying they had local wild rabbit in stock, and I’m tempted. You know, I saw a lot of things during my 20 years in London, but never a butcher selling local wild rabbit. Probably for the best. The only rabbits that were shot near me were killed by other rabbits in turf wars.
It was like Watership Down crossed with The Wire.
Alex Ricketts is a marketing professional working in London. He lives in Canterbury with his partner and his young daughter.