Monday, March 19, 2007

Meet the French butchers


The French eat quite a lot of meat (about 110 grams per day on average) and mostly beef (a recent study shows that 82% of the French say they have eaten beef at least once during the week). No wonder you can find a butcher practically at every corner in Paris, almost as many as bakers... I am not a big meat eater, but I must say I have a lot of respect for these guys who work really hard and can select a good piece of meat when you ask them.

40 comments:

  1. Eric, is this a uniform that all butchers in Paris wear or just at this particular store?

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  2. They look so young (especially the kids on the right and left).

    I have a lot of respect for the "trades" in France (les "petits métiers" ?). The great majority of them really, really, really, really, really know their stuff. The standards are different.

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  3. Same question as Debs - is this apparel just for this store? I'd hate to have to wear a tie, hat, et al........

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  4. What caught my attention is the cute ribbons attached to the meat. Such a fancy boucherie!

    Here it's normal to eat meat everyday too, but the butchers are not as nearly well dressed as those in the picture. I'm not a big meat eater too, in fact the only thing I eat a lot is sweets and chocolate. I don't care much about the rest.

    I'm a 'chocoholic'!

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  5. Can you even imagine a grocery store in the U.S. decorating the beef in the backround with ribbons? Now that I think about it, I can't think of a free standing butcher shop in Phoenix. Lobels in New York is the only one I have seen in my travels. Thirty years ago my mother bought from a butcher shop in Miami and it is gone now. Big grocery stores rule in the U.S.

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  6. The background is almost as interesting as those handsome young men--only in a different way. The sight of those big slabs of meat when I enlarged the photo was a bit startling.

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  7. Eric said, "I have a lot of respect for these guys who work really hard and can select a good piece of meat when you ask them."

    I have a feeling that Lynn will have something to say about that!

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  8. I just saw on the City Daily Photo portal about the radio segment with France Inter. The commentator seemed to really like it! Pretty cool! You and Igor should be very proud! Nobody should have any "beefs" against you guys now! (sorry, couldn't resist!)

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  9. I love the smart uniform these butchers are wearing.

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  10. It's interesting to see those butchers wearing uniforms. We have some butcher shops too here but none wearing uniforms. Oh, I prefer eating lamb to beef :)

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  11. i salute as well! hey, kind of like their uniform

    once a butcher gave me wrong type of meat which was pointed out by my to be mother in law!

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  12. he he Michael, don't know what you mean i'm sure...;) they do look like they could conjure up a decent sausage.

    Monica; LOL at sweets and chocs mmm! me too if i let myself, it's a constant struggle. At your age it doesn't matter quite so much. We say here 3 mins on the lips, 3 months on the hips. I've had rather too many minutes!

    Eric: Beef... mmmmm love fillet steak, that's my favourite but like you i don't eat meat much. These lads look hard at work and remind me of my fish and chips pic a while back. Three young lads learning a trade. Love the uniforms, clean and presentable. We have the ribbons too. Not so many butchers now; most meat is bought at the supermarket and whilst individuals are select and personal, they are also more expensive.

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  13. Forgot to enquire, Eric. How are you today? Do you need anything? Will nurses Monica & Lynn be required today?

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  14. I love shots of people at work like this. You really captured a slice of Parisian life. A beautiful photograph!

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  15. "At your age it doesn't matter quite so much" ... oh Lynn you´re so kind... I´m not that young dear, I´m not that young...!

    I believe the thought of having us as nurses will make Eric recover in speedlight time. He must think we´re nuts!

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  16. TV5 had a "special" on supermarket meat in France but I am sure the same "trick" is done here. "They" unwrap the non-purchased meat, trim it, and then rewrap it and stick a new date etiquette on it. The trimmed off meat is then reprocessed for hachet or thrown away. The program also showed the bacteria that was produced in the old meat. The consumer eats it and then gets various stomach or intestinal maladies. Scarry, isn't it? We like to go to the smaller independently owned butcher shops in France because the service is so wonderful and the meat is of higher quality. (Asides...I can't find "cunard" in our Lexington stores except at one rip-off butcher shop. Since I found 75gram on the web, I use their wonderful French recipes for unusual and delicious plats. I found it when I was searching for "Cuisse de Canard" recipe. It was made with mushrooms and turned out to be fabulously tasty. I like seeing the old geyser (about my age) working with the young men. I had a great-uncle who was a top-notch butcher. He was an expert, for sure.

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  17. Michael, I know you are leading Lynn astray. But, it is fun anyway. She doesn't need much encouragement and "voila!" there you are!! There is always a "twinkle" in your words and we love it.

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  18. I love that other countries continue to value the independent trader whilst here we seem to sacrifice quality and expert assistance for the supposed convenience and price of a supermarket - neither of which are actually evidenced in the long run. Nice capture.

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  19. My butcher is not nearly as well dressed as these and he doesn't put little ribbons on the meat.

    But, he has an autographed photos of all the "Sex in the City" girls and a couple of the "Sopranos" guys on the wall behind his counter. A whole different kind of good.

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  20. I loved this picture... until I enlarged it, and, well, yikes! The poor little (are they poulets?) things with ribbons tied around they legs. And what on earth did that giant slab o' beef in the background used to be???

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  21. lol glad to have risen to the challenge Johnny! Yes he does lead me astray, you are right; it's all him. It's all that naughty boy Michael ;( lol

    The stuff you said about supermarket meat is quite alarming. Eeeuuuwww. I don't buy that much but still. Ugh.

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  22. In fact Johnny, my post tomorrow is about meat....er...sort of. Now i'm even more worried about that! You'll see.. eek

    Monica you are indeed young and slim and pretty and clever witty and funny (god isn't there ONE thing wrong with that girl

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  23. Nonsense.. still, you just made my day Lynn! tks!

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  24. You chocaholic girls should know that the correct wording for your tag is " A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips" Enjoy it while you can, I'll stick to steak, and confit de canard!

    Navrad

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  25. This may sound odd, but I've never actually been in a butcher shop in my life!

    I think they were always incorporated into the supermarket where I grew up (in my lifetime).

    Lynn, Johnny was talking about the French butcher shops repackaging the meat...not supermarkets. Although it is illegal (here), there is a possibility that some supermarket butchers do it also.

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  26. Oh, and Johnny...while watching "Four Weddings and a Funeral" yesterday, the guy "Gareth" reminded me of you!

    Isn't that funny? I don't even know you but someone reminded me of you! The Internet...what an "odd" thing huh?

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  27. What a meaty subject Eric. Not sure I'd want their job though.

    I listened to the link Michael left on the radio interview - Congratulations Eric! I'm sure I didn't understand everything (seeing that I don't speak French!), but I clearly heard her say, "City Daily Photo" and "Paris Daily Photo" and "Istanbul" and of course - "Eric Tenin". You're a star now!

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  28. Eric has always been a star to us. I guess the rest of the world will catch on eventually.

    (How did you manage to make the subject matter so artistic? The blues, whites and reds are truly something.)

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  29. Great photo!! We have a few good butchers in SF and I can even get a real bavette steak from a shop near my apartment.

    I wouldn't mess with those French butchers though! I remember once in a butcher shop near the rue Cler that the butchers all had forearms like "Popeye" [from all that cutting and boning I'm sure]and they had lot's of sharp objects around...gulp!! No wonder the Parisians have great loyalty to their "boucher"...they don't want any trouble!

    I love the way they display their medals in the shops from the quality of meat and their skill as a butcher. Ahhh, la France!

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  30. Forearms like Popeye, eh? I knew something good would've been happening here while i'd been out this afternoon.

    Wonder if they're all the same family?

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  31. Parisians also eat a lot of fish and seafood since centuries: we often forget it, but the sea is only at 200km (2 hours on the highway today).

    In the middle-age, there was a special way through Paris used to bring fish to "Les Halles".
    This way was called "le chemin de la marée" ("the way from the tide").

    This way still exist through several busy streets in Paris, but they are not used to bring fish anymore...
    Some of those streets, belonging to the "chemin de la marée", have nowadays a name reminding us their history (fish=poisson in french): "rue des poissoniers", "rue du faubourg poissonnière", "rue poissonière"...

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  32. Hi everyone,

    I have to wake up very early tomorrow to go to Tours so I won't stay too long behind my screen. Here are a few anwsers:

    Yes all butchers wear that uniform (well all the butchers I go to anyway...). The ribbons are not common though.

    Johnny (... "special" on supermarket meat in France but I am sure the same "trick" is done here...." Let's not exagerate this happens, of course, but very rarely. Controls on food are pretty tough here.

    Susan : "Oh, and Johnny...while watching "Four Weddings and a Funeral" yesterday, the guy "Gareth" reminded me of you!". True! Now that I think of it!!

    Haxo, as always, what a fount of knowledge you are! I did not know about this rue poissonière thing. Thanks.

    Oh and BTW? yes, nurse Monica and nurse Lynn, thanks to you and your good remedies my cold is now history!!

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  33. And of course, I imagine with this big cow hanging on the wall, nobody will be asking, "Where's the beef?"

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  34. lol Michael - i've put the picture of the mystery photo up now!

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  35. So pleased you are well again dear Eric and that our remedies brought some relief.

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  36. Great to hear that you're feeling better Eric. See, we could never do you any harm, we're just two girls with lots of TLC !

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  37. Cute little apprentices for a great job. Like you, I love top professionals who know exactly what they're doing. Great pic too!

    By the way, we're eating duck today in Sydney, come and have a look, Eric!

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  38. I love your pictures. And sometimes Ilike to red the Texts and comments.
    Greeting, Frilo (Geld)

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