Swiss meat (butchering lamb in Switzerland)

Resisted punny titles and all I got was this bad one. Oh well…right, now to the actual topic.

A while ago I read a book titled The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat. It was packed with all kinds of good info, but the best part was the huge section (printed on super nice photo paper) on how to butcher a lamb at home. I thought it would be really cool to do, but I wrote it off as not going to happen because of the expense and tools required.

Well, guess what? The farm I’ve been staying at just happened to have a whole lamb that needed to be butchered the week that I arrived. I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity like that, so naturally I volunteered to help. The sight of the already skinned and erm, headless, lamb surprisingly didn’t bother me much at all. I was way more nervous about the big knife I was holding, as it was slicing through the meat like melted butter. A slip up could make it do the same to me. Know I truly understood why they recommended wearing chainmail…Fortunately I was super mindful and am writing this post now completely intact. I have a massive amount of respect for butchers like this guy after that experience. Compared to that guy I must have looked absolutely incompetent.

Lamb ribs, probably the most annoying part
About to cut me some ribs. (Cheap camera phone = poor photo quality)

A total aside, but at one point I wondered why we couldn’t have done stuff like this in Biology labs instead of dissecting pigs…then I remembered that extremely sharp knife I was holding. Nevermind. Terrible idea.

Now it’s highly unlikely that you’ll want to try this yourself, but it was an incredibly instructive experience. I have a better sense of what it takes to get that meat I’m eating to the table (by the way, that mutton was magnifique) and appreciate locally sourced food a little more than I already had. The amount of meat we got out of one lamb was enough to fill almost half of a big chest freezer. That’s a lot of meat, even for me. That was a whole lamb, I imagine even a fifth of a cow from a cowshare would fill that thing to the brim. I’ll be trying to do that once I get a place of my own again.

I’m nearing the end of my time in Switzerland now. Still gathering some footage for one bigger video just showing some training around the places I’ve found, we’ll see if I can get it all put together before I need to catch my next plane. I’m bound for a brief stop in the UK to visit London then help with the MovNat 2-day Power & Agility workshop in Birmingham. It is two weeks out from the actual event and I’m already excited. Got some other big things planned that I’ll also be posting about soon™.

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