Thursday, October 17, 2013

Harlem butcher

Rico Cirignano, Harlem Shambles

I ran around yesterday. In pursuit of pigs. Having given up the Upper West Side as LOST in terms of butchers, I came back home, checked on a recommendation from a friend, and then hoofed it on foot (, cloven hoof) eleven blocks south and a couple of long blocks over, and  found my pork belly at last at what will be our new butcher shop, post Brooklyn: Harlem Shambles. They source meat locally (as much as I loved Paisanos, they usually did not).

I came home with ma belly and a picnic shoulder, and they cooked last night with fennel seeds and lemon and the last of Frank's garlic. We ate a small portion-for-two at the stone table in The Fishbowl again, with a man sitting out on a fire escape opposite laughing like a hyena. For a long time. Until someone called him in and told him to shut up. Perhaps it was very funny. Candles, dinner. I don't know. 

Today, having cooked forever and cooled,  the pork will be shredded and turned into potted pig, aka rillettes, and this evening taken by Zipcar, with fresh-pickled mustard and warm brown bread, to the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, where my publishers are hosting a party for 250 (gulp): a Brooklyn Bash - for four Brooklyn-born books, mine included. 

In the middle of our move a social engagement with lots of prep has made our unpacking and organizing grind to a halt, and, if I could find the damn things - there are moments when I would throw all my toys out of the cot and onto 127th Street.

But, we have a butcher. It's no small thing.


  1. Love the butchers' hats. Finding new vendors and favorite shops is always a challenge when you move. The best advice is to ask the neighbors. Sounds like you did a lot of work for the party. I wish I lived nearby so I could attend. It sounds delish. I hope the publishers are providing some servers since you did the majority of the work!

  2. I hope the terrace can become your own. Good time of year to get a deal on "beach" umbrellas so maybe if you had one or two you could place them for some privacy?

  3. Maybe if it is okay with the landlord you can plant some privacy screening bamboo or similar plants in pots along the terrace perimeter

  4. I agree - some screening is necessary. Bamboo AND umbrellas. It will all take some getting used to but privacy is created in this case

  5. Along the same lines as the above comments, could you erect a pergola securely, but temporarily, so you could remove it when you leave? All your climbing plants could provide a shelter for your table. In the meantime, maybe the neighbors will learn something from your beautiful dinners!

    Nancy Mc

  6. I wonder if you could grow garlic in those planters?

  7. Marie your book, my copy of it, arrived today from my Canadian bookseller ... I'm a little late to the game (it's been on my wish list since pre-publication). Oh my it is stunning, such heft & quality, I love the size, the hard cover, the paper and of course the writing, the recipes, the story and the photos. Please tell Beence that the photography is stunning. I know that this move must be traumatic in so many ways (& especially for our dear Storbie) but ... as someone who's been reading both blogs (yours and E's) for as long as I can remember - I am thrilled and excited with each day's new post - it's as if I've moved to Harlem. Congratulations on an amazing book ! much love, xo Susan & the cats of Black Street

    1. Gosh, thank you, Susan. Coming from you, whose business (and passion) is all about paper and what it looks like, that is a wonderful compliment. And yes, those double page month openers of Vince's make the book. They almost did not make it in...a tense moment now forgotten. Love to Black Street, from 127th. x

  8. Marie, in your designing, writing,photographing life, you probably have won over many hearts. But "A Delicious Life" has won a most surprising reader - Peter! Yes, He's been sitting down, reading your book and almost took it out to the mine this week, then thought better, in case something" happened to it. You have taken pole position and, I think, the chequered flag from his car magazines!

  9. Oh my - thrilling, validating, exhausting all come to mind. So much going on all at once, but you know life will even out. Hope the book party is all you wish it to be!
    Thank you for yesterday's post describing Storbie's NOW - I had a lump in my throat thinking of what my own kits have been through.
    Random thought - maybe you could use the pre-existing planters for some tall variety of ornamental grass - sort of a natural screen?

  10. No small thing indeed. I've my last market Oct. 27th and then the garlic gifting/short selling will begin!

  11. Gosh his hat makes me very happy. And this reminds me: Younger son in Morocco just attended the yearly ritual goat slaughter. I asked him if he was now a vegetarian. "Nope, it all seemed very natural. I watched old Said kill three goats." It's good to understand where your meat is coming from....


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