Is there no greater signal of spring than a grocery store’s meat section overflowing with corned beef briskets? I really can’t think of one.
I’m not Irish, and I don't pretend to be the biggest beer drinker or have a vast collection of emerald threads in my closet. So boiling a large pot of corned beef and cabbage has been my go-to tradition in honoring Ireland’s patron saint.
My wife, on the other hand, does not share my appreciation for this annual March feast. I believe her exact words (a nod to Anchorman) are, “Ugh, that smells like Sex Panther.”
Sixty percent of the time, she hates it every time.
So this year I’ve scrapped the corned beef and cabbage menu in hopes of finding a meal more authentic to Ireland. Come to find out, it was never really an Irish tradition in the first place.
All Michael Randolph needs right now is a pair of tweezers. The small implement is a far cry from the firepower the former Marine used to pack, but he needs them to put the shredded cabbage finish on his elegant canapé of duck foie gras on toasted brioche with Dijon vinaigrette.
“Can I borrow your tweezers real quick, like for four minutes?” Randolph, a student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, asks a colleague across the way from his prep station.
Time is of the essence. A full slate of lunch reservations is about to fill the dining room and Randolph has only few minutes to get his creations to the front of the kitchen. They will be the first bite eager diners take before the start of their three-course meal.
“I never really thought I’d be using tweezers in the kitchen,” blurts out Randolph, borrowed tweezers now in hand, as he delicately sets the last few cabbage shreds on the nickel-sized starters. Eight years ago, The Bocuse Restaurant’s kitchen was probably the last place he thought he’d wind up.
Some residents of Grand Isle, Vermont, don’t want to talk about what happened in that blue building on Pearl Street. Others have an awful lot to say on the matter.
A cattle trailer, spray-painted in red with the Animal Liberation Front’s acronym “ALF,” still sits out front of the complex now shrouded in overgrown weeds.
It’s an eerie reminder of the events just four years ago that thrust this tiny town of fewer than 2,000 people into the national spotlight.
In October 2009, the now-deserted structure – which once housed the veal processing plant Bushway Packing Inc. - was permanently shut down by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after an animal protection organization, the Humane Society of the United States, revealed an undercover video showing plant workers kicking, dragging, stunning and skinning live calves that were less than a month old.
It was yet another blow to the U.S. veal industry, which has long been mired in conflict with animal welfare groups because of its use of crates to restrain the calves’ movement.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, consumers seldom cite animal welfare as a concerning food issue but express it as “a matter of high concern” for veal.
But just 40 miles from where that horrifying video was filmed in Grand Isle, in the small town of Fairfield, Vermont, the folks behind Stony Pond Farm are among a number of smaller-scale dairy farmers trying to persuade consumers and fellow farmers alike to think outside the pen when it comes to veal – and they’re aiming to make more humane rearing and slaughtering practices an industry standard.
Ask Joe Henderson any question and odds are he’ll give you a very thorough answer. But ask him how to save one of the most endangered breeds in the world, the Randall Lineback, he’ll give you a very short retort: You have to eat it.
Henderson, a Washington, D.C. real estate executive and farmer, raises around 250 Randall Linebacks on the rolling hills of his Chapel Hill Farm in Berryville, VA. And what exactly is a Randall Lineback?
“Well, we don’t know what to call it,” says Henderson.
Food in the Field gives a sneak peek into what CNN's team is eating, and the food culture they encounter as they travel the globe. Jeremy Harlan is a CNN photojournalist. He has a hungry baby and he loves Vienna sausage.
Ever wonder how the press corps keeps their stamina as they trek from stump to stump with presidential hopefuls? Our Jeremy Harlan is keeping a detailed food diary as he's embedded with Mitt Romney's campaign. Read diaries from days One, Two, Three and Four
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