Some couples “practice” for children by getting a dog; my husband and I are evidently “practicing” with charcuterie (tr. “cooked flesh”), the art of making sausage, bacon, terrines, and cured meats.
Like preparing for a child, charcuterie requires:
- a manual — an authoritative cookbook instead of a parenting tome
- items that the uninitiated would never have lying around the house — pink salt laced with nitrates, pork fat, chicken livers, and sheep intestines instead of diapers, a crib, or baby formula
- unsolicited advice from one’s parents, such as my father’s words to my husband — “you are not permitted to give my daughter botulism”
- a long lead time while you wait for the cure (or the baby) to reach maturity
- friends to pawn the baby/pâté off on, from time to time
- endurance to finish eating the baby, I mean, side of corned beef
With our dangerously tempting manual in hand, and a supply of pink salt just arrived by mail, my husband and I have embarked on a journey into curing that can only end with home-made prosciutto.