My first “real” feature for the Houston Press, “Designer Meats,” came out last Thursday. It was the third attempt at writing a full-blown feature in a couple of months, as my first two ideas fell though.
Charcuterie is something I’ve always been interested in, and was planning on doing a series of blog posts for Eating…Our Words about the various chefs around town who were reviving the craft here in Houston (seeing as how it’s already experienced a long overdue renaissance in other cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco).
So when my other two stories fell through, this seemed like the perfect answer: combine all those blog posts I was going to do into one, full-length story. Brilliant! Except for one thing…
I found out through the course of interviewing various chefs that some charcuterie — in particular, the hard cured meats that are hung to dry — is considered illegal in Houston. It seemed ludicrous to me that a food preparation technique that has been around since the dawn of man and is still used throughout the world to this day would be illegal because U.S. health laws are still in the dark ages compared to, say, Europe. On the other hand, this wasn’t why I set out to do the story and I eventually turned in my copy with no mention of the illegality of the situation.
You can probably guess what happened next. Continue reading