My Dad's in town and I took him to the Lower East Side's Essex Market for a bit of history and watching the famous butcher, Danny, of Jeffrey's Meat Market do his butchering art. From as long as I can remember watching meat get sliced and diced from the animal body has been something that my Dad always enjoys. In Chinatown in San Francisco, he always liked to watch the butchers take apart the pigs and ducks. It's a little weird, I know, but one person's job is another's entertainment.
It was Friday afternoon and we were getting ingredients for Shabbat dinner. Danny, the butcher, just arrived to Jeffrey's Meat Market and my Dad and I stood to the side as he started preparing the freshly butchered lamb and chickens. The market was relatively quiet so he started talking with my Dad and I. He's a mixture of zany hippie with classic New York Jew and he had a whole story to share with us. The market originally belonged to his great-grandfather Jeffrey and it's been in the family ever since. He only buys the freshest and most local meats and often picks them up minutes after they have been killed. Oh yeah, and he is a chef. as he put it "Any good butcher has to be a good chef." Enjoying a seemingly nostalgic and energetic conversation with my Dad and he, he noticed the time and generously proposed to make a special lunch for my Dad and I. I was taken back and delighted with his offer but we had to decline the offer because, well, my Dad keeps kosher and Jeffrey's Meat Market does not. Finding humor in this, probably the only time his offer of lunch has ever been denied, Danny proclaimed that his Jewishness makes everything kosher. When that didn't convince my Dad he settled for taking characteristic pictures and giving my Dad an apron! They are bearing Danny's butchering knives like proud soldiers with Samurai swords. Below is their photo shoot, I'm behind the camera. Danny is on the left with the long hair; my Dad is in the cap.
And here is a photo of my Dad just as he caught a leg of lamb or pork that Danny tossed over to him.
Well we didn't get a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to have lunch made by Danny but we got a great story and some once-in-a-life-time pictures! Oh yeah, and we got to keep the apron!