This page is an ongoing work and will be updated with descriptions of women butchers based outside England but like the ones on the English butchers, allowing as much as possible their own words to speak about them rather than anyone else chiming in. But let’s not imagine that women working as butchers is anything new…
More than 30 women were learning the art of cutting, weighing, wrapping and selling meats today as San Francisco’s first butcherettes began training to take the places of a thousand butchers who have gone into the armed forces. Here Eugene Mulligan shows the trainees how to carve lamb. Officials of Butchers Union, Local 115, said more women would be called to training later. The training course is being given in Mr. Mulligan’s New Bay City Market, 1985 Mission Street, across from Labor Temple. September 25, 1942
Now, in 2016, Mo Morrison-Brandeis is the head butcher at Stock-in-Trade in Toronto.
“Does your job make you feel empowered at all?
I’m very proud of the work that I do. I am always so focused on thinking and theory, so I think it is great for me to have a job where I work with my hands and am able to get out of my own head. It also just feels great to be able to feed people using local food, and to be able to make creations with local ingredients like apples and garlic scapes. Although it does feel badass to hack apart an animal, I am bringing a lot of female energy and I don’t work in a brutalist way. This meat comes from an animal and we need to respect that and treat them with care. It may look bad ass to be covered in blood at the end of the day, but it mostly just feels to good to know that my body is capable of doing such important work.” (© Fat Girl Food Squad 2015)
Melissa Cortina of the Out Of The Box Collective here working on a side of lamb
and a YouTube video here showing how to breakdown a chicken.
There’s Zhang Caijie, a Taiwanese butcher in the Dongmen Market doing great work with pork in her family owned business. But then dubbed the ‘Pork Princess’ by the tabloids. Of course. Morons.
One of those places that we discovered in Nola that was no more than 10 minutes walk from our apartment although at that time Leighann hadn’t taken up her post. And who couldn’t love a place that was so up-front about what animal they used to work their magic?
Smith is sure there are other female butchers out there in the world. And certainly female chefs in New Orleans do some of their own butchering. But she hasn’t yet run across any other full-time female butchers in the Crescent City.
“It’s definitely a male side of the industry,” she said.
That fact makes her proud. Her nickname, “Meat Mama,” is sewn on her chef’s coat.
Erika Nakamura; one half of the female team owning Lindy & Grundy in LA which Erika describes as an “old-school industrial French butcher shop,” with an ingenius rail system, for hanging and moving whole animals, designed by Amelia’s cousin, an ironworker in New York.
The popular image of the butcher is a big man with a florid face and a menacing jolliness—what Erika calls “the fat dude in a bloody apron.” At Lindy & Grundy, Erika is the head butcher. To assist, they hire only what Amelia calls SNAGs—Sensitive New Age Guys. For example, there’s the one they refer to as “Young Buck,” Alex Jermasik, an apple-cheeked young man with a line of stubble along his jaw, who quit school to work at Lindy & Grundy and recently won the Chicken Breakdown competition at the Eat Real Festival, beating out a master butcher and the sous chef at Bouchon. “Our meat child,” Amelia said affectionately. “I’ve turned him into a Chicana feminist. He’ll be quoting Gloria Anzeldua soon.”
And, like all the best butchers, she cares — and takes care — to check out what her animals eat & how they’re looked after.
Q: What do the animals eat?
Beef: 100% pastured and eats grass it’s entire life. It’s grass fed and grass finished.
Pork: 100% pastured and eats fruits, veggies, black eyed peas, cotton seed, local barley, almonds that fall from the trees at the ranch.
But that I have had to look so far away for women butchers is slightly discouraging. I’m guessing there are a lot, unsung, unmentioned, working here in England. So, if you’re one of them or know one of them? Tell me.