In our Meat Crusade post we quoted meat wholesaler John Penny & Sons saying that out of 22,000 butchers’ shops in the 1980’s, there are now just 6,553, which makes the story of the Ginger Pig especially remarkable. As butchers’ shops continue to close, Ginger Pig opens them. They have five shops in prime London locations and now two cookbooks. The Ginger Pig Farmhouse Cook Book follows on from last year’s Ginger Pig Meat Book.
The Meat Book naturally covers everything meaty: breeds, hanging, cuts, and cooking with recipes set out seasonally. It’s a real work of reference as well as a recipe book and which also takes readers through the farming year.
The new Farmhouse Cookbook once again written by Ginger Pig founder Tim Wilson and food writer Fran Warde, is more recipe led covering curing, smoking and preserving as well as vegetables, wild food, jams and puddings and is set solidly around traditional British food. You won’t find many fancy foreign foods, (actually there are a few such as risotto Milanese and Malay lamb), you will find steak and kidney pudding, corned beef, Scotch broth, cauliflower cheese and queen of puddings.
The book also covers the remarkable story of how antique dealer Tim Wilson ended up as one of the most successful butchers in Britain. How he bought an idyllic country house in Nottinghamshire, only to find he’d bought a derelict mess without farm animals to give it life.
He describes how he bought and bred rare breads, taught himself sausage making and bacon curing and then took it all down to London’s Borough Market. Later with his eye on a beautiful farm in Levisham, North Yorkshire he persuaded the bank that it made perfect sense to rear in Yorkshire and sell in London. He was right. Now he employs 70 people and rears his animals on 3,000 Yorkshire acres.
The only difficulty for us in Yorkshire is that while all these carefully husbanded animals are reared on our lovely North York Moors, the meat goes straight to London. Happily though Ginger Pig have told Squidbeak if they phone in advance customers can buy direct from the farm. ‘There’s no farm shop as such, but plenty of meat’.