One-stop, anonymous shopping certainly has its appeal, particularly if you are busy, cranky, or prone to bouts of social anxiety.
But no woman is an island. And we could all use a little professional help every now and then.
I am familiar with most of the more common cuts of meat, but I simply cannot commit to memory the full lexicon of butchery. I can’t remember what comes from where and which is better for what. It’s a recurring resolution of mine, to learn every name of every part of the cow/pig/lamb, but I’ve yet to make good on it.
If I need meat, I call Florence.
A friendly voice answers the phone. I say I’d like to place an order to pick up later in the day. The voice says, “Sure. What do you need?” Sometimes I know: On Saturday I wanted four thick-cut, bone-in pork chops. Sometimes I don’t, as was the case one day last summer: “Well, I’m attempting to make vitello tonnato….” No matter. Florence knows.
At the risk of sounding banal, “old school” really is the best way to describe this sliver of a shop on Jones street, in the heart of the West Village. The meat is aged, out of sight, in lockers in the back, but it is all sliced by hand, trimmed, boned, and tied in the front of the shop. There is even sawdust on the floor. I find all of this very reassuring somehow.
The chops, in case you were wondering, were gorgeous:
I marinated them the day before dinner, in a mustardy mix with plenty of rosemary and garlic.
And then I overcooked them. Good ingredients will only take you so far.
Florence Prime Meats, 5 Jones Street, New York City, (212) 242-6531