Meredith Leigh

Writer | Butcher | Farmer | Cook

{Everything is Delicious if You Do it Right}

Why I'm Writing This Book

It’s 2:52am on a Sunday morning.  I fell asleep at 9pm, after kissing my two young boys (ages 6 and 2) goodnight, and having a glass of wine on my deck. I was thinking about my day, and about how I had survived it. Falling asleep, I think, was the only thing left to do. Now, I’m up, figuring out the short and long-term liability of my butcher shop, because I have to leave it behind. Not because it isn’t great. Not because I don’t love it, but because I’m getting a divorce, and my life is astronomically expensive until I sell my farm, and I work three jobs, and I’m a single mom, and my head butcher quit.

 In addition to figuring liability, I am also making mint simple syrup. It is now 2:57 AM, and I’m thinking mint-infused whipping cream will go perfectly with the fresh strawberry pie I’m making tomorrow. And… who ever argued with a mojito? In addition to dealing with my current problems, I deal in good food. I don’t just love it, I make it. From scratch. I dream of it, I grow it, clean it, cook it, and eat it. And I have been fighting for good food for nearly half my life. So, the simple syrup is part of Sunday supper with my friends, which is the only social engagement I attend to regularly, as I try to clean up this mess that is my life. Once the week begins, I’ll carefully chart my days from 4am to 8pm trying to juggle my jobs, and worries, and most importantly, my sweet children.

 When I am done with all of this mess, I’m going on a journey. I’m going to take chaos and bruise, heartbreak, and a hammock, and write a book about meat. After 12 years of every kind of farming imaginable, 6 years of meat-centric investments and creations, and 1 year of the absolute re-ordering of everything I thought was important, I think I may have something to say. I’m writing this book to stay alive, to keep my finger on a pulse.

 This book will be about meat, and food in general. This book will be about blood, and bone, and muscle, and blade, grass, crunch, simmer, smoke, soil, salt, and cut-hay smell. I mean it literally, as well as metaphorically.

 Practically, you will find within these pages information on producing, butchering, preserving, and cooking beef, pork, lamb, and poultry on the home-scale. Spiritually, you’ll find within these pages one woman’s questions and insights about food, land, community, and love. It’s my hope that reading this book is as raw an experience as writing it. I hope that, inside the good practice of all the arts included here; you will find out a little bit more about honest living.

 -May, 2014

All content copyright 2015 Meredith Leigh | Background image by Cindy Kunst.