Buying meat in the United States is boring. You go into a grocery and there, under wrap and strict climate controls, are various bits of meat cleaned and prepared for you. In very few scenarios is there the option to talk with the butcher, explain what you want and work with them to get just the right cut. Plus, the chances of finding offal on offer are near nil.
Get away from the USA, however, and things start to get more interesting. The souks of Marrakesh, Morocco offered up a number of butchers working out of tiny storefronts with minimal facilities or apparent regulation. But the number of options available was significantly higher and you could truly request the exact bit you desired.
The meat is fresh. There is no 21-day dry-aged prime to choose from in these markets. Still, knowing that the meat is fresh every day, cut and trimmed in the morning and sold by that afternoon is somewhat comforting. Plus it is incredibly enjoyable to me to watch a butcher at work. Something about the way they manage to expertly carve up the huge carcasses into useful pieces with so little waste is impressive. And I’ve seen plenty of the “other” bits out on display in the markets here so it is clear that very little goes to waste. Seeing that stuff out and being purchased is lots of fun.
I’m sure that I’d be just as bad shopping in these markets as I am in the other parts of the souks. I suppose it is a good thing that all my meals have been prepared for me on this trip rather than having to source and cook myself.
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