The Butcher

The Callous Use Of An Artists’ Title To Describe A Murderer

I usually feel pretty depressed when I read the morning newspaper (murder, corruption, war, disease). This morning was different. This morning I was disappointed

“48 hrs after Peshawar, 26/11 butcher walks” — the jarring Times of India headline read.

We do live in a terrorist haunted world and the past couple of days in Peshawar and Sydney have been mortifying.

What I can’t seem to comprehend is why anyone, (yes, including the oxford dictionary), would use the terms “butcher” and “cold-blooded-heartless-murderer” interchangeably.

A butcher is a person whose trade is cutting up and selling meat in a shop and the art of butchery isn’t as simple as its definition. Butchery is our civilizations’ oldest and reputed professions. If you remember a few history lessons, there were hunter-gatherers before agriculturalists. A butcher does not just need to know how to cull an animal correctly and assess appropriate time for rigor mortis, but the profession requires to cutting the meat to minimize waste and understand the quality of each part so it can be cooked appropriately. A butcher knows how and when to salt, smoke and cure meat to perfect deliciousness. Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto Cotto, Mortadella, Pancetta, Soppressata; an example of Italy’s fine butchery tradition exported world over. Butchers formed guilds in the medieviel times. Strict apprenticeships were offered and the profession was revered.

A butcher is an artist. If you don’t believe me, Dario Cecchini’s talk at MAD 3 on the importance of craft, of love and of respecting the animals we consume is an incredible watch! The passion with which he quotes Dante in the last few minutes is powerful.

Coming back to my point. There is so much more to a butcher than some people think. A butcher doesn’t ruthlessly kill animals, and that title should not be linked with terrorism and murder.

We need to look beyond industrialized meat processing and see the traditional butcher who understands quality and ethics of meat processing and creates an artisan product of exquisite flavour and culinary distinction not of violence and murder.

A butcher is Dario Cecchini and not Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.