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Cure (Not So) Simple



At the photographer's studio, charcuterie awaits its beauty shot.

This is how we do things at 7x7. Or rather, how I do them. When I’m drumming up stories, I always get excited. First, I think big—no, huge! Like, for our December issue, we’re going to do a story on the city’s charcuterie trend that’s going to kick Gourmet’s ass: It’s going to be a comprehensive glossary of every single slice of salami ever invented, plus terrines and cured meats, with gorgeous photos to accompany. There will be a guide to every single restaurant in town that has a good charcuterie program, and while I’m at it, I’m going to do a sidebar, psychoanalyzing why males chefs here have become obsessed with the making of salami (some might say, well, duh) and then maybe we’ll look at the history of charcuterie and then…

And then, well, we have four pages to fit it all into and it’s due in maybe 2 weeks, and I remember I have children, and a life, and well, things all come into perspective.



More and more and more salumi—and this isn't the half of it.

But still, if you turn to page 100 in December’s issue (or click here), you’ll see our story and I’ll tell you that that little four-pager was a beast. I had Roxanne Webber, our former editorial assistant (who I’m proud to say was just hired at Chow.com), researching every type of charcuterie for the glossary and we had to call in salumi from five restaurants, go and pick it up (which entailed Sasha, our current editorial assistant, having her car battery die twice, which meant she left her car running during every pick up), load it all into a huge cooler to get it to my house, at which point I had to empty my entire refrigerator to make room for it all until the next day when I got to the photographer’s studio.

By the time I was done styling all the charcuterie for the shoot, three-quarters of which we couldn’t even use (it took being faced with pounds and pounds of salami for me to realize that if you’ve seen one sliced coin of fatty, cured pig, you’ve kind of seen them all), Noel’s studio smelled to the high heavens and my hands were extremely lardy and I never wanted to eat anything resembling charcuterie again. (Well, at least for a week or two.) And then I still had to write the story.

For more on the trials and tribulations of charcuterie shoots, click here. I got the chance to break down a whole pig and make headcheese with a chef in town, and let's just say these photos are the least graphic ones we had to choose from. But in the day of Anthony Bordain, I figure it's nuthin': The pig was dead on arrival.