Nagy Géza – butcher

by admin on 03/10/2019

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We went to the the butchery of Nagy Géza, which looked liked any house from the outside. After about 80 visits to small-scale producers in Romania, the one thing they have in common is that they are unpretentious.

Having entered, we were led to a room where three men were cutting up pig’s meat with knives. Surprisingly, they didn’t wear gloves. In fact, there was nothing that protected them them against severe cuts!. When I asked my guide about it, the man in in charge said that they only would use safety gloves if they had to. Fortunately, they hadn’t had any accidents so far.

Cutting meat with razor-sharp knives, working methodically in silence, everybody knowing exactly what to do, they made it look easy, but that was because they were so good at it. One tragicomic thing about this was that there wasn’t even a first-aid kit where they were working, while the women, who were preparing food, had one!

All the premises looked clean, there were tiles on the floor and on the lower part of the walls. Likewise, the workers wore clean clothes and clean aprons.

Thighs of pigs were hanging from the ceiling and the workers were cutting them up, sorting meat and fat into plastic boxes. The skin was put in a separate box, fat in another one, the best meat was separated, while the lowest quality meat was for sausages. Separating bones and meat was done quickly and easily.

They have to work hard to satisfy demand because many people like their products even though they can buy cheaper meat products from big factories.

The boss learnt the trade from his grandfather and his brother. In fact, he was part of a family who had been butchers for generations.

Those who want to be butchers need to start when they are about 16 years old. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any apprentices at the moment. In general, adolescents don’t want to do this type of work. There is a training course for budding butchers, but it is difficult for beginners.

Now they can buy equipment like special knives in a shop nearby, but before it was difficult to get the knives they needed. Likewise, before they didn’t have a refrigerated car, but they have one now. They deliver meat products to customers within a 60km radius.

The nearest slaughterhouse is 60 to 70 km away.

There are 8 workers here and it is a family company. They want to expand it and turn a former barn into a butchery.

One of the workers work here part-time, else he works as an organist and sings in a church. The other one has small children, boy and girl, but they are too small to work here. He will try to persuade them as they get older. The wife and daughter of the boss work in the kitchen.

There is one big butchery with which they have good relations. The owner of another butchery died, one of his workers have bought it and wants to run it. Else, there are plenty of small producers, who operate illegally. They slaughter a pig and cut it up at once in an ad-hoc operation.

Before, the man in charge worked with cow and calf meat, but not any more. Now, he only works with pig’s meat and he doesn’t want to mix types of meat. He doesn’t like horse meat and he doesn’t want to work with it. Some of the villagers ask him to cut up sheep or cows, but he does it only for them and never under his brand name.

They have a smoke room for smoking their products and a cooler room for storage. They let the meat mature for a month by hanging from meat hooks in the cooler rooms. This is costly for the butcher, but good for the quality of the meat.

Some meat products are smoked and some are dried and smoked.

Moreover, some meat was lying in brine where the salt in the brine enters the food leading to that bacteria are killed.

They make meat products like salami, bacon, black pudding, cold cuts, sausages and ham.

Before we left, the man in charge kindly served us a collection of their products. Black pudding was not for me, else it was delicious.

butcher

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