Gentleman Scholar

The Gentleman Butcher

Carve with confidence on Easter, Passover, or any other night of the year.

Troy Patterson.
Troy Patterson.

Photo by Christina Paige

Some of us men, when searching the shelves at the hardware store and searching for the words to describe the doohickey we guess we need to fix the thing on the thing, feel unmanned. Other fellows feel their personal value sink in direct proportion to their hearts as they stand cluelessly at the auto shop and try to find a rhythm for nodding their heads to fake agreement with the mechanic’s opinion on the timing belt. More than a few approach the butcher’s counter with butterflies in their bellies, wondering which cuts are kindest and what beasts are best and whether they, in their ignorance, will be played for suckers. We dedicate the videos below to this third group.

We begin at Fleisher’s with head butcher Paul Nessel, who demonstrates the proper range of knives for home butcher and carver and explains the finer points of cooking and carving brisket, a Passover staple.

Moving across the hyphen in the Judeo-Christian tradition, we debone and butterfly a leg of lamb, a classic Easter centerpiece.

Next, Paul elucidates how to carve a ham, a seasonal favorite since the days when the celebration of Easter was the celebration of Eostre, goddess of the dawn.

Finally—just because we already had the recording equipment set up, and why not?—we made Paul cut a whole chicken into parts, which will come in handy once all your Easter and Passover leftovers are a thing of the past.

Chow down!