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Butchery’s history

Image by Rick Geary

Heymatt:

Supposedly, butchers are supposed to retire after a set amount of years (10, 15, 20?) because they’re otherwise highly prone to mental problems, i.e. they go crazy. I’ve snooped around a little but have not found anything to support the idea.

— Jeremy, Manhattan, NY, via email

This is only true if gang members — who suicidally chug soda and eat Pop Rocks — also kill you when you flash your lights at them as you’re driving to the hospital because someone removed one of your kidneys and left you in an ice bath.

You see what I did there? I’m a regular mythbuster!

But, seriously, butchery is a perfectly respectable profession that’s becoming somewhat hip in the post–Food Network era of gastrosensible, locavore foodies. Here in San Diego we have independent butcher shops that somehow weathered years of stiff competition from supermarkets and have emerged downright triumphant, especially when holidays come around and everyone and his sister wants a turducken.

Recent archaeological finds have suggested that butchery in its most basic form goes back to long before the time of modern humans, perhaps as much as 3.5 million years! Fossilized animal bones from the time of Australopithecus have been found that indicate the primitive proto-men used stone tools to remove flesh from the bones of dead animals — nearly a million years before we thought the conventional Stone Age began. People joke about “the world’s oldest profession,” but the correct answer might be “butcher.”

In slightly more recent history, a British butcher shop owned by the Balson family has been open since 1535; an astonishing 477 years ago! Since they’ve never closed, they’re officially the oldest business in the UK. After 25 generations in the same business, that one family has been cutting meat more than twice as long as the United States has been a country.

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Image by Rick Geary

Heymatt:

Supposedly, butchers are supposed to retire after a set amount of years (10, 15, 20?) because they’re otherwise highly prone to mental problems, i.e. they go crazy. I’ve snooped around a little but have not found anything to support the idea.

— Jeremy, Manhattan, NY, via email

This is only true if gang members — who suicidally chug soda and eat Pop Rocks — also kill you when you flash your lights at them as you’re driving to the hospital because someone removed one of your kidneys and left you in an ice bath.

You see what I did there? I’m a regular mythbuster!

But, seriously, butchery is a perfectly respectable profession that’s becoming somewhat hip in the post–Food Network era of gastrosensible, locavore foodies. Here in San Diego we have independent butcher shops that somehow weathered years of stiff competition from supermarkets and have emerged downright triumphant, especially when holidays come around and everyone and his sister wants a turducken.

Recent archaeological finds have suggested that butchery in its most basic form goes back to long before the time of modern humans, perhaps as much as 3.5 million years! Fossilized animal bones from the time of Australopithecus have been found that indicate the primitive proto-men used stone tools to remove flesh from the bones of dead animals — nearly a million years before we thought the conventional Stone Age began. People joke about “the world’s oldest profession,” but the correct answer might be “butcher.”

In slightly more recent history, a British butcher shop owned by the Balson family has been open since 1535; an astonishing 477 years ago! Since they’ve never closed, they’re officially the oldest business in the UK. After 25 generations in the same business, that one family has been cutting meat more than twice as long as the United States has been a country.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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