Charcuterie originated from the French term ‘chair cuit’ which translates as ‘cooked meat’. Charcuterie is known around the world and is considered to be the art and science of the pig. Charcuterie is an ancient art that began nearly 6,000 years ago (Amiotte, 2007). Charcuterie became popular during the Roman Empire when food started to become sophisticated. Charcuterie was extremely popular in France during the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages, France started many different varieties of meatloaves, sausages, and cured items that were prepared and sold in meat shops.
These shops were known as charcutiers. These shops were owned and operated by people called charcutiers (Amiotte, 2007). Charcutiers needed to know how to season and cook delicious food, but they also needed to present the food in a way that would attract customers who walked by their shops. In the late 1400’s and the early 1500’s, food related illnesses and diseases became an epidemic in France. The French government had to maintain a strict separation between fisheries, slaughterhouses, butchers, and charcuteries to avoid cross contamination (Smith, 2012).
The decision of separation made by the government made the charcutiers very upset because the regulations kept the slaughtering of animals and fish away from meat markets and the charcutiers had to depend on the suppliers for product. Charcutiers were outraged at the situation the government had put them in since they now had to pay more for their supplies. The price of supplies went along with supply and demand, which did not always do well with the charcutiers (Amiotte, 2007).
Their ability to slaughter and process their own animals, allowed them to control their supply and costs, had now been taken away from them along with their ability to create different food item. The government finally decided to allow the charcutiers to sell salted herring and other types of fish during Lent when meat products were prohibited, in an attempt to quiet them (Samuel, 2011). Government regulations were finally eased in the 1600’s and charcuteries were allowed to slaughter their own animals for processing.
Charcutiers began experimenting with different meats and fowl, resulting in new and different foods for customers to purchase. It also created a competition between the charcutiers, causing them to boost their culinary skills in order to present the best possible food products for their customers (Smith, 2012). The popular products and processes of the French Charcutiers spread to France’s neighboring regions. Frankfurt, Germany for example, became famous for the ‘Frankfurter’, a smoked sausage; a hot dog is an American version of the Frankfurter served in a bun. Genoa Salami’ and ‘Bologna’ were produced in Genoa and Bologna, Italy (Amiotte, 2007). Travelers from Europe to the United States brought the techniques they had learned with them and they applied them to the natural resources they discovered. Pennsylvania became famously known for its sausage preparation. Virginia was known for its fabulous cured and smoked hams. Eventually, all throughout the states, everyone had their own variation of the classic meatloaf (Bree, 2012). The authentic European regional specialties and the more recent American creations have lasted throughout the years.
These food items are still available for consumers in any local or regional supermarkets, 400 to 500 years later. This incredible assortment of cooked, cured and stuffed meats, poultry and fish make up the culinary arts field of garde manger called charcuterie (Doherty, 2001). References Amiotte, C. (2007, January 30). The History of Charcuterie. Yahoo Voices. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://voices. yahoo. com/the-history-charcuterie-179536. html? cat=16 Bree (2012, March 31). Brief History of Charcuterie. SlideServe.
Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://www. slideserve. com/bree/brief-history-of-charcuterie Doherty, A. (2001). Charcuterie The History. Garde Manger. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://www. gardemanger. com/charcuterie. html Samuel (2011, September 20). Introduction to Charcuterie. SlideServe. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://www. slideserve. com/Samuel/introduction-to-charcuterie Smith, S. E. (2012, February 29). What is Charcuterie?. wisegeek. Retrieved May 28, 2012, from http://www. wisegeek. com/what-is-charcuterie. htm