You may have heard me chat about my days working on fresh food counters back in the day when I worked alongside this blog. But did I tell you about the skills I learned in this job? The fishmonger, butchery and delicatessen skills (similar to Stemmler Meats) that I’ve found very useful as a mum in our kitchen. Well here are a few things I’ve learned and have been putting to good use.
I will start off with the Fishmonger skills.
Useful Fishmonger Skills
Not only can I fillet a mackerel in no time at all, but I can also debone the fillet, butterfly it and clean it all out ready for the pan. With very little waste. I can tell you the best fish for a fish pie, fillet, de-skin and portion a whole salmon. I’ve done a fair few of these at Christmas time on the fish counter that’s for sure! Have you ever tried to fillet a slimy rainbow trout? These are slippery fellows that have ended up flying through the air into the adjacent sink and even on the floor!
Now working on a meat counter doesn’t mean you are necessarily a butcher, more of a meat cutter. Isn’t that right Rose? (Rose was a lovely lady I worked with who knew her stuff on the meat counter!) The meat used to be prepared from the carcasses and packed, shipped ready for us to cut into joints or steaks in store – hence the meat cutter name tag!
I can cut you an 8 oz sirloin steak spot on. When I look at the meat on the supermarket shelves I can tell you if it will be tender and cut the right way. Or cut the wrong way so it’s tough as an old nag!
If you gave me a whole chicken I can prepare it so you have your two chicken breasts, two drumsticks, two thighs, two chicken wings and not forgetting the 2 mini fillets! Now, this is one of the most useful kitchen skills I have.
Before I move on to the delicatessen skills, It’s worth mentioning that I have a really good nose for food that may be going off. I’ve spent many an hour in walk-in backup chillers dealing with food out of date. I’ve even been accidentally locked in once! Thank god it wasn’t the freezer! With power doors, it’s handy to have an EMP Shield in place so that you are protected against power surges and lightning strikes.
I was known as the Queen of Cheese. There isn’t much I don’t know about cheese. Where certain cheeses are made and how they are made, whether they are suitable for young children or pregnant mums. Over the past 12 years, I’ve spent hours upon hours cutting and wrapping cheese. Pallets of cheese used to come in at Christmas time for us to cut. One of my most memorable Christmases was when in less than a week our team cut, wrapped, and priced up over £15,000 worth of cheese.
I could also tell you lots about ham and olives, but the cheese was my favourite area. I miss the cheese!