We have more food blogs, "foodie" Facebook pages and look-what-I'm-eating-now Twitter accounts than we could ever possibly read, assuming we wanted to. What could we be missing? Guilds.
The real, straightforward, 16th century baker-brewer-butcher kind. The sort of thing you really want to join, like the new online national Butcher's Guild that launched last month, but you can't. You know, because sometimes memberships go deeper than a click of a button. You have to be invited. Yeah, Lindy and Grundy are charter members. They go by their real names here: Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura. Turn the page...
Still in its nascent stages, the guild is heavy on big city butchers - the co-founder is from San Francisco. There are also some old school butchers whom we like to imagine don't make "appearances" at events or have thousands of Twitter followers. The hard-core meat sorts you expect might have stood up in that 16th century town hall meeting and said (politely, back then), "Hell no, we are not making finely ground beef. Take our 1-inch chuck or leave it."
There is (no surprise) already a butcher hall of fame with its first inductee: Gregg Rentfrow, an University of Kentucky professor and "extension meat specialist." (We're not quite sure what that means, but that's half the charm, isn't it?) We are then told that "Dr. Gregg not only possesses immense knowledge of meat science but the personable and approachable way in which he shares it... everything from great information about the effect of bandsaws on myoglobin to the best jokes we heard all weekend." Yeah, these are brisket, and apparently, bandsaw, geeks who are having plenty of medium-rare fun posting about Mark Zuckerberg's sudden slaughterhouse coming of age (the guild has extended him a invitation to join -- we presume as an "eater").
The rest of us are able to join as "Eaters" -- the $75 annual membership is a pretty great value as it includes an artisan steak, a package of bacon, and a hilarious Butcher's Guild apron and shopping bag). Or, there is an online store with rather pricey hoodies and things. Hey, it's all for a good ground beef cause. We're happy to be invited to the guild table.