We have a new butcher shop in my area called Bill the Butcher. William Von Schneidau is a master butcher and professional chef who says his mission is to bring truly great meat back to the neighborhood. He sells local, grass-fed, dry-aged meats, free range poultry and eggs, natural pork, wild seafood and house made bacon, pate, and sausages. He also features dairy products from a local creamery that come in glass bottles (with a hefty deposit) and fine wines and cheeses. Every time I’ve been there, the tiny shop has been filled with customers; sometimes the line goes out the door. There is always a tray of sausages to sample so you can try out his latest creations. I stock up on his wonderful bacon whenever I’m in the area. I had forgotten how good real bacon tastes.
(Commercial bacon is made into a uniform block with every portion exactly the same so it will fit in a preprinted package and match what the label says. They get it that way by plumping it with water and chemicals. That’s why you get a pan full of water, which has to cook off before the bacon starts to sizzle. Bill’s bacon comes in irregular shapes and pieces, custom sliced, and wrapped in white paper. It cooks up crisp and meaty and provides a generous supply of precious drippings to use for frying and for flavoring other dishes. And no water.)
Bill’s shop feels like a time warp. I imagine this is what it was like in the old days, when you could drop in and chat with a real butcher and get advice and cooking directions. You can even ask exactly which farm supplied your supper and when and where your eggs were laid.
I know how lucky I am to be able to shop at Bill’s, but there is a new awareness spreading throughout the country about the importance of having good, natural, healthful food. I have a great deal of admiration for those merchants who dare to open small-scale businesses like this one. If you have such shops where you live, patronize them and appreciate them. If not, take comfort in knowing that they probably will be coming in the near future.
Bill says: “We sell only locally sourced and ethically raised meat, poultry and wild seafood that will give you professional restaurant quality results at home. Our meat will make you wonder why you have ever settled for inferior “production” meat in the supermarket and your family will rave at the difference.”
Bill the Butcher 12637 N.E. Woodinville Drive
Woodinville, Washington 98072
Open 12-7 pm everyday
I am now required to disclose that I have received no compensation for the above review. Nada, zip, nothing, not even a hot dog! (Well I do get the free samples, but everyone does.)