by Joanna Shaw Flamm
Tom Mylan, this is an intervention. We care about you, and we just don’t want to see you get hurt. The things you’ve been writing recently in Gilt Taste have really got us worried. For example:
“At this very moment I have 150 close-up, black and white pictures of bull testicles in my library.”
We know you have an obsessive personality, and we fans of The Meat Hook — your Williamsburg-based temple to locally/sustainably/humanely produced meats — have benefitted from your devotion to detail, your dedication to sustainable sourcing, and your commitment to taste. But recently your thoughts have turned to farming, and from what you’ve told Gilt Taste, it’s just getting worse.
“I thought the farming thing might be a phase. My wife hoped it was a phase. We both figured that I’d shake it off and settle back into butchery, maybe with a thing on the side with opening restaurants or something to keep the wandering mind occupied.
“Then we actually did open a restaurant with some friends, a place for great burgers and hot dogs. I was hopeful as we worked in the space, scraping decades of grease off the concrete floors…I was completely absorbed, at peace even, as I was snaking mouse dropping-caked drains. A few weeks later, exhausted but exhilarated, I found myself planted in a deck chair, staring at the sea in front of our newly-opened place, and there it was. The thought. All the triumph and sea air couldn’t keep it at bay: ‘Wouldn’t it be so much cooler if we raised the animals for the burgers and dogs?’”
Here’s the thing, Tom: we support you. You’re right–farming is incredibly important, and complex, and fascinating, and we could use more people like you raising animals the right way…for us to eat. Your idea for a “breeding, research and teaching farm” is genius, and we can’t wait to see what it becomes. So we’re intervening between you and your doubts. Go forth and farm, Tom Mylan. Just make sure there’s someone behind The Meat Hook counter while you’re gone.