Ladies and gentlemen it’s Voices From the Fog! Welcome to the history of curing meat brought to you by Volpi Foods. Curing is a natural process harnessed by humans to preserve meat. You take a hunk of meat, salt the bejesus out of it, hang it to dry for a long period and bada-boom prosciutto! Well it’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s basically it.

So there was a guy named Cato The Elder who lived in the mid-third century B.C. which is basically negative 250 B.C. a point in time in which everyone was saying to themselves “I don’t know what we’re counting down to but the suspense is killing me”. Cato wasn’t just some wise old man, he was a military leader and powerful political figure known for censorship and his disdain of the overindulgent and hedonistic. But besides being kind of a prude about everything, he wrote things down from his farming manual, De Agricultura. He left a recipe from his ancestors simple past.

Volpi Family History

Cato The Elder’s Secret Recipe:

  1. After buying legs of pork cut off the feet 
  2. 1/2 peck ground Roman salt per ham 
  3. Spread the salt in the base of a vat or jar 
  4. Then place a ham with the skin facing downwards 
  5. Cover completely with salt 
  6. After standing in salt for 5 days, take all hams out with the salt 
  7. Put those that were above below and so rearrange and replace 
  8. After a total of 12 days, take out the hams, clean off the salt and hang in the fresh air for 2 days 
  9. On the third day, take down and rub all over with oil 
  10. Hang in smoke for two days
  11. Take down and rub all over with a mixture of oil and vinegar and hang in the meat store (neither moths nor worms will attack it)

No flowery language necessary. It sounds delicious and has been a hit ever since. So after dying in his mid-80s, which is basically like living to be 300 years old today, Cato The Elder was eventually succeeded by heirs including Cato The Younger (who was undoubtedly given the least inventive name ever). While Cato The Younger has no such reputation in culinary prowess, he is famous for hating Caesars reign so much that he tried to commit suicide unsuccessfully with a sword only to finish the hack job by pulling his own guts out while the doctor was trying to sew him up. Hey Kaito! Take a cue from Brutus and point the pointy end at Caesar… Come on.

Volpi Foods — American crafted since 1902.

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