Looking for dog bones, I got lost in the meat department of a supermarket whose initials aren't important. Quizzically frustrated and confused, I asked the person wearing a butcher's smock if the store sold shank bones.
I'm pretty sure the guy in the butcher's smock wasn't half as sharp as the idle butcher's bandsaw in the background. After giving me a look that was as dull and blank as shrink-wrapped sirloin, he said he didn't know.
A customer came to my rescue. He pointed to bags of sawed-up bones in the freezer section, near the pizzas, lasagnas and enchilada dinners.
That day, I began sniffing out butchers who would sell my dog a bone, or at least cut one to the size my dog likes best.
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Which got me to sniffing out butchers who will custom cut the meat I want. Paper-thin cuts of carpaccio? Frenched rack of lamb? A strip of skirt steak that Paula Dean could wrap around her waist?
I'll write my report later this month. Until then, tell me what you want from a butcher -- besides good meat, years of experience and friendly, knowledgeable service.