Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Olympia Provisions: Cured Meats and Tales from an American Charcuterie by Elias Cairo & Meredith Erickson Review



A rigorous exploration of what American charcuterie is today from Portland’s top-notch meat company, featuring in-depth techniques for crafting cured meats, recipes from the company’s two restaurants, and essays revealing the history and personalities behind the brand.

Portland’s Olympia Provisions began as Oregon’s first USDA-certified salumeria, but it has grown into a mini-empire, with two bustling restaurants and charcuterie shipping out daily to all fifty states. In his debut cookbook, salumist and co-owner Elias Cairo dives deep into his distinctly American charcuterie, offering step-by-step recipes for confits, pâtés, sausages, salami, and more. But that is only the beginning. Writer Meredith Erickson takes you beyond cured meat, exploring how Cairo’s proud Greek-American upbringing, Swiss cooking adventures, and intense love affair with the outdoors have all contributed to Olympia Provisions’ singular—and delicious—point of view. With recipes from the restaurants, as well as extensive wine notes and nineteen frankfurter variations, Olympia Provisions redefines what American charcuterie can be.

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I received this book complimentary. 

Cassandra's Review-  This is very informative with great pictures to help relate to the authors.  The stories are very nice to read.  There are a few recipes in between, but the main focus for me was the more graphic and down to it, pictures of livestock being butchered and prepared.  My children on the other hand did not like to look at the book because of how detailed it is.  If you need to make your own special meats this is a great way to learn. 

Elias Cairo
Elias Cairo was born in Salt Lake City to a big food-loving Greek family, who loved to butcher lamb and goats utilizing old world preparations and preservation techniques, thus setting the foundation for his lifelong fascination with meat. 

Elias started cooking at a young age in his father's restaurants, and at the age of twenty began a European trade apprenticeship in Switzerland, where for over four years he was taught classic techniques of cooking, butchery, and charcuterie by European renowned Executive Chef Annegret Schlumpf. During that time, he also attended Berufsschule in Wattwil, Switzerland for formal culinary education. Upon completion of his apprenticeship and schooling, Cairo moved to Kos, Greece where he apprenticed in a hotel kitchen and was responsible for developing menu items based on what farmers and fishermen brought him daily.

Upon returning to the United States, he headed to Portland, Oregon, lured by the city's growing reputation for cultivating and nurturing culinary talent. He took a line cook position at venerable Castagna restaurant, working his way up to the position of sous chef in less than a year, and eventually earning the title of Executive Chef. In summer 2009, Elias left Castagna to start Oregon's first USDA certified meat-curing facility, Olympic Provisions, which is also a European-style restaurant and deli. 

When he's not curing meat and trying new foods, Elias spends much of his free time in the Great Outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, fly fishing and rock climbing. His adventurous spirit has seen him through many adventures both local and worldwide.


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