In 2017, Tre Torri Publishers teamed up with food magazine “Beef!” to debut the volume “Raw.” I myself was responsible for the nearly 100-page introduction. It covered the history of food processing, techniques for preserving food, the renaissance of raw food as a Weltanschauung, and the use of raw products in contemporary culinary art. Together with such tangible topics as an overview of beneficial and harmful microorganisms, as well as Tips for kitchen equipment, purchasing and hygiene. This year, the volume has been republished in the renowned Teubner Edition. Here is an excerpt from the detailed introduction:
Raw Delicacies from around the World
“Raw fruits and vegetables have been able to retain their place in everyday cooking. Not least thanks to the raw food movement. Raw animal foods, on the other hand, do not have an easy standing in our civilization, which is concerned about hygiene. This is not only because raw meat was considered barbaric in high cuisine. And most raw foodists, in turn, do not have a very good opinion of animal food. But of course also because the dangers lurking in spoiled raw meat and animal products, in raw fish or seafood, are actually much greater than in rotten fruit or vegetables.
Yet a wide variety of raw eating practices have survived into our own time. First and foremost, of course, where meat and fish are truly fresh, that is, directly from the sea or immediately after slaughter. However, raw, untreated fish was never very popular in Europe. It has actually only found its way into Western kitchens thanks to sushi and sashimi.
Not much older is the tradition of eating raw fish roe, i.e. caviar – preferably from sturgeon, of course. It only came to Western Europe after the opening up of Russia by rail and the introduction of closed cold chains, i.e. at the end of the 19th century. Today, after the overfishing of stocks in the Caspian Sea, caviar may also come from salmon, trout, and even herring. Unfortunately, many caviar qualities are sold pasteurized and heavily salted. A specialty, probably originating from the Arabs, not only in Sardinia, is bottarga, the salted and dried roe of the mullet.
Even much older is the tradition of eating shellfish raw. In fact, numerous varieties of shellfish, such as cockles or clams, but sea snails like the limpets or the rare abalones, are exquisite to enjoy raw. Not to mention the beloved oysters. But the sea has also become dirtier. Or in other words: microbially contaminated. That’s why “wild goods” can quickly become infected. Therefore, only cultivated oysters from special farms, where the water is constantly purified, are commercially sold. The situation is not much different for shrimps and crustaceans, which are also a great delicacy raw. But only the best origins promise carefree enjoyment even in raw goods.
Until a few years ago, however, raw pork, or “Mett,” was ubiquitous in Germany. The term is said to have been used in Old Saxon, more than a thousand years ago. “Meti” then simply meant “food” – no wonder Germans have a special reputation as pork eaters. The jazzed up, i.e. seasoned, version, the Hackepeter, is said to have been invented in 1903 in Berlin’s Gasthof Martin on Landsberger Strasse. As Mettigel or Hackepeterschwein, it was the centerpiece of the unforgettable party buffets in the 1970s.
In other parts of the country, dishes with raw beef or lamb are just as traditional. Biblical times are fondly remembered for the origins of kibbe nayé, an Arabic tartare of lamb or veal with shredded wheat, lamb fat, mint and basil. Not much younger are the Ethiopian specialties kitfo (raw scraped meat with mint, clarified butter, and a chili-dominated marinade) and gored gored (raw diced, unmarinated), and the Turkish Çiğ Köfte with cumin and coriander …”
Raw. Dörren, Fermentieren, Pökeln & Beizen (in German)
With an introduction by Stefan Pegatzky
208 pages, size: 22 x 28 cm, hardcover, numerous illustrations
© Photos: Tre Torri Publishing House