By top female butcher at London’s acclaimed Ginger Pig, a memoir of coming of age behind the counter, exploring butchery as an art form and taking an incisive look at an industry on the brink.
When sixteen-year-old Jessica Wragg applied for a job at the local farm shop in her hometown of Chesterfield, England, she never expected to land a position behind the all-male butchery counter. Young and enthusiastic, and fueled by a newfound fascination with the craft, Wragg quickly found herself the ultimate outsider among seasoned experts who spoke a secret language to fool customers and who were reluctant to share the tricks of their trade with a novice.
A decade later, against all odds, Wragg is a rising star in an industry that is steeped in tradition, and often problematically set in its ways. Like her female counterparts in the restaurant world, she has had to fight to establish herself in the meat industry, memorizing muscle and bone and tendon, while battling sexism and ageism, and returning home with blood on her boots at the end of fourteen-hour days.
Wragg blends her personal journey with a rich history of butchery and a lyrical exploration of the sanctity of her craft. She also takes a clear-eyed look at the contemporary meat industry, as readers accompany her from butchering her first carcass to navigating the ever-changing ideologies around ethical meat consumption. Girl on the Block is a raw, rollicking tour through one of one of the world’s oldest, dirtiest, and most fascinating professions.