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Righteous Pate at Tallahassee’s New Leaf Market?

New Leaf Market in Tallahassee has become amazing: a local cooperative grocery store with shelves loaded down with delicious wholesome foods, including Nieman Ranch meat, organic wine, local oranges, yummy packaged goods — you name it.

New Leaf now has wine tastings on Friday night. The first time we went to a wine tasting at New Leaf, some months back, it was supermarket wine. Very sad. There was a long pause, they renovated, and a week ago some burly guy with tattoos was chatting me up about Cote du Rhone. I thought, this place is arriving.

When we asked where the pates were, the same burly guy paused. “We’re looking for pates that are good to eat,” he said very carefully. “Organic, good sources…”

I know exactly what he means. I even had to stop myself (I told myself it was the Cote du Rhone talking) from volunteering to make a pate for Burly Guy this weekend that would represent what he was looking for. (I have this hunch Burly Guy is pretty high-placed in New Leaf.) I knew it would take a little more time than this to line up the right sources, and I’m off to Norcross this Sunday. But even as he was talking, my brain was running over the ingredients — a little humanely-grown pork, some juniper seeds, some regional chicken, and could we find a rabbit..?

If you think “pate” means a dish made from grossly engorged bird livers, you need some edumakayshun. (I have an essay in the crucible about my first and last experience with foie gras — a phrase that literally means “fatty liver,” which for humans is a chronic disease.) “Pate” is not a synonym for a meat spread made from animal liver. It’s a dish that relies on bits and pieces of flavorful meat, lots of fat, spices, attention, and patience. Pate is both rustic — found in burgs worldwide — and chic, the epitome of gastronome noshery.

If you’re exploring meat that is local/sustainable/humane/seasonal, pate to me seems to be a natural objective — a way to preserve great meat so you can experience it at least a little beyond its season. The two cookbooks that come to mind are Fancy Pantry and my venerable 1961 New York Times Cookbook.

I have a lot of work to do between now and mid-December, but after that, I’m hoping to have at least two or three cooking sessions that produce my efforts at Righteous Pate: a delectable comestible based on animals who had mostly pretty good days except for their last ones — a dish that represents food production and consumption patterns that are sustainable, respectful of our planet, and forward our planet’s global interests.

If you can recommend sources for Righteous Pate, I’m all about it — not just the meat, but the spices, fats, and even the cooking materials.

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