What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Meat Men is a reality series about butchers that centers on a group of rather rough-edged blue collar men who wield knives and other sharp instruments. Thus the show has the (bleeped) four-letter words and potential for occasional injuries one might expect. That said, discussions of various cuts and types of meat and how they taste and are cooked are rather fascinating in both an aesthetic and scientific sense, and budding chefs may be quite interested to learn what, say, a cut of brisket adds to a dish as opposed to a sirloin. In addition, a peek inside a thriving family business, with family members who seem to like each other and work well together, can teach both kids and adults something about the value of cooperating for a shared goal.
What's the story?
MEAT MEN focuses on New Jersey butchers Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, a business being run by the third generation of the LaFrieda family. With his crew of butchers and the help of dad Pat LaFrieda and cousin Mark Pastore, Pat LaFrieda Jr. takes on daily business challenges like grinding a unique blend of beef for a chef's name brand $26 hamburger. LaFrieda Jr. explains to the viewer what various cuts of meat bring to the table, how they should be cooked, how they are aged, and other technical details on meat while he's solving his business problems, producing a show that's short on trumped up reality-show drama and long on matters of interest to budding or experienced foodies.
Is it any good?
The LaFriedas and their compatriots are mostly appealing and admirably experienced and educated about meat. Some parents may not appreciate the frequent (bleeped) cursing and non-stop ribbing, but the depth of information on meat and how it's cut and prepared is very interesting to cooks, new or long-time.
The restaurant world can be a macho one and that's evident on Meat Men. But the subject matter is distinct and unique enough to rate this a watch, particularly for those who like other cooking or reality shows about business, like Cake Boss or Deadliest Catch.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why Pat LaFrieda often insults his employees. Is he being serious or playful? Why do you think he calls his male employees "ladies" or "Girl Scouts"? Does it bother you that merely calling a man female is considered an insult?
Is it interesting to watch where the meat you eat comes from and what it looks like when it's closer to its natural form? Does it make you want to eat more meat? Or less? Does the blood gross you out? Could you cut your own meat? Slaughter your own animals?
The three main characters on the show are a father, son, and a cousin. Are there any family members you'd like to go into business with? What aspects of your family make the idea of a family business appealing or not?