RADIO PRODUCER AND WRITER
Between 2011 and 2013, Brandon Sheard and Andrew Plotsky made three instructional cooking videos titled, collectively, “On the Anatomy of Thrift.” In these videos, which have been viewed 144,000 times total to date, jazzy music plays in the background as Sheard makes pork chops, rillettes, pâté, head cheese, and blood sausage. Ingredients are laid out on a heavy wooden cutting board, arranged as if for a still life painting. The scenes are artfully composed, economical, and captivating. Plotsky and Sheard are often seen laughing or smiling; they seem to be having fun.
But the jaunty aesthetic of the videos belies some of the content, which many people would find shocking. At the start of one of these videos, Sheard, who is the owner and operator of Farmstead Meatsmith, stands over a hefty black pig and swipes an X over its forehead with his index finger. He crouches down, lining up his rifle as the pig gobbles up food in a trough, and shoots it between the eyes. The pig bleeds out of the hole in its head, and then is hung over a barrel. These videos aren’t just entertaining demos of thrifty cooking—they contain graphic images of a pig being slaughtered, eviscerated, and butchered.