Magazine article The New Yorker

THE MEAT DOCTOR DEPT. OF PROCUREMENT Series: 5/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

THE MEAT DOCTOR DEPT. OF PROCUREMENT Series: 5/5

Article excerpt

Most weekdays, Sol Forman ate both lunch and dinner at the legendary steakhouse Peter Luger, which was situated across the street from a metalworking factory he owned, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. In 1950, the restaurant's owners put the place up for auction, and Forman--afraid that his principal source of nutrition was about to disappear--submitted what turned out to be the only bid. Initially, looking after his factory prevented him from devoting as much time to the restaurant as he would have liked, so the task of procuring well-marbled protein fell to his wife, Marsha. She hired a retired government grader to tutor her, discovered that she had a talent for judging beef, and became a beloved figure in Manhattan's wholesale meat district, where she was invariably the only buyer wearing pearls and a fur hat.

Marsha Forman died five years ago; her husband--whose high-cholesterol diet may have hastened his demise--died three years later, at the age of ninety-eight. Today, the restaurant is run by the Formans' daughter Marilyn Forman Spiera, with help from her sister, Amy Forman Rubenstein, and her daughter Jody Spiera Storch. Marsha Forman taught her daughters and her granddaughter how to evaluate meat, and the three women now do all the restaurant's buying. Each week, they visit half a dozen suppliers, mostly in lower Manhattan and at Hunts Point, and select roughly twenty thousand pounds of prime beef, plus the odd quarter-ton of lamb.

On a recent morning, the shopping rotation fell to Storch, who is pretty, exuberant, and thirty-two years old. Shortly before ten o'clock, she parked her minivan in front of Walmir Meat, Inc., on Washington Street near West Fourteenth Street. She opened the car's sliding side door, revealing a child's safety seat--she and her husband, a hedge-fund manager, have a three-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son--and a white butcher's coat. She pulled the butcher's coat over her mom clothes, and put on a pair of white loose-knit meat-handling gloves.

"My grandmother took me to the market the first time when I was eight," she said. "The whole thing overwhelmed me, and I became a vegetarian, which was an abhorrent thing to be in my family. 'You can't be a vegetarian!' So that lasted about a month--and now here I am. My brother, my sister, and my dad are all physicians. They call me the M.D. of the family--the Meat Doctor. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.