Any book that introduces “a sharp implement, a capacity to witness death, and a good amount of blood” as self-evident truths in the business of slaughtering pigs has our attention. Jeffrey Weiss’s new book, Charcutería: The Soul of Spain, is much more than spectacle: it’s an authoritative resource on Spanish butchering and meat-curing techniques, complete with recipes for traditional Spanish dishes, handsome photography and anecdotes from the author’s personal experience. In this excerpt, provided to GP by Agate Publishing, Weiss describes taking part in a matanza (“pig slaughter”) in Extremadura, a rugged region in western Spain.
Cue the applause
You’ve seen him. “That guy”, who tries to hit the cue ball as hard as he can, only to send it directly into the corner pocket. He scratches tables, bends cues and almost took your eye out on your way to the bathroom. Don’t be that guy — learn the fundamentals to a good billiards break and never worry about limp breaks and miscues again.
Dress to Impress
You have a job interview. Or maybe it’s a wedding. Either way, you need to pack a suit. Unfortunately, they’re not the easiest things to fold — not well, anyways. Any schlub can throw one in a bag, but keeping it wrinkle-free requires a little extra work. Sure, it’s a hassle. So is tying a double windsor knot. But if you want to keep a prospective employer (or the cute redhead at the reception) focused on something other than wrinkles, it’s a hassle that you’re going to have to own. Stay crisp and professional with these simple steps.
Know Your Terroir, Love Your Terroir
The current food-obsessed climate may prize terroir in everything, from beef to coffee to olive oil, but winemakers aren’t new to the game — they’ve been sniffing the soil and praying to the grape gods for centuries. Wine at its best is spiritually, ritually, and tribally connected to a place, and knowing the major wine regions provides some basic insight with which we can approach the wine aisle or pick a bottle at a restaurant. Here’s our guide to the 10 essential wine regions of the world.
Put down the bow and arrow, dummy
Being in love is great. You just need to figure out the right combination of sweetness and mischief to make that flame burn brighter. This beginner’s guide to being romantic should get you started.
Beyond the standard periodical
Switching up your periodicals is a great way to expand your horizons and change your tendencies. Just like you eschewed Highlights and SI Kids, it’s time to explore some new frontiers when it comes to what’s arriving in your mailbox. We’ve picked ten of our favorites from an incredible crop of literary, sports, lifestyle, food and business magazines that will inspire you to do everything from cook the perfect brisket to master the nuances of Japanese cobbling.
Help Away From Home
Almost every world religion encourages its followers to engage in some form of charity — see the Christian concept of virtue, the Jewish concept of tzedakah, and the Muslim concept of sadaqah — but even if you don’t believe in a higher power, it feels good to help. With the right organization and mindset, volunteering abroad can be a positive experience for both the donor and the recipient.
Say It Like You Mean It
We all screw up sometimes, and no matter how bad it is life marches on inexorably. Sure, you may end up divorced, on uncertain terms with friends or even a fugitive from justice, but knowing how to apologize may lessen the damage. Here’s a cheat sheet on saying sorry.
A Center For Guys Who Can't Write Good
Writing with proper grammar is one of the easiest ways to establish credibility. Correcting a few common errors and linking the proper usage to logic rather than obscure, bespectacled experts hiding in style guide castles will improve both your mood and your writing. Here are nine simple fixes to common errors.
The Time of Your Life
There are worse ways to spend your hard-earned money than on those pinnacles of the mechanical art. But there’s something to be said for wearing one watch all the the time. Buy one watch, wear it through thick and thin and create your own patina rather than purchasing someone else’s. Here’s how to do it.
A Modern Proposal
One of the final steps into adulthood requires replacing the beloved Mohammed Ali poster that has adorned your wall since freshman year. We recommend going with modern — otherwise known as contemporary — art. Of course, you’ll need to find something you like; better still if your aesthetic investment gains monetary value. But how to differentiate a collection of half-full coffee cups, ashtrays with cigarette butts and empty beer bottles from a piece by Damien Hirst? For help we consulted with Gary Metzner, a Senior Vice President at Sotheby’s in Chicago.
There are a small fistful of skills so fundamental, so downright useful, that they transcend time, place, and profession. Here are three: how to address a crowd, dress an animal and dress a wound.
You can swing it
For a genre that’s been around about 100 years, jazz has an insanely dense catalog of great music ranging from big-band swing to fusion to bebop to dixieland. There’s no better way to learn than diving in — it’ll become quickly apparent what moves you. The following ten albums should get you started.
Make Your Bid
eBay users are confronted with two big questions: (1) can I find the esoteric shit I want and get it at a fair price? and (2) can I score a deal on shit that’s not so esoteric? The answer to both is duh. Of course, there are several ways to leverage your ability to buy cool stuff for less money. Here are our tips for getting the most out of your eBay experience.
Simple tips for defending yourself effectively
The best fight is the one the that never happens, the one you walk away from because the assault to your pride, your team, your girlfriend — your whatever — isn’t worth ending your night early, the risk of injury (to you or the other guy) or jail. However, we recognize that sometimes walking away isn’t possible. For those rare instances where you can’t talk yourself out of violence, we offer simple counsel for defending yourself.
Cooking with cast iron is all about using a simple, high quality tool to create beautiful food, year after year, and getting better along the way. To do that you need to cultivate your culinary skills and keep your skillet properly seasoned, which is to say, coated in a hard layer of polymerized fat. We’ll deal with the latter today. Here’s how to do it.
Be Heard (and remembered)
You’ve got something to say in the office that’s neither super important nor a throwaway comment. You need to write a memorandum. We show you how to do just that, using a real GP memorandum as an example.
Be Knowledgeable, Be Safe
You hope to never be in situation where you have to use a firearm. But if it happens, you should be prepared to do it properly to save your life or that of someone you love, or both. Here, a former federal law enforcement officer explains how to hold and fire a handgun the right way.
The Fat Kid's Guide to Decent Snacking
Decrying the snack a week after the Super Bowl might seem heretical, but look: if you don’t stop your addictions to croissants or lard-chips or the ungodly delicious class of “puffed” snacks, one of these days you’re going to need a triple bypass, and there’s no use blaming genetics. So rather than even considering cutting down or stopping entirely, I’ve decided to head off cholesterol at the pass with some healthier snacking alternatives. Be strong, friend.
Low Hanging Fruit
For anyone uncomfortable with pills, powders, shots and gels, Mother Nature offers an alternative way to stay healthy this winter. We’re talking berries, those tart little packets of juicy goodness. But beware: not all berries are created equal, and some go together better than others. Our resident fruitarian breaks down some of the most popular options.
Less is more, you photo whore
As it turns out, most of Instagram’s 100 million users aren’t jet setting to exotic locations, climbing mountains or doing other exceptionally picturesque stuff (see #dentist for further evidence). That being said, you don’t have to summit Everest to post interesting Instagrams. By following a few (relatively) straightforward guidelines you’ll soon be ‘gramming like Ansel Adams.
Alexander the Great told his soldiers to be clean shaven so that the enemy couldn’t pull on their beards in battle. And how did ol’ Alex and his boys do it? With a straight razor. You’ve seen the straight razor in your barbershop, and you’ve felt your barber use it on the back of your neck. Now you’re ready to give it a try — on your face.
Forge Yourself a Silver Tongue
At its most basic, being articulate simply means communicating well. Understanding words and how they work is essential part of the equation; once you learn linguistic basics, the rest will happen automatically — like buying nice pieces of clothing will make you a better dresser. We outline the foundations of your eloquence.
Correspondence that Separates Mice from Men
A good letter takes honesty, emotion and patience. If you can’t provide those things, tap Hallmark to provide them for you. But if you have something noble and pure and important to get across, a handwritten letter might just be the best form of correspondence. But how does one do it correctly? We break down the steps using an excellent example from one John Steinbeck.
We take our pick-up sports with a healthy dose of enthusiasm. A casual game of touch football is the perfect outlet for friendly competition, (a little bit of) athleticism and a chance to revel in some big-game moments like our favorite pros. Unfortunately, we somehow missed out on Peyton’s arm strength and precision. No matter. Simply being able to throw a football correctly keeps you involved in the game and might even get you the nod at the coveted QB spot. Get a ball, get a friend, and go practice these six easy steps the next time the sun shows up.
Be Safe and Have Fun
You’re going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and you’re going to be fine. Still, you should always reduce risk. The following tips minimize your exposure to terrorist activity and will also offer protection against criminal elements during your stay.
Because You Can't Bobsled 24/7
When the Winter Olympics kick off on February 7th, we’ll have a correspondent on the ground, leaving the rest of us at the GP HQ to wonder why we can’t take a week off to watch sports, while the weather in Russia — Russia! — is warmer than New York City. We’re not bitter. In fact, to keep him safe, entertained and entirely prepared we’ve put together a quick pocket guide to Sochi.
A bit more involved than the miyagi method
Waxing your car is actually more important than you think — especially since it’s about far more than just seeing the sun glint off your steed’s resplendent paint. Waxing protects your car’s paint and body from grime, road salt, moisture, sun damage and other finish-ruining elements. We’ve broken down the steps for proper waxing. Do it quarterly and you’ll keep your car looking as radiant as the day you drove it off the lot.
In advance of the biggest American sporting event of the year, many people start thinking about placing a bet or two. For those who don’t know the difference between a fullback and a backpack, it’s a harrowing time. But, with a little education, you too can get in on the action.
Freshen Your Kicks
You’ve finally done it — you beat the living shit out of your beautiful new boots. Yes, it was painful at first (the initial scuff caused a minor breakdown), but in the end it felt fulfilling, like the right thing to do. Now your beautiful babies deserve the proper care. It’s time to clean and treat your boots properly. Here’s how.