Saturday, October 24, 2009

Holy Cow! Alex Williams' "Slaughterhouse Live," In Sunday Styles, Echoes Kim Severson's "Young Idols With Cleavers" from July Dining Section.

Do Alex Williams, the Sunday Styles reporter, and his editor, Trip Gabriel, read the Dining Section? If so, maybe they wouldn't have repeated essentially the same trend story about butcher obsessions that appeared in the NYT just three months ago.

Williams's front-page Sunday Styles section piece tomorrow, "Slaughterhouse Live," bears a strong resemblance to an earlier -- and better -- version of the same piece, written by food writer Kim Severson and published on the front page of the NYT Dining section on July 7.

Both stories deal with a the same emerging interest in butchers as stars, and the desire of young cooks to learn the art of carving carcasses. Williams even went so far as to interview two key players in the movement that Severson already spoke to -- Ryan Farr, a San Francisco-based chef who teaches carving at his butcher shop, and Tom Mylan of Marlowe & Daughters in New York, who does the same thing here.

There's the occasional differience. Williams's story focuses more on the learning phenomenon; Severson is more interested in the sex appeal of butchery. Severson attributes the trend to journalist Bill Buford, while Williams gives credit to journalist Michael Pollan.

But that's just carving up scraps of details in two stories that are substantially the same. Severson's story was good enough to not bear repeating.

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