What’s in a Name?

Duba's Steaks Logo for Website

Humor me…for 45 seconds: watch Jerry Seinfield’s stand-up routine where he makes the following observation: everyone’s doctor is, in their estimation at least, “the best.” Have you ever heard anyone say, “My doctor’s the worst. Oh, yeah, he’s a real butcher”? During the Christmas Season, we took a step back. Having operated under the name “Duba’s Steaks” since the Fall of 2010, it was now time to make a change: a change consonant with our company’s new focus; a change requiring a conversation with our attorney (who is, by the way, the best). He went to work, paperwork was filed, documents were signed and, as the new year began, we began operating under a new name…

You see, in the Spring of 2012 I had been taken by the romance of heritage meat, tying in–as it were–to a similar movement that has been taking place with microbrew beers and heirloom vegetables (please see “Why I’m Enamored of Microbrews, Heirloom Vegetables, and Heritage Meats”). As alluded to our three-part blog series A Quest Begins, this summer our company (known as Duba’s Steaks) was seeking to launch operations by offering USDA choice and prime beef plus heritage beef to the marketplace. Certainly as a result of our trip West in search of quality meat which (if you recall from that series) ended in a glorious thwarting, it became clear that a door was being closed on more conventional types of beef altogether. In all of this, our mission (our raison d’etre–that’s our reason for existence) crystallized. The mind caught up–as it were–with the soul, with the heart. As Blaise Pascal wrote, “The heart has its reason which the reason knows nothing of.” It was heart that took us West. It was coming home that brought a deeper understanding of what took us there in the first place. Here, then, is my best (or latest) attempt at defining the Reason at the heart of this Company:

(1) “to usher one into an experience of ‘The Shire’: of the something mythic that is captured by the mystique of heritage meat and the way of life of which it is indicative: a life lived in continuity with nature’s rhythms and laws”; and (2) “to foster an appreciation for the flavor complexity, variety, and romance of heritage meats”

Since a name embodies and houses identity and if the above describes who we are, “Duba’s Steaks” just wasn’t quite capturing our essence…

For one, we weren’t going to be selling just beef anymore, so the “Steaks” part of the name wasn’t going to work. Further, Further, when considering what it would look like to live out of this identity a vision arose in which we were operating a “nose-to-tail”, traditional butcher shop which honored a craft that has been ostensibly lost in modernity: the art of butchery. Placing conventionally-raised, already-processed meat into Styrofoam containers and shrink-wrapping the product to us feels like castrating the gelding or like de-clawing the lion. And yet it seems emblematic of what has happened to us, culturally.

What could one expect to find in this craft butcher shoppe that tied in with our passion for the rhythms of nature? Delicious meats with an eye to seasonality. For those who shop at a farmers’ market, you know not to expect blueberries in May, pumpkins in June, or morels in July. To a certain extent, meats have a peak season, a window of time where they come into full bloom. While we will offer beef year-round, turkey is for the Fall,  goose for the Winter, rabbit for the Spring, and chicken for the Summer. Now, the dream of a brick-and-motor butcher shoppe remains for the time being a twinkle in our eye. In the meantime, we will begin by offering heritage beef for sale through an online retail storefront which we will be able to ship anywhere in the United States.

And so we wanted a name that somehow does a better job of capturing all of this. While opening a butcher shoppe is yet to come, what we are presently is a merchant. As for the name? Duba & Company: Merchants of Heritage Meats. With that new name the work of re-branding has begun as we try to find imagery that embodies the heart, soul, and spirit of the company.

Just one final thought: wouldn’t it be a great thing to have our own, personal butcher (as did our parents or, in my case, our grandparents)? And wouldn’t it be great to be able to say of him (or her), “My butcher’s the best?” Until then, if you’re looking for a good attorney all you have to do is ask, and when you meet him be sure to tell him that you know me.

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