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February 01, 1976 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-02-01

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Page Three

page four-booksx

Number 15

February 1, 1976



Working people:

'Let's face it-it's

a liveliho '


the butcher: Slici

meat to lean


N IOWA, sturdy y o u n g heifers
munch hay, exhale steam, drop
manure. At a Chicago slaughter-
house, men in rubber aprons in-
ject cattle with wallops of tender-
izer before killing them. Neat sec-
tions of cow are vacuum-packed
and shipped out from Detroit. In
supermarkets across the state, the
meat is sliced, priced, tagged, and
shuttled to the consumer.
But in the refrigerator room of
Sergeant Pepper's grocery store in
Ann Arbor last week, a bearded
man was having a love affair with
a bloody 20-pound hunk of porter-
house. He squeezed its pink side
and held it up, as if for a kiss.
"WHA-HA-HA, you're beautiful,
baby!" cried Ernie Ajlouny with a
loud giggle and a mischievous grin.
"Let's see, we'll take a little fat off

over here"-he lopped off an ugly
blemish with his knife - "and a
little over here. You can tell it's
good meat from the way it's mar-
bled, you know, these little white
lines. That means it's tender."
AJLOUNY, Sergeant Pepper's co-
owner and butcher, is no din-
ner-table dilettante on the subject
of tenderness. He has been cutting
meat for 22 years-since he was
12--and professes to know "a mil-
lion little things about meat just
from being around it so long."
Weaned on cow-cutting by his
father, a Detroit butcher, Ajlouny
can more than stomach the sight
of blood oozing from a side of beef.
("It's like seeing a piece of lumber;
you can't believe it came from a
tree.") What he can't stomach, he
says, is the way big beef companies
and chain supermarkets' get their,
meat processed.

He is proud of Sergeant Pepper's
one-man butcher service and is
sometimes g i v e n to proclaiming
himself "the hip butcher."
"Some of those chain stores sell
meat that gets injected before it's
killed," said Ajlouny calmly as he
stepped from the "cooler" and pre-
pared a customer's roast beef re-
quest. "They inject it with a ten-
derizer, like Accent. It's a liquid
that g o e s through the animal's
blood; they call it Pro-Ten. Then
they kill the cow, but the tender-
izer keeps working.
"WHY SHOULD I use that stuff?
When I get quality meat? In
a small store like this, people can
come in and say, 'Hey Ernie, the
See ERNIE, Page S
Dan Biddle is a former Editor-in-Chief
of The Daily.

Daily Photo by SCOTT ECCKER

The cook: Making
meals for his boys

The operator: Life


the other end

gins at 5:30 in the morning
when he troops upstairs from his
room buried in the basement of
the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
He wears a worn maize and blue
bathrobe, and he's a little gruff
-a sharp contrast to his irrepress-
able manner later in the day when
he greets almost every fraternity
brother with a time-tested joke
or anecdote.
But right now, Wildcat, the frat's
cook and house father, is all busi-
ness. He shuffles steadily around
the kitchen in this early-morning
ritual he's performed every day
for thirty years, his movements
structured by an automatic routine
governing each action. Like a chess
player he makes moves whose im-
portance won't be seen for mo-
ments or hours, whose meaning
will be clear when the time is

A hunk of cheese is removed
from the refrigerator and plopped
down on the counter, and then
abandoned. By the time Wildcat
starts lunch, it'll be soft and
ready to slice for reuben sandwich-
es. A pan of butter goes on the
stove. In twenty minutes it will be
sloshed on toast. Paper towels are
folded into neat squares and stash-
ed by the stove for use when he
greases the grill for bacon.
COOKING, HE SAYS, is not so
much an art. It's a matter
of payingattention to what you're
doing. The problem with women
cooks, he says with a smile, is
just that - they're too distracted
all the time and won't pay atten-
tion to the meal. They'll turn the
temperature up high on the tur-
See 'WILDCAT', Page 5
)iim Tobin is a I)aily nighi editor and
staff writer.

T LOOKED LIKE a computer
programming center more ster-
ile than a hospital ward. Bathed
in fluorescent light, some 30 Ma
Bell operators sat at twin term-
inals. The consoles stared silently
back at them with digital faces.
This was not the work of chat-
tering Lily Tomlin-types crowned
with cumbersome black head-sets
facing flashing plug boards.
Like a sixth-grader on a field trip
I was wisked through the main at-
traction at the Bell Telephone
Building as though it were the
last tour before closing time. But
there are operators on the job 24
hours a day I thought to myself
as I handed my visitor's pass back
to the security checkpoint guard.
I felt I'd missed something and
my suspicion set in.
"It's called the Traffic Service
Position System (TSPS)," Shari
Kraft, a seven and a half year

veteran of the boards, informed
me as we retreated to the cold
comfort of an empty executive
office two floors below the ominous
operator office. The slender, sophis-
ticated 26-year-old Bell Telephone
employe was as far from my pre-
conceived notion of' an operator
as the TSPS was from the old
plugboards I'd envisioned. What's
more, I had no idea our arranged
interview was to be a package
deal. The matronly Manager of
Operator Services plunked herself
down behind the king-sized desk
as jean-clad Shari set out to dis-
pell most of my cherished miscon-
ceptions about her profession. The
operators's eyes darted frequently
across the room to the silent con-
sultant, seemingly checking 'for a
go-ahead before answering each
See THlE, Page S
Susan Ades is a Daily day editor and
staff writer.

Doily Photo by STEVE KAGAN

The baker:

Sculpting with sugar

Burt Lutz's hands move as
precisely and swiftly as those of a
concert pianist zipping through the
Minute Waltz. With a speed he has
developed during his 30 years as
a baker, Lutz can decorate 20 cakes
in an hour and still manage to
keep a conversation going with a
fellow worker or curious visitor.
With one hand, he spins the cake
around on a short pedestal; with
the other, he guides a frosting-fill-
ed tube over the creamy white sur-
face, shaping roses, implanting
squiggly designs, and inscribing
Lutz, owner of Quality Bakery on
Main St., has been producing these
confectionary sculptures for the
past 30 years. A short, solidly-built
man with salt-and-pepper hair
and a firm, square chin, he pre-
sides like a proud Indian chieftain
over an array of massive machin-
erv and several prav-haired. flour-.
cloaked bakers. While workln', his

doesn't seem to bother him. "You
get tired of it, it's just like when
you go into a candy store. After a
couple of weeks, you don't even
want any," he says.
" cake with bright yellow roses
and thumbnail - sized leaves, he
explains: "I do the decorating be-
cause there just isn't anyone else
to do it. Let's face it, cake decorat-
ing is becoming a lost art." But,
one could hardly imagine Lutz giv-
ing up his favorite job, even if
there were someone else in the
wings. Although he moves with al-
most assembly-line sneed, each
cake is nearly perfect; there is nary
a wilting rose or misplaced blob of
The corner where he works re-
sembles an artist's studio. Next to
Lutz are small bowls of thick but-
tercream frostina in the bright ori-
mary colors found in children's
paint boxes. Jars of food coloring
and domens of parchment pmner
fr,~tnfh. r n r, o n n pl wthi

-. ;-

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