The greatest advance in human health has been not penicillin (despite the gratitude of several of my brothers), not surgery with anesthesia, but simple public hygiene: clean water mainly, and to a lesser extent clean food.
So it makes me wonder when I pass a butchery that has in no way whatsoever changed since the Hittites sacked Babylon in 1593 B.C.
Some places a wooden open-fronted stall with an earthen floor, in bigger towns the same stall with an unspeakably grimy cement floor. Hanging from hooks, legs, tails and ex-organs in various states of decay, and on the counter a red and white lump of ground muscle, gristle and fat that is so fly-blown that the flies must be part of the deal. Running in and out, chickens. Leaning on the counter a toughish, slightly dim looking gent, chewing something. I am guessing he was a man with several roles about the town, none of them sparkling with sex-appeal.
I once had my own flirtation with butchery and failed miserably. My grandmother had brought home a goose and marked me, as the eldest, to dispatch it. She was an old-country woman, who soaked her gravy up with bread, believed geese belonged in pots and men should carry axes. It was said, not without premise, that she had purloined the goose. Though where, and from whom, one purloined a goose I (still) do not know.
In any event, I could not stand shoulder to shoulder with this man, and once I had seen one of these butcheries, it was the last time I ate meat on the trip.
The chickens disport themselves freely – this man deals only in pigs and cows.