Birmingham’s Smart Butcher installed the first known butcher machine at the Lil Mart in Odenville. With the push of a button, shoppers can leave with fresh cuts of steak or sausages. Customers can feed $1 or $5 bills into the machine or swipe a credit or debit card and pay $2.49 for pork steaks, $3.99 for an 8-ounce sirloin or $5.99 for a 12-ounce rib eye steak. The machine also sells sausages and other meats says the reporter Michael Tomberlin

Carving up a whole animal whether a whale or an ox or a suckling pig or the Thanksgiving turkey has always expressed not only the interconnectedness of the family — and in a wider context — the community, but also the hierarchy of each member of the group. The carver is traditionally the head of the household whose responsibility it is to assign various cuts of the protein and to determine the size of the serving.

The Monk’s Chicken

A man of the cloth was invited to carve a chicken for the family meal. He cut off the head and handed it to the father, as he was the head of the household. He served the neck to the mother because she supported the head. The wings were given to the “flighty” daughters while the sons received the feet, as they were the foundation on which the next generation would stand. That done, the carver ate the rest of the bird himself.

The role of the butcher can be interpreted in many ways. Some confine themselves to simply butchering the language.