Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Meat Comes From What?!

I'm a real fan of food. Like most progressive, professional, city-dwelling omnivores, I have a pretty good awareness of the food industrial complex, and I therefore attempt to avoid being a part of it, to varying degrees of success.

I've read Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore's Dilemma. I have not seen Food, Inc. but suspect I already know much of its content. I shop at farmers markets, prioritize local meats and veggies, and buy organically if local isn't an option.

All my rules tend to go right out the window when I go out to eat. I don't know where most restaurants source their foods. Although for Valentine's Day last night, the missus and I went to Marlow & Sons, a restaurant that sources its food locally, and our grass-fed sirloins were outstanding.

So yes, in general I believe in conscious eating. Which is why I was rather interested in this article. It's about a teacher at a school with a farm, who decided that it would be good to teach the children at the school about the food cycle by slaughtering one of the school's lambs. She got shit-canned. Which seems pretty fucking stupid to me.

The writer is clearly on the teacher's side. He has, in fact, taken his children to see the pig being butchered for their consumption. And he's been accused by Guardian readers of child abuse. Which also seems pretty fucking stupid to me. Jesus Christ, people. Meat is animals. Being removed from it makes it no less true.

I was sharing this article with a friend, and he sent me this link to Yorkshire Meats, where you "Eat Babe." It's brilliant. Choose a pig, adopt it, name it, visit it, and eat it. The whole process is transparent, and the pig gets a really happy life before it dies. And then you get a whole lot of pork. I seriously love this plan. And if I lived in a home with a freezer, I'd find the equivalent here in the US and do it.

This actually reminded me of what my family did for many years in Kansas. I was a kid and wasn't terribly curious about the whole process, but we split a cow every year with another family. A whole cow was slaughtered for two families. It was a lot of meat. Now, I don't know if the cow was treated kindly (maybe) or was fed grass (doubtful) or what, exactly. But I knew it was literally half a cow. And it lasted us a year.

This is how I want to eat meat now. I want to know that my cow or pig or chicken had a good life while it was alive, and then I want to eat that delicious cow or pig or chicken. I see no reason to separate ourselves from the process. Hell, if meat were more expensive, and if we were somehow more aware of how it's raised and killed, we'd probably eat a lot less of it. And that'd probably be a lot healthier for our nation of fat Americans with our overburdened healthcare system.

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At 7:38 AM , Blogger hilary said...

I think what you want is a neighborhood buying club. Or at least the Lewis Waite option at the CSA.

Bobolink Dairy (the cheese farm we visit in NJ) sells beef every so often, too.


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