Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ode to Meat

From Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook (1951): (Wish my copy was in better condition, it'd be worth a lot of money.)

From the Beginning of time, meat has been the mainstay of man’s diet. Wild deer, boar, fowl, and fish were the foods of the cave man whose life depended on his prowess as a hunter. Later in medieval times all food was referred to as “meat”. To celebrate battles, men feasted on meat and little else. There were no forks, though each guest brought his own knife.

As animals were domesticated, certain meats found favor in certain areas fo the world. The English are famous beef-eaters and Americans of English descent soon placed beef at the top of our meat preference list. Our southern neighbors in Argentine raise and enjoy excellent beef. The deeds of their gauchos and our cowboys have built a colorful folklore around beef-raising.

The Italian raost the paschal lamb at Eastr, the English love lamp chops, while the Near East prefers shish-kabobs.

Rich, flavorful pork, long a favorite in China, the Pacific isles and Africa, is second only to beef in our country.

In Italy and France, chefs and homemakers alike, know the art of cooking the delicate, tender veal; and we Americans would do well to learn from them.

With the following chapter as your guide, tender, flavorful meats will be yours for the cooking.

From a more scientific perspective (http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/comp-anat/comp-anat-4a.shtml):

In considering the evolution of human carnivory it may be that a level of 10-20% of nutritional intake may be sufficient to have major evolutionary consequences...

Meat-eating, it may be argued, represents an expansion of resource breadth beyond that found in non-human primates...

Homo, with its associated encephalization, may have been the product of the selection for individuals capable of exploiting these energy- and protein-rich resources as the habitats expanded (Foley 1987a).

The last sentence in the preceding quote is provocative indeed--it suggests that we, and our large brains, may be the evolutionary result of selection that specifically favored meat-eating and a high-protein diet, i.e., a faunivorous diet.

Further, domesticated animals have no purpose if they are not raised to produce a product. You are condemning awesome heirloom breeds to extinction if you avoid meat in its entirety. Check out sustainabletable.org:

Traditionally, farmers throughout the world have raised thousands of different animal breeds and plant varieties. However, since today's industrial farms rely upon only a few specialized types of livestock and crops, thousands of non-commercial animal breeds and crop varieties have disappeared, along with the valuable genetic diversity they possessed. Fortunately, a growing number of sustainable farmers are preserving agricultural variety and protecting biodiversity by raising “heritage” or “heirloom” animal breeds and crops

Enjoy sustainably raised meat in moderation without guilt. Feast on some free range eggs while you're at it.

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