Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Beef, it aint for dinner

So, I am now grossed out. After sufficient footage of downer cows being cattle prodded, shoved with forklifts, and walking on seemingly backward-growing legs; after seeing bizarre fatty tumors in the middle of a muscle on a loin of supposedly USDA Prime beef as I cut it; after recalls and recalls and recals; I am done. I am no longer choosing beef as a meat. I will eat it for professional reasons, but not indiscriminately.

Of course, I will look for options in humanely raised beef. I will seek out grass-fed, well-tended flocks as soon as I can. I will bring to the table clean and safe beef. As a chef, it is my duty.

But as an eater, I am completely in love with the pig right now. It is a holy animal, edible from tail to snout, easy to grow, easy to preserve, easy to eat. Why worry about infected beef supply when we are already cooking pork to safe temperatures and the lure of tartare is not there? Why have a steak when a sexy young generation of butchers are creating poetry with swine? Why worry about marbeling and pay $25/# for Prime steer loin when well-marbled pork loin is at most 1/4 that price? And what is the beef equivalent of jambon serrano, prosciutto, or Virginia ham? And the beef equivalent of bacon? We pay a bunch of money for beef steaks and turn the rest, some 85%, int cheap burger meat. Completely unsustainable.

Viva la Swine! The only thing you can't produce out of a pig is good whiskey.

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