Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm one of *those* people. Sorry.

I don't know what did it, exactly, but both Bubba and I - we snapped.

We both made silent but determined little pacts in our own brains at nearly simultaneous moments that we were done with mystery meat.

And not just like "Oh I don't know which parts of the pig's anus this hot dog contains" kind of mystery meat, but like, all meat. Steaks, burgers, those Sharpie-doodled chicken strips that come on your BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad, any meat sold in the frozen food aisle of any store and fast food meat which can be the most mysterious and ammonia-bleached sawdust filled of them all.

OK, so it might have been the scene in Food, Inc with the ammonia blasted hamburger filler "meat" going off in unrefrigerated boxes to McDonald's that did it. That at least might have done it for Bubba who used to consider McDonald's his gym.

Not like he's a big fat guy, he's not - quite the opposite, which is why it was extra amusing when he'd push his chair away from his desk at work to declare he was "going to the gym, people!" and then return ten minutes later with a bag of McDonald's.

Side note: Most impressive display of restraint ever was his boss who would, when offered some fries from his lunch, take one fry. ONE FRY. A single solitary french fry. She'd eat it, smile and go on about her day. Never did she ask for a second one. Never did she take any more that were offered. Bastion of restraint, that woman. I adore you, Single French Fry Eater - you're my hero.

Anyway, getting back to the subject of Bubba and I snapping, then.

I knew Bubba had snapped when he didn't suggest we go to McDonald's on a recent road trip. And when I dared to ask if we could just stop at a fruit stand on the side of the highway, he might have said something like, "That sounds good, maybe I'll get an apple." Or maybe that's what I said, I can't remember, but the ensuing conversation alerted us both to the simultaneous yet secret from each other pacts that we'd made in our own heads about staying away from mysteriously raised, handled, treated, processed or otherwise abused meats.

Not because we're all high and mighty. Not because we're the super healthiest eaters ever. Not because we like to be high maintenance pains in the ass. And certainly not because we want to be vegetarians.

It was because we were grossed out.

Is that too childish of a reason to avoid the products of an awful industry? The Ew Gross factor?

Personally, I think that, No. Any reason is probably a good reason to shy away from consuming the products of an industry that treats its product and its consumers as equally stupid and mindless beings and then goes about its business destroying everything in its path and where, at the end of the day, they have to bleach/flash/antibacterialize their product so that hopefully no one dies from using it as it is being advertised (aka eating it).

If Ew Gross keeps me from going through the drive-thru at the Golden Arches, then fine. Because it has to stop somehow and that is a place to start.

But then what do we do, as the meat eating people we are? Do we just give up, become sad vegans and only eat fruit that's fallen on the ground?

No. That's for morons. And some of my neighbors.

For us though - we go out to the garage, pound a few cocktails, and during an intimate three-way embrace between us and the chest freezer, promise that we'll fill her with only local grassfed and finished beef from a ranch we can see with our own eyeballs and local pasture raised chickens and grassfed and pasture raised lamb and pork.

And then we set out on a mission to find such things.

Thankfully, we live in NorCal and thankfully we have this farmshare and our farm knows of ranches and other farms nearby that have all those things.

And, most thankfully, it isn't that much more expensive (if at all) than buying the same types of things at the *gasp* grocery store.

Sure, we buy in bulk because we have a chest freezer we can fill, but if we were back in our old place or didn't have the chesty, we could make it work, too. There are ways to eat this way if we want to, we just have to want to, and, apparently, we do.

An entire half of our chest freezer is now beef and chicken. Beautiful.

We're deep in the meat.

So, that's the long way of telling you the follow up to my pre-vacation teaser about 80 lbs of beef is that we finally snapped on the topic of CAFOs/the meat and food processing industries/fast food/abuse of the American people /The Ew Gross Factor and decided we were going to buy all our meats from local and sustainable sources with acceptable farming practices.


Also, I bought 3 whole fresh chickens and, perhaps my bubbie would be proud, cut them up myself and packed them into our freezer for future meals.

For my first time following directions, it took me under 20 minutes to completely cut up 3 whole chickens.

It was a big moment. When I could break out the butchering book my mom gave me and put it to some actual real use in my kitchen.

This book is so Jewy. 
It talks about how you shouldn't think about how gross it is to cut up chicken but instead how much money you're saving. 

It might interest you to know that I requested a boning knife for my birthday. Which would be a fitting addition to the chest freezer I asked for (and received) last year. I'm apparently becoming odd in my old age, but I've decided to ignore that and instead focus on figuring out what delicious thing we'll have from the chest freezer this weekend that won't have gone through any terrifyingly awful series of scenarios on its way from the feedlot to my plate.

Will it be grassfed burgers? How about a nice filet mignon? Ooh - or maybe I should make chicken enchiladas. OH! Or order some lamb chops before the summer's over and we can't grill outside anymore!

Yeah, that summer part is sad, but the lamb part is good. I'll do that.

Now, of course, there are going to be times when we won't be eating only the fruits and meats of locally raised, sustainably harvested, only grassfed, humanely cuddled creatures. There are also times when we'll eat Taco Bell because they put heroin in that shit and it's a hard habit to break, but the snapping that we heard was our brains changing direction.

Rather than mindlessly going to Safeway and buying a shrinkwrapped package of potentially-made-to-wallow-in-its-own-excrement-while-being-injected-with-antibiotics mystery, we'll do a bit of planning ahead and enjoy something yum and catastrophic disaster-free from our local ranch.

That's a different way of thinking for a lot of people, us included, and now I will step down of this nice big soap box I've built so I can go have cocktails with Bubba and compare war wounds from our post-vacation week back at work.


  1. 1. Am I correct when I say I think I saw a chicken's asshole in this post? I am fully disturbed.

    2. Am I gross for saying I think I like dye injected into my food? And I've had fresh beef (literally- I saw them kill the cow and then like do the meat thingie with it. GAG) and it tastes weird. Yay for chemicals. :) HAHA!

    3. I can't handle meat on a bone. I feel like I've killed a person and I have visions of Jeffrey Dalmer. It's really debilitating. ;)

  2. i (seriously) admire your decision and follow-through.

    this is a great post.

  3. AND, in addition to the smug, virtuous feeling you get from having happy meat in your freezer, there is also the great joy that comes from knowing you have, like A HUNDRED POUNDS of it. Or 300, in our case.

    I just love having that much meat on hand and not having to think about it when I'm at the grocery store. And speaking of lamb, I've been saving the VERY LAST of last year's lamb for months now, because it's kebab meat, and I had great plans for lamb kebabs with tzatziki. Which of course requires cucumbers. Which of course I have in great quantity now.

    Lamb kebabs with tzatziki for dinner tonight! WHEEE!

  4. The vegetarians will all have coronaries at this statement but...

    Happy animals taste better!

    Free-range, traditionally raised animals live happy little lives on the farm, and then are humanely rendered.

    I started getting only the local stuff awhile back and I've never gone back to the grocery store for meat since! It was sort of inconvenient at first, because I was used to doing all my shopping in one place, but I got used to the change.

  5. Good for you!

    I'd have a hard time giving up McD's, but then again I haven't seen Food Inc. Maybe I could swing through the drive through and order up Big Macs minus the burgers and then go home and add our own. Or, you know, find the recipe and make it myself.

    And the one french fry thing? That would be a great way to torture me, if anyone's interested. Which hopefully no one is.

  6. Alas, it is much harder to find well-priced-for-people-who-have-only-recently-been-reemployed-who-also-have-children-soon-to-enter-college meat. Damn. Someday, though, and god is my witness, when I am done with grad school and for real employed, I too will follow in your footsteps. Because I agree.

  7. In all my dashes, I forgot to say "in Pennsylvania." In PA it's hard to find such meat. Even with the farms all around the fucking place.

    (Ironically, the word verification for this comment is.........

  8. I saw no mention of In N Out or Fat Burger....please tell me you haven't thrown those two fine establishments to the side.

    McDonalds? Have at it...torch 'em all and enjoy the epic grease/chemical fire that ensues as a million little corporate dreams go up in pre-portioned little servings.

  9. Awesome sister. Love this post! And I completely agree. We are mostly vegetarian these days because of the you-just-never-know-ness of meat. Even the free range, organic....I wonder how they were slaughtered, how free range they were...

    We buy all our meat from a few local source. Our friends are raising a pig for us this summer. If I can get my shit together, I'll hunt. If not, my uncle always hooks me up well with elk and deer.

    Here's my dilemma: dinner at a friend's house. This is where it all goes out the window for me...because I'd rather eat a costco hot dog than say "no thanks, I'm fine with my cole slaw and melon." No way will I ask where meat came from. My friend calls this being an Opportunivore. This, I am.


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