Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pass the meat, please!

I have much respect for vegetarians and vegans, but I am not one myself. In fact, there is no way that I will ever voluntarily become one. I love the taste of meat way too much to even consider it.

I have substantially reduced my red meat intake though since I refuse to buy red meat that is not free range. I may not buy all of the various health scares out there concerning food, but non-free range red meat just seems to be too risky and too filthy for my liking (I've been wanting to use the word filthy in a blog post for some odd reason for the past few days... mission accomplished!). Because of this insistance of mine, I very rarely eat red meat. It's not much of a loss though since I'm more than happy compensating with more chicken and more fish, especially fish.

Two of the blogs on my blogroll feature recent posts about the joys of eating free range meat. Nick Wright expresses his love for free range chicken, while Vache Folle focuses on beef and pork.

Reading those posts sure has made me hungry! At this hour though, the only thing I'll be eating is a glazed donut prior to hittin' the sack for the night.


Blogger billy-jay said...

Is there much of a difference in taste between free range beef and non?

Just wondering...

1:52 AM  
Blogger freeman said...

Answers to such a question will vary, of course, but I'd say that there is a difference. I know of a lot of people who would agree.

If taste is the main issue, then I'm not sure if spending a lot more for free range will be worth it though. Some people might think so, although I don't think I'd pay that much more just because of superior flavor.

3:20 AM  
Blogger billy-jay said...

I have no idea where one would even get free range beef here, but it's no issue for me since taste is my primary concern.

Anyway, I was just curious.

Rock on.

5:09 AM  
Blogger Vache Folle said...

The taste difference is dramatic. A happy cow is a delicious cow.

Once you've had free range, you'll never go back.

2:04 PM  
Blogger billy-jay said...

I'll have to try some sometime, then.


9:32 PM  
Blogger colorless green ideas said...

the taste is different, i prefer it. free-range/organic means the cows are free to roam, and grass fed--most cows are primarily soy fed. so the big difference is that grass fed beef is much leaner, and i think richer. but you be the judge.

here's a link where to find some : http://www.nimanranch.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/NimanRanch-NimanRanchStore-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewApplication-DisplayStaticContent;pgid=Y3Ygc0t2Za40004OtsIR62Ys0000mm2oae3a;sid=DLZEPayADN1EPO-YrUSElabANiG-p5YX9iw=?Page=content%2fWhereBuyEat

3:03 PM  
Blogger billy-jay said...

Thanks, colorless green (!) ideas, but I live in Japan. Have you ever tried Kobe beef? If you eat free range because it's better for your conscience, you won't want it, but it's grain and beer fed. The cattle are restricted in their movement and they're massaged daily, so the meat is very fatty and very tender. It's quite tasty.

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Vaughn said...

I live in the SW US where cattle ranching is still very common. Methods have changed over the years to allow for the industry to bring a large amount of product quickly and somewhat efficiently to the market. In years past range cows simply ate grasses and few recieved any supplemental feed. Now cattle are grazed on large areas of public lands, ranchers pay a fee - either to the USFS (dept. of agriculture) or the BLM for grazing rights. Often this land is poorly suited for grazing - yields are often in the range of one head for 20 acres or even more.

Cattle have highly specialised or adapted digestive systems which allow them to use a negligible food source - grasses. Other feeds are not always well suited to cattle (more on this later) On some occasions I've seen range cattle being supplemented with 'enriched by-products' - a thick syrupy concoction designed to enable them to put on the weight that is primarily composed of sugar refining by-products. After one - perhaps 2 years on the range the cattle are sent to feedlots where they are fed little if any actual grass feed. They are fed what can best be described as low value silage - primarily corn products. One of the reasons cattle are given so many antibiotics are that their systems are not designed for that type of feed and they become prone to gut inflamations/infections - another is that they're kept in such close proximity to each other and the conditions at a feedlot could hardly be described as hygenic.

Much of the beef industry operates in a manner intended to maximise profits and efficiency - all very understandable except that the product is diminished in its potential value. The reason this occurs is that people don't really want to know what it takes to put this product in the stores cheaply. Producers go to great lengths to maximise this efficiency - which has also led to the use of animal by-products in feedlot feed - which has now been linked to the so-called 'Mad Cow Disease'.

The changes in the beef industry over the years are all very understandable, but if people actually knew what those changes entail they'd probably be less inclined to accept the product.

4:40 PM  

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