Meet your meat

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38 Responses to “Meet your meat”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Saturated Animal Fat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Vegetable and seed oils will harden you arteries, they are processed non-natural foods!

    ===
    Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.

    Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute Oakland CA Harvard School of Public Health Boston MA.

    BACKGROUND: A reduction in dietary saturated fat has generally been thought to improve cardiovascular health.

    OBJECTIVE: The objective of this meta-analysis was to summarize the evidence related to the association of dietary saturated fat with risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD; CHD inclusive of stroke) in prospective epidemiologic studies.

    DESIGN: Twenty-one studies identified by searching MEDLINE and EMBASE databases and secondary referencing qualified for inclusion in this study. A random-effects model was used to derive composite relative risk estimates for CHD, stroke, and CVD.

    RESULTS: During 5-23 y of follow-up of 347,747 subjects, 11,006 developed CHD or stroke. Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD. The pooled relative risk estimates that compared extreme quantiles of saturated fat intake were 1.07 (95% CI: 0.96, 1.19; P = 0.22) for CHD, 0.81 (95% CI: 0.62, 1.05; P = 0.11) for stroke, and 1.00 (95% CI: 0.89, 1.11; P = 0.95) for CVD. Consideration of age, sex, and study quality did not change the results.

    CONCLUSIONS: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat.

    Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jan 13.

    • SamSam says:

      Saturated Animal Fat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Vegetable and seed oils will harden you arteries, they are processed non-natural foods!

      CONCLUSIONS: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.

      Your abstract and your conclusions do not match. How does “no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD” imply “one of the most nutritious foods you can eat,” and where does it say that it is any better than vegetable oils?

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Oh, you mean the “butter is awesome” study funded with money from The National Dairy Council, which sells butter? Try reading the fine print, bub.

      • Brainspore says:

        Still, you gotta admit that butter is indeed awesome.

        • Xeni Jardin says:

          I agree that it’s more “awesome” than fake chemical-laden butter substitutes made with artificially hydrogenated fats.

          But I personally am experimenting with a diet that involves more plant oils: flax, olive, coconut, sesame, and so on. And those fats can also be delicious and satisfying. There are many sources of awesome, and they don’t *have* to be from animals.

  2. Alan says:

    Lisa Simpson: I’m going to become a vegetarian.
    Homer: Does that mean you’re not going to eat any pork? “Yes”
    “Bacon?”
    “Yes Dad”
    “Ham?”
    “Dad all those meats come from the same animal”
    “Right Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal!”

  3. ciacontra says:

    Last week I ordered in a pig’s head and some trotters from a local farm. Half the head was pot-roasted with wine, shallots and kale and was awesome as a fancy date dinner. (Fortunately my wife is a biologist…She was better at carving it than I was. Disturbingly so…) The other half and four trotters were boiled up for Shanghai Soup Dumplings. They’re outstanding, you take the chilled and set aspic goo from the head and trotters, cube it, mix with the meat from the head, some shrimp and spices, and fold it in gyoza wrappers. When the dumplings are steamed the aspic melts into a tasty soup inside. I’ll have the blog post about it up within a few hours, blogsite is in my profile.

  4. Moriarty says:

    I’m all for being mindful that meat comes from killing animals and has certain consequences, but I don’t really see the value in examining it in detail (unless you find it interesting, of course). I love the luxury of indoor plumbing and I know what sewers are. Am I a hypocrite for not wanting to inspect them in detail? Is that different than loving bacon, but never wanting to go inside a slaughterhouse? From getting faint at the sight of blood, but still consenting to surgery?

    BTW, this is a more general comment about this sort of “shoving your face in it” tactic, not about these people in particular.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Looking at pictures like these, happily posted at an otherwise progressive site like BoingBoing, gives one exactly the same feeling as a slave must have felt when reading the bad excuses for oppression in the 1800s.

  6. Boondocker says:

    Then we place them in a scalding tank full of hot water (heated by one of the aforementioned fires). The temperature is measured by running your hand through the water, when you can dip your hand in quickly three times (two is too hot and four is too cool) then it is ready.

    Why don’t you use a thermometer?

    • lilomar says:

      “Why don’t you use a thermometer?”
      Heh. Because that’s not the way our grandfather’s grandfather did it. My finance’s family uses a thermometer when they butcher, but it’s just not the way we have always done it. I’m not even sure what the proper temperature would be, other than to run my hand through the water and see how many swipes I can stand. Yes, I realize this is silly.

      Also @23 – Yeah, I know that it isn’t possible for many people, but I do think that it is something that everyone should experience if they get the chance.

      @Meat=Slavery guy – You get all the other carnivores to stop eating meat, then we can talk. Yes, I do think that the way many slaughter houses treat the animals is horrible. Which is why I get as much of my meat as possible from sources I know haven’t done so. I eat wild game, pork, which I already explained the source of, and beef, which comes from a farm owned by people I know and butchered by a family-owned company that I know treats them humanely. Very rarely do I get meat from a store.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is no “humane” way to harm and kill someone for your own pleasure, though many use that excuse. In the human slavery times there were many defenders of “humane” slavery.

  7. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    I peeled a pig’s face off its skull bared-handed once. Scooped the brains out the little hole inside too. Then boiled it, to clean the bone. Worked great.

  8. Jerril says:

    gives one exactly the same feeling as a slave must have felt when reading the bad excuses for oppression in the 1800s.

    No, because you, my friend, are not a pig. And no matter how sympathetic you feel to the plight of our fellow animals, you remain not a pig, and thus are not in the situation of the slave.

    At best, you are the equivalent of a white anti-slavery activist.

    To pretend otherwise is to frankly minimize and ridicule the suffering of the slaves you compare yourself to, much as comparing almost anything to the Holocaust belittles and minimizes the tragedy of that event. Which is why everyone makes fun of people who invoke Nazis in any conversation they find controversial.

  9. dbarak says:

    Even before I became a vegetarian, I was never impressed with people making a mockery of the animals that feed them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Living in Europe is a daily reminder of where food comes from — in a very good way. Heads and feet are still on poultry bought in markets (and frequently in supermarkets), fish are bought whole (and cleaned by the fishmonger), and rabbits and pheasants are hanging in the butcher shop in the fall. Offal of all varieties is a regular offering, as are heads and tails and trotters.

    It’s just accepted that this animal died for your dinner — but there is so much care (to the point of reverence) taken with the preparation of meats that it does pay tribute to the producers who brought it to you (and the animal that gave its life).

    It’s the same with other things, too — eggs might be a little dirty (but omg so fresh and so tasty), and dirt clings to carrots and potatoes — along with reminding you where it came from, the system here also reinforces that what you buy from local producers is fresh and real, too.

  11. zikzak says:

    For all their enthusiasm about transcending humanity and expanding concepts of sentience to include modified intelligences and/or machines, technology geeks are some of the most outspoken traditionalists I’ve encountered when it comes to animal rights.

    I chalk it up to a subcultural narrative which pits pragmatic, rational geeks against touchy-feely illogical hippies.

    • voided says:

      Yes, it is very weird. But I think that tendency explains a lot why the animal rights topic, the few times it gets covered in those circles, tend to fuel so (unusually) much anger. George Dvorsky, a great writer on all things techno-progressive, is one of relatively few such writers who is very outspoken about his pro animal rights stance. A few years back he unleashed feedback havoc through a full on post on the topic. Some of his long loyal readers where infuriated! Dvorsky’s provocative blog post title, to not speak of the first sentence, was a factor of course. But the content itself is still taboo-ish.
      http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2007/08/meat-eaters-are-bad-people.html

  12. Anonymous says:

    As a lifelong hunter, I appreciate the desire to see where your food comes from. It makes you pause everytime you take a bite of something that used to be a living creature, which is how it should be.

    To call this attitude non-progressive is completely backwards. As a society, we will always eat meat. The healthy and responsible choice then, is to take ownership of where it comes from.

  13. Bill Albertson says:

    “Speaking of getting personal with your meat, it’s hard to imagine a more direct challenge to a modern supermarket carnivore’s sensibilities than the task of cleaning a pig’s head.”

    I’m Latino. The above process is done at least annually at my house. It is called making tamales. And tamales are tasty. Wanna know what is in menudo? Or chorizo? Because I have made both at home as well.

    When I was a kid I used to butcher chickens I raised every year for the rest of the family coming up from LA. Only sheltered vegetarians get squeemish about something that is natural as eating bugs or worms if you are lost in the forest.

    I don’t feel any guilt about eating locally raised food- certainly less than corporate farmers should feel about the fish kill numbers and the amount of forestland denuded across the US for mass farmed crops; I hardly think that is much better for the environment than the locally raised organic meat I make a point of buying.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Jerril: No. The feeling is the same: horror, desperation and anger against might is right excuses for oppression. The intensity and duration of those feelings will differ, no doubt. But none of us are free as long as some remain slaves and we call all feel that, slaves or not.

    Gloria: pigs are enslaved, confined, tortured and killed for your pleasure. There is similarity in that oppression.

    • Gloria says:

      Sorry, you’re free to chalk this up to me being a stubborn, thick-headed bigot, but I’m not participating in a discussion that seriously compares the rights of pigs to those of humans.

  15. Anonymous says:

    … except for the peeled head, I can’t find anything disturbing there … in fact, some pics made me hungry.

  16. adamnvillani says:

    If you want healthy food (or as healthy as pork can be..) then the only way to be sure what is in it is to grow/kill it your self.

    That’s awesome for those of you who can do it (honestly, I’m not being facetious), but do realize that it’s just not feasible for most people in the U.S. today. The rest of us are just going to have to trust somebody with our meat.

  17. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Another use for bacon fat: greasing your skillet when making cormeal flapjacks/flannel cakes/hoe cakes.

  18. TombKing says:

    My usual use for bacon fat is making pan fried chicken. Oh man it will harden your arteries just by looking at it but soooooooooo tasty.

  19. MelSkunk says:

    I find it amusing that everyone assumed all vegetarians must be lily-livered weak city folk who never saw an actual farm or slaughtered an actual animal before.
    I’ve killed, skinned, gutted, defeathered, parted up and such enough animals I feel I can have a “balanced” not overly sensitive opinion on the matter.
    Heck, I was a vegetarian in chef school and still got the second-best mark in my butchery class.
    But I still find bits of animal parts creepy. Did then and I do now.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Not all vegans or vegetarians are pansies.

      Jeez, what’s with all the veg-hating in this thread?

      • voided says:

        Xeni: maybe the veg-haters felt invited, nay lured, by a post not just celebrating killing and cutting up powerless animals but also mocking the victims through a picture with a pair of sunglasses on a severed head? Veg-hating is a recurring, dominant tone in the Boing Boing comments on animal related posts I’d say. Browse through a couple and you’ll spot it clearly. Animal rights is an issue where the otherwise pretty progressive Boing Boing is in general reactionary. For example, looking back att 2009 how come Jonathan Safran Foer’s great and much discussed book passed you by completely? Heck, he’d even fit perfect as a guest blogger here.

  20. Robbo says:

    This is briliant! My wife brought me an old Toronto Star clipping last night all about how to cook a pig face. Described it as “a great first-date dinner”. She’s now regretting doing that cuz I’m intent on trying the recipe. I like food that looks back.

    Cheers.

  21. Anonymous says:

    There’s an interesting webisode of Gourmet’s “Diary of a Foodie” where they interview Fergus Henderson, author of “The whole beast: nose to tail eating”. They show him in his restaurant, and serve up half-a-pig’s head. Yum!

    Episode 12 from the 1st season, “Zen and the Art of Cooking”

    http://www.gourmet.com/diaryofafoodie/video/2008/01/112_zen_fullep

  22. lilomar says:

    My family just butchered 8 hogs last Saturday. I trust the meat that we raise and kill ourselves to anything you can find in the store, including anything labeled ‘organic’ or ‘free-range’.

    If you want healthy food (or as healthy as pork can be..) then the only way to be sure what is in it is to grow/kill it your self.

    To those interested in the process:
    We eat breakfast around 5:30, start the fires and kill the first hog as dawn is breaking. To kill them, we shoot them in the forehead with a .22 (it knocks them out, but their skulls are so thick that it usually doesn’t kill them.) and then ‘stick’ them, or slice their aorta with a knife and let them bleed out.

    Then we place them in a scalding tank full of hot water (heated by one of the aforementioned fires). The temperature is measured by running your hand through the water, when you can dip your hand in quickly three times (two is too hot and four is too cool) then it is ready.

    The hog is put into the scalding tank and kept moving through the water to scald the outer layer of skin and hair off. Once the hair comes off easily, we pull the hog out and scrape it down with metal scrapers.

    The hog is then hung by it’s achilles tendons (called ‘leaders’) on a tripod of wooden poles. We slice open the belly and remove the guts, as well as the edible internal organs. Then we slice the hog in half and it is ready to be cut up.

    To cut up a hog, we take a half and cut out whatever is good for eating as-is (loin, ribs, bacon, ham, shoulder roast if desired) and the rest goes into one of three places – sausage, lard, and ‘puddins’.

    Sausage is lean meat with a bit of fat on it that gets ground up and seasoned.

    Lard is fat, it gets sliced into small pieces and boiled until it is ready to be pressed. Pressing the lard separates it into a liquid lard, which is used as a cooking grease and shortening, and ‘cracklins’ which are pieces of skin and fat without any juice. Cracklins are usually eaten right there, and the rest are thrown away or given to dogs, but if you have ever eaten pork skins from the store, they are basically cracklins that have been puffed with air.

    Finally, puddins. Puddins are put into a pot to boil, and it includes everything edible that isn’t put somewhere else. Bones are thrown in after the meat is cut off, the bones are seperated out after boiling the meat off. Tounges (delicious, btw), heart, kidneys, and ‘sweet-bread’ (pancreas) are also thrown in.

    After the puddins are done, the bones are separated out, and the meat is ground like sausage. They are eaten like sausage, fried for breakfast, although you can’t make patties out of them. But some of the puddins also goes into the ‘pond-mush’ which is corn-meal and flour, mixed with seasoning and puddins. This is heated until it becomes a certain consistency and then dipped into pans to harden up. When it solidifies, it is like a really thick jello. You eat it by slicing it an frying it.

    So that is what butchering your own hogs is like, at least, it is where I come from. (North-eastern West Virginia) Around here, probably one in every 50 or so families still butchers their own hogs, and the number is shrinking. But I plan to continue the tradition with my cousins for the rest of my life, and hopefully teach my kids to do the same. There is nothing like eating fresh fried tenderloin after working all day to butcher the hog that it came from. I have the benefit of knowing where my food comes from, and that there are no steroids, hormones, etc. in the meat. I also know that the hogs were treated better than anything you can buy pre-packaged. The method we use is the most humane way of killing a hog there is short of waiting for it to die of old age.

    • pinehead says:

      My grandfather was a hog farmer in south Georgia. At one time, he was one of the largest pork suppliers in the state, but that was back in the 60′s. I have only the most vague childhood memory of the few hogs he had left back in the 80′s before he retired completely.

      The method you describe for butchering sounds similar to how he would do it (though admittedly, he was more interested in selling the livestock and leaving the heavy lifting to his customers). It’s interesting to see that you up there in West-by-God-Virginia do it pretty much the same way as people down in south Georgia. From what I’ve read, this method is/was also common in rural Britain (at least in Yorkshire).

      My grandfather used to sell to a Mr. Stripling (Harris Stripling, I believe), who ran a butcher shop & general store in Warwick. My grandfather and Mr. Stripling are both gone now of course, but Stripling’s General Store is still there, located now on the outskirts of Cordele. They still produce some of the best sausage I have ever eaten in my life. I don’t know if they still do their own killing, but I do know the pork is fresh and local, and that I am apparently a shill for their company now. Pardon the digression.

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      Thanks for the narrative, lilomar! I hadn’t heard of the .22 trick before (and would be hesitant to try it).

      Boondocker, thermometers are fragile, unreliable, and easily lost (not to mention expensive) compared to the hands you’ve already got. lilomar’s method is better.

      Xeni, I try to ignore the hatred and bile that vegetarians constantly direct against people with natural diets, but sometimes I just have to break out with “Carrot Juice is Murder” by the Arrogant Worms.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmK0bZl4ILM

      ^-^

  23. JoshP says:

    @Moriarty
    Hrmm, maybe I can help with some, let’s call it ‘Meta-’ philosophy. Let’s first take the pig’s decapitated head off the table and talk about energy. I’m gonna make this quick, too.
    The baby boomers and subsequent technological and population explosion of the last 75 or so years have forced a reevaluation of the term ‘consumption.’
    It’s folly to yell at people and tell them what to do, but, as Herbert says the slow blade penetrates the shield. So think of consumption like this. Really, I mean, really get to know one aspect of what you consume. Say the effort it takes to power a 60 watt bulb continously. Or how long it takes to ride a bike twenty miles as per time vs car.
    Now apply ‘consumption’ as we think of it to our planet and its finite resources, oil, minerals, people who can do math and think independently. It will blow your mind to think of the amount of stuff we take for granted. All the useless, non-utilitarian stuff.
    So why isn’t everyone going along…? Maybe they are scared, or someone..think above, yelled at them about it inappropriately. Baby steps.
    Getting to ‘know your meat.’ As silly as it sounds allows for an aspect of our nicely named ‘Meta-philosophy’ to be discussed.
    You have now been indoctrinated. Go forth.

  24. invictus says:

    “But as celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Meat Book argues, if you’re going to use meat responsibly, then you have to use all of it. ”

    The old-timers around here (SW Virginia, USA) have subscribed to the notion for decades, possibly centuries. Their way of slaughtering pigs has been described as using “everything but the squeal.”

    We’re quite good when we butcher our hogs, but not to that degree: We don’t make pigs’ feet stock, nor boar-bristle brushes.

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