Make Peace With Meat

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 10.01.16 AM                   I probably eat a third as much meat as I used to and, on the not-rare (three times a week?) occasions that I do indulge, I eat less of it.

I’m reminded of a really good plate of slow-roasted lamb shoulder I had in Seattle two weeks ago; there were about six ounces on the plate, and I ate half. It was delicious, and it was enough. This is no longer a conscious thing but a new habit.

The new habits, I suppose, come from new attitudes. The vast majority of Americans still eat meat at least some of the time. Statistically, most of us eat it in unwise, unsustainable and unhealthful quantities.

I’m betting that you eat meat more consciously (and less of it) than you once did. The health, environmental and ethical concerns affect the attitudes of almost everyone I encounter, and although our priorities differ, few people I know indiscriminately fill their supermarket carts with shrink-wrapped meat and leave. Not long ago, almost all of us did that.

Read the rest of this article, here.

Posted in Food Politics, Recipes


  1. Walter Jeffries said...

    Our family definitely eats more meat, and of higher quality, than we used to – because we raise our own meat on our pastures without the need for commercial feeds. I started down this path because I wanted to make sure that our children grew up eating quality food, and that includes meats, fruits, vegetables and other good stuff. Growing it is my best way of making sure of the quality. Thus developed our farm over the past decades.

    We’re in the process of taking that next step in humanely raised pastured meats: We’re building our own on-farm USDA/State inspected meat processing facility so that our animals won’t have to make the very long trip to the butcher each week. Once completed we’ll have breeding through smoking and charcuterie all here on our farm.

    Meat is a high quality, healthy, wholesome, nutrient rich food we can produce from our local resources.

  2. Lori said...

    Oh, Mark. You’re always making the case for full-time veganism, but won’t come out and just say it or do it. It’s fairly frustrating. But I realize you have a book to sell. I guess I should be glad that people may be eating less meat from your writings, but I’m waiting for the day of real bravery from you!

  3. Hugh D. Howard said...

    I read today’s column and was a bit troubled. I agree with you, but…, . Yes we should cut back on our consumption of meat for all of the environmental, ethical, philosophical and agribusiness reasons you raise. And yes, I agree that we should buy our products, when we can, from the farmer we know, We should, in due course, be better educated consumers who make rational choices that disfavor large agribusiness and favor the local farmer. All of this is fine if you can afford this choice – meaning you’re not struggling financially or you’re affluent or you’ve made the choice to consciously do this. Most Americans, I think, do not fall into these categories, and so, cannot make this choice. Ad as for the folk who really struggle, well, I think you see my point.

    What troubles me about your article, and other pieces you’ve written, is that your arguments assume that everyone can make the financial commitment to embrace these ideals and the concurrent ideas that follow – that all our food should be raised ethically, sustainably [emphasis on care for the land], and that we should all know the farmers we buy from and pay fair prices for their labor. And while I’m with you and agree that we should do this, the fact is most people cannot afford to do this even if they might want to. If this were so, all of our stores would embrace the organic credo and perhaps, be a cross between Whole Foods [and their ilk] and farmer’s markets.

    Moreover, these arguments ignore a basic tenet – the markets are not local but global. Do we look back, or move forward. So what’s the solution – what the middle ground. We have to feed the populace. We can’t ignore the global market? And clearly, most people cannot afford the path you’ve advocated. Whats the plan?

    • F. Sion said...

      Sorry, but that’s rather ignorant. Supermarkets and the whole meat supply chain care only about ONE thing, as with any other company who makes or sells something: SALES FIGURES. They want to earn money so the shareholders (rich people, other big companies, holding companies etc) can get even richer than they already are.

      We don’t need meat every day, but even people who struggle in a country as the US (or any other Western country) eat meat almost every day. Why? Because it’s cheap. In most of the cases it’s even cheaper than certain vegetables or fruit. I you eat meat once a week, that’s more than enough. And with the amount of money you safe there, you can easily make the choice to buy ecological and ‘animal friendly’ meat.

  4. doug madigan said...

    I have cut back drastically on meat consumption and try to only eat sustainably-raised antibiotic-free meats because of the antibiotic resistant super bugs.

  5. Tim Donahue said...

    Made the Asian Veal recipe last night. It was great.

  6. David Levenson said...

    I realize you are paying NYC affected prices for meat you trust, but here in Binghamton, NY the prices I pay for humanely raised, mainly organic meat is competitive with factory-farm meats at the supermarket. Nothing is $25 per pound, even fine lamb. The biggest difference is chicken, which runs about $3.50 per pound, but the beef, lamb, pork, veal, and goat are only slightly more (and at times the same) as the supermarket. I have visited these farms, so I know these are trustworthy folks. Before mentioning prices, which in turn may drive people away, I suggest you visit less urban areas. Tell you what – visit here, we’ll put you up, and I’ll take you to the farms and farmers!

  7. Elizabeth Hirsh said...

    Why make peace with meat? Why not make peace with ourselves, and with other sentient beings? There are a million delicious, nutritious things to eat that don’t cause suffering, pollute the planet, and enrich unscrupulous providers!

  8. Jeanie said...

    We had the pork portobello burgers made with locally raised pork- delicious! I will definitely make this again and again. So easy and so much tastier than a plain burger- moist and flavorful. Thanks so much!

  9. rb said...

    Well, you’ve conviced me. I live in Berkeley and have spent years dealing wtih the crap you get in your comments. Liberal on liberal violence.

    I’m not giving up eggs though. My two rescue hens are beyond humanely raised – in fact, spoiled – and their egge are delish. I grew up on a small farm in central CA and we killed our chickens when too told to lay, but I’ll probably just keep these two on as pets.

  10. Louise Bloom said...

    Having a no-red-meat diet has a tremendous effect to my health as well as to my mentality.(I occasionally eat fish and organic chicken.) Eating mostly raw vegetables and fruits can really contribute to positive attitude and clear mentality. So far that’s what I’m experiencing.

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