Confession: I Like Beef
Ruth’s Chris is hands down my favorite restaurant. When I bite into the succulent cut of meat delivered to me on a 500 degree plate, I can totally relate to that traitor dude in The Matrix who sold out the entire resistance movement for a steak. It’s that good.
But for some reason, lately I can’t stop thinking about where that juicy, perfectly cooked meat came from. Chalk it up to new mom hormones, but I kind of want to cry every time I think about eating a former furry friend.
It’s like a war between my taste buds and my conscience. For the past two months, my conscience has prevailed. I haven’t had a hit of the good stuff since St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage. (mmm…corned beef…)
Part of this might have to do with the newfound sensitivity I feel toward offspring of any species, courtesy of motherhood. It also might have something to do with the fact that my little girl has just started to eat solid foods. She can’t live on rice cereal forever, and as I introduce her to the delicious world of food, I want to do it responsibly.
I don’t know if this means I need to become a vegetarian. For now, it’s more an issue of wanting to make sure that the animals I eat and feed my family are raised and killed in a humane way. I don’t know a whole lot about what goes on at “factory farms,” but the tidbits I have heard from my vegetarian friends are enough to make me stop and think. I mean, if I was guaranteed that my hamburger previously lived like one of those smiling, chatty cows on the Real California Cheese commercials, I’d be totally down with omnivoring it up on the daily. But that’s the problem – I just don’t know where my food comes from.
I contacted Hank Shaw, the Sacramentan behind the award-winning Hunter Angler Gardener Cook blog. Hank describes himself as “not keen on factory farms.” I was encouraged by his commitment to eating responsibly, so I wanted to ask him how he finds what he calls “honest food.” He told me that he rarely purchased meat in the past five years because he hunts and fishes 99 percent of it. This is probably a good way to guarantee your meat was living a good life before it arrived on your plate. Unfortunately, I’m not what you’d call the hunting-for-food-in-the-wilderness kinda girl. (More like the hunting-for-a-bargain-at-the-mall kinda girl.)
Hank also said that when he does need certain meats that he can’t hunt, he buys them from John Bledsoe at the Davis farmer’s market on Saturdays or at the Sacramento farmer’s market on Sunday mornings. I plan to check out John’s meat offerings soon at either market.
Until then, I will allow my conscience and my taste buds to duke it out in this meat-free zone. And I’m thankful to have a few years to do a lot of research before my little girl starts requesting chicken McNuggets.
Do you have qualms about eating meat? Do you purchase your meat from any particular farms that you feel treat their animals humanely? Want to recommend any books on this subject? I’d love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment below or email girlsonthegrid AT gmail DOT com.
Guest blogger Molly DeFrank is deputy press secretary for Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. She recently took on a second full-time job: motherhood. In her spare time she watches piles of laundry take over her home. Her interests include cooking, reading and finding new ways to attach hair accessories to her baby girl’s bald-ish head.