Putting Meat on the Legume Loyalist Table

{photo cred www.allposters.com}

This blog was built on vegetarianism. At my core, vegetarianism burns brightly and serves as a foundation for my passion for sustainable food issues. But some recent events and thought-inspiring conservations have compelled me to rethink my convictions. I never ever thought that I would say this but I’ve decided to rejoin my carnivorous peers: I, Stephanie Fisher, will eat meat.

So why would I, Stephanie Fisher the vegetarian, make such a strong statement in favor of what has been anathema to me for the past 5 or so years? You might recall when I attended a pig butchering demo a few months ago. I was so moved by the owners of the upstate pig farm The Piggery that I considered having a sizzling taste of the beast in front of me. Suddenly, supporting a local economy and sustainable family business trumped my personal and political ethics. A similar internal stirring hit me this past week as my food systems class visited a local butcher shop in the West Village. The field trip was part of our ‘carnivore nation’ section where we explored the historical and contemporary context of meat culture beyond the factory farm. On our reading list was a really great book on the rise of meat consumption in America – Roger Horowitz’s Putting Meat on the American Table.

Similarly as persuasive is Edible Manhattan‘s “Good Meat” issue. Eating ‘good meat’ can be an expression of sustainability and self-sufficiency: to eat good meat is to understand the origins of your food, to know what questions to ask of your butcher or farmer. Of course, deciding “what is good meat” is inevitably complex and includes considering: What animal did it come from? What was the animal fed? How was the animal raised? How far did the meat travel? Is it a local farm? Is it a local butcher? Are their farm/business practices sustainable and good for the planet and local community?

So once I’ve considered all of these questions, which I have the privilege of doing here in my urban context where the resources are readily available to me, I find that there is life for the carnivore beyond the factory farm.

ADDENDUM: April fools!


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