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A’Greener’ Way To Eat Meat: The Unconventional Parts

By admin | October 25, 2011

Photo: Charles Haynes

By: Saira Malhotra

Last week the Guardian featured a post entitled ‘Greener Meat: The Offal Truth’. The article was in response to the many discussions that emerged from Sunday’s United Nations: World Food Day. There were questions of why some are eating to the point of obesity while others are starving to death, how the climate plays a role, and how to bring stability to food prices. The nation is becoming well acquainted with these discussion points and Felicity Lawrence of the Guardian, breaks it down in bite-sized portions and demonstrates how we as individuals can make a difference.

In recent years, the food industry has seen a rise in the number of chefs directing people to cook less conventional parts of the animal. Restaurants offer trendy options of ‘pan fried brain’, and ‘testicle fritters’. There is a rise in the number of cook books, with recipes and an education on using the whole animal, as well as chefs championing the cause, like Fergus Henderson.

In the West, on the whole, we have lost the chitterling eating generation. Reducing our choices to chicken breast or thighs, it is argued that we no longer even have the language to articulate the textures and flavors. But beyond taste, there is a larger deficit that is being overlooked – ‘wastage’. As economies grow, so do choices and it is at that point that the scales tip in favor of whim over responsibility. “If you kill an animal you should do it the honor of eating every last scrap of it, in the way that peasant farmers have through the centuries” according to the Colin Tudges book, Future Food.

It is also a question of sustainability. Tudges affirms that by ‘eating less meat’ we make a significant contribution. To maximize utilization of the animal, one is likely to feed many more mouths than just using parts of the animal. According to Planet Green, we are constantly plowing land “for grazing animals and their feed along with industrial animal farms” at cost to our environment “while working to meet our unsustainable demand for packaged cuts of protein.”

The challenge is to change peoples’ conservative relationship to meat. According to Lawrence, it will take a re-education of a whole generation that feels uncomfortable in the presence of dishes using these bold body parts. For the chefs that are aligned to the cause of sustainability, many are gently phasing in their customers and offering more ‘palatable’ dishes using these adventurous cuts.

Photo: Charles Haynes

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