Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rule #23

Tonight, I decided to open up a new book that was given to me, select a page randomly, and write my thoughts about the matter. The new book is Michael Pollen's eaters manual, Food Rules. If you've followed Michael Pollen, food author extraordinaire, you would also know he is well known for other books such as the Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food. What he has done in his latest book is select sixty four rules one can follow to make eating simple in terms of our daily decisions about food.

So, flipping to a page in my book led me to rule #23: Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food.

It's a fact that most Americans eat meat two or three times per day. Haven given up meat for Lent before, and not coming from a vegetarian background whatsoever, I can understand how hard it is to cut back on the amount of meat I eat. However, eating meat doesn't have to be an all or nothing endeavor. If we treat meat as a luxury, saving it for special occasion meals, it leaves us with more money in our pockets to buy more food, eat more nutritionally if we were to cut back on red meats, or perhaps spend the dollars we save to purchase grass fed or more expensive cuts of meat. If you begin to think differently about how you use meat in meals it is also easier to make that meat stretch by getting more money from your purchase and still yield a lot of flavor from your food. For instance, last week I purchased a ham hock. Anyone purchase one of those lately? Ham hocks, also known as hog jowls, pig's cheeks, or even pig's knuckles, is the pig's joint between the foot and the leg. It holds a tremendous amount of flavor, yet cost me only two dollars. Adding a ham hock to a large pot of soup is a great way to flavor a meal while adding very little meat. Thomas Jefferson was very wise when he recommended a mostly plant-based diet that uses meat chiefly as a "flavor principal". See what you can do to limit your meat intake to even just one meal a day, or better yet a handful of meals a week, and you will be making a big difference for our planet and your pocket book.

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