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Eat. Meat. Repeat. It’s National Meat Week!

An oft-repeated koan of the conscious or ethical foodie movement and the environmental movement is that adopting a vegan diet will do more to heal the ills of the planet than buying a brand new Prius.

Here at Chelsea Green, we believe that it’s unreasonable to expect the entire meat-loving world to give up their steaks and drumsticks, their shortribs and salame, their sashimi and their kibbe. Instead of a radical approach, influenced as much by ideology as it is by positive intention, we would like to suggest a corollary to the meatless mission: eat less meat, grassfed only, local if possible.

Since this is National Meat Week, a relatively new holiday created by Erni Walker and Chris Cantey, it’s a perfect time to try some new recipes specifically designed for sustainably-raised meats. If you haven’t already, you should also browse your local farmers’ offerings at Local Harvest or FarmPlate to find a source of good meat near you.

Eating the entire animal is a good way to maximize the pleasure and nutrition one can get from carnivory. Grassfed beef farmer Shannon Hayes’s new book, Long Way on a Little is designed to help meat-lovers do this. Check out her four “offal” recipes, recently shared by Mother Earth News.

Hayes’s other books also encourage conscious eaters to enjoy meat responsibly. The Farmer and the Grill, and The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook are both excellent additions to any planet-loving omnivore’s kitchen bookshelf.

If you already have a stockpile of excellent recipes, but want to learn more about why and how meat can be part of a healthy planet, you might want to check out Simon Fairlie’s info-packed book Meat: A Benign Extravagance.

Fairlie makes the case for pastured livestock as part of a soil-healing, integrated permaculture system. His arguments are strong enough that they even made George Monbiot change his mind about the benefits of a vegetarian diet! Even if you’re already convinced, Meat will give context and depth to your understanding of just why meat doesn’t have to be taboo—and some great talking points when you’re debating your vegan or vegetarian kin.

For people in climates with cold winters, meat has traditionally been a reliable source of nutrition through the dark half of the year. Of course, with well-insulated homes, heaters of all shapes and sorts, refrigerators to keep food fresh INSIDE our toasty warm houses, and a globalized food system that provides even Vermonters with fresh tomatoes in February you can understand why we’ve lost touch with some of our traditional foodways.

Full Moon Feast, by Jessica Prentice seeks to re-educate us about these traditions, and how they intertwine with the changing seasons. With a chapter for each month, or moon, this cookbook is full of interesting lore and delicious recipes. Try this one for Meat Week: Swedish Meatballs.

Another way to look at the meat issue is by paying careful attention to the health of livestock animals. Cattle, pigs, and poultry raised in commercial-scale facilities and fed corn and soy rations laced with antibiotics are definitely worth avoiding for many reasons. But chickens raised with care in your backyard or on a farmer’s pasture are a completely different story.

Harvey Ussery cares for his flock with a holistic attitude influenced by his studies in Zen Buddhism. His book, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock, outlines Ussery’s methods for raising healthy and happy birds, including how to pasture them, and how to raise a completely local food source for them by harvesting grubs. He even includes a few recipes, like this one for making a simple, versatile, and healthy broth.


How well do you know your charcuterie?

Prosciutto. Andouille. Country ham. The extraordinary rise in popularity of cured meats in recent years often overlooks the fact that the ancient practice of meat preservation through the use of salt, time, and smoke began as a survival technique. All over the world, various cultures developed ways to extend the viability of the hunt—and later […] Read More

Chelsea Green Weekly for May 5, 2017

Ever wonder what your favorite Chelsea Green authors do between writing groundbreaking–both literally and figuratively–books? Here are the best links and resources for your weekend reading pleasure. Let’s start with The Alzheimer’s Antidote. The Alzheimer’s Antidote Amy Berger has been making the rounds on the health, wellness, and fitness circuit, explaining the theories behind her revolutionary […] Read More

Learn from Chelsea Green authors this summer at Sterling College

Each summer, the School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College in Vermont offers continuing education designed specifically for “agrarians, culinarians, entrepreneurs, and lifelong learners.” Chelsea Green is proud to partner with this program so you can learn from our expert authors in a hands-on, experiential setting at Sterling’s farm and teaching kitchen. Be sure to read […] Read More

4 Books for Growing Food in Winter

Don’t let cold weather stop you from producing and enjoying your own food. For many, the coming of winter simply means cultivation moves indoors or under cover. Small farmers, homesteaders, home gardeners, and commercial growers can extend the growing season with techniques outlined in these essential books. There’s no need for urbanites and small-space dwellers […] Read More

Is My Broth (or Stock) Bad?

Are you planning to start the GAPS diet or any other diet aimed at boosting gut health this year? If so, chances are that stocks and broths are critical components. Even if you’re not changing the way you eat, but you often have pots of aromatic goodness bubbling on your stove, you may have wondered, […] Read More
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