Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the great meat parade of '08

i love my husband. i think he is kind of hilarious in that he gets some idea in his mind and then he proceeds to do whatever it takes to make said idea happen. 

let me give you an example, with a bit of history first. so throughout college, matt was a vegetarian; his primary reason being that it takes far fewer resources to grow vegetables than meat, so the less meat that is produced and consumed, the more humans on this planet are able to eat. well, one night into living in mexico following college, he was no longer a vegetarian. he essentially had to eat what his hosts fed him, so back to a carnivore he went. now, this did not mean that he abandoned the philosophies that first led him to vegetarianism, but he did embrace the glories of meat wholeheartedly (with a bit of guilt about it now and then. he often says he should return to his veggie lifestyle). these days, he pretty much adores any cut of beef, pork, or poultry, as evidenced by the fact that he enjoyed both rabbit and boar when we were in italy last year. there are so many local and global issues of justice surrounding meat, however, and matt has done a lot of research and put a lot of thought into the world of meat consumption.

despite reading tons of michael pollan and the like, matt is a novice in the world of sustainable meat practices according to the guys from prather ranch, who sell at the farmer's market. nonetheless, he was thrilled when a friend of ours, sylvia, told him that together with her brothers she owned a ranch in livermore where they raise cows. the cows are happy cows as they are grass fed, organic, free range, etc. 

when matt learned that he could buy a quarter of a cow, he was thrilled. not, mind you, because we have some massive freezer lurking somewhere. in fact, we have a pretty crappy fridge with a teeny freezer. he realized, though, that he could likely gather some friends together who would go in on the quarter cow and divvy up the meat. it took a bunch of planning and arranging and emailing, but he managed to get 7 other takers so on sunday matt and his mom headed to the ranch to get our cow! they collected not only the meat, but also a bunch of the ranch's flies wandered into his mom's car too! (i asked, "because of the meat? nasty!" but no, the meat was all frozen; the flies just wanted to visit the big city.)

so matt got home, 116 pounds of meat later. (the quarter of our cow was actually 177 pounds, but then you have to subtract all of the bones) the funniest part of all of this was that then he proceeded to divide up all of the cuts of meat between our friends who had pitched in. now, you get all parts, from the filet mignon to neck bones and short ribs, as well as a lot of ground beef and different roasts. our 22 month old cow, well at least a 1/4 of him, ended up spread all over the floor of our neighbors kitchen. 

my brother aaron and matt developed this complex meat dividing chart with columns delineating the type of meat cut, the weight of each cut and the individual it would go to. it actually reminded me of the process of assigning seating at our wedding reception, because there was a lot of shifting and swapping and "no, that will only work here if that goes there. no wait, that won't work either." you know, you can't just plop people down at a table next to anyone, and you can't just assign random cuts of meat either. in the end, after considering all of the types of meat we had, what type of food each individual or couple typically cooked, and how many total pounds each one received, matt finally had a relatively equal division of beef. it took a few hours, and a lot of switching beef from one person's column to another, but our cow ultimately found its way to 8 different, and hopefully content, freezers.

we'll see how it tastes after all this, but no matter what, i think it was pretty fun for matt to go get his cow off of the ranch with not a single middle man in sight.


  1. you know your husband is brilliant, right?

  2. sorry about the flies--more protein


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