Don’t Blame Factory Farms

There’s a test of wills happening.  Americans are eating as much meat as they can as fast as they can, and factory farms are growing meat as fast as they can.  Who will blink first?  You can be sure it wont be the farms, they’re just keeping up with demand and making shit-loads of money doing it. So, the onus falls on us, the American public.

We cannot just blame the fast food, double stacked, meat-lovers, super-sized, meat wrapped in more meat crowd. While the problem falls heavily on that sector since it’s cheap, poor quality factory raised meat that supplies the restaurants that manufacture double pepperoni with bacon-wrapped crust pizzas, I’m as guilty as anyone else, I love meat.

The last time Jennifer and I went to a fine dining restaurant I ordered one of the nightly specials, a 20oz cowboy steak for a buck short of $60.  I got a pretty good steak on a wood plank with a comparatively small amount of potato and vegetable.  About half way through I realized I had made a bad choice. It wasn’t because it wasn’t good, it was because I was tired of that meat in front of me and I just wanted it to go away.  It was a lesson I needed to learn, or relearn. It was obvious that this wasn’t a factory produced steak, but I couldn’t help feeling like I’d fed into the American way of life when it comes to meat.

A 10oz steak is plenty, a 6oz burger is plenty, it’s ok to get asparagus or peppers on your pizza, and it’s ok to limit yourself to less meat and supplement the loss with more vegetables.  If you’re in need of beef, make steak tacos, with avocado, and tomatoes.  Yes, if you love meat, eat it. Just eat less of it.

While I hope I’m reaching both the Wendy’s Triple folks and the “I only eat pasture raised, grass-fed, free-range…” people here.  I suspect most of us fall in the middle, and I suspect we are the ones who can make the biggest impact.  Those of us who care about food, where it comes from, and how the animals we will consume are treated need to really take a look at who’s at fault here.  Many of us who do care do not exclusively buy from small farms as the perception is that it’s too expensive.  Sure, it costs more, but if you consume half as much it becomes affordable.  Factory farms need to produce meat like they do in order to keep up with the demand, to keep pace with a meat-loving culture that is America.  So, not only should you eat less to diminish the demand, you should know who you’re buying meat from.

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I started eating ramen on a regular basis in 1981, as my college roommate Seng Lim and I made it often. We had a Coleman propane camping stove hidden in our dorm room.

We also had a full size refrigerator hidden in our closet. We kept bok choy, beef, pork, eggs, and beer in it.

Panera is now doing ramen bowls. There’s another bandwagon we’ve overloaded.

A little knowledge goes a long way, usually the wrong way.

You don’t need to know much to have an opinion.

Breyer’s used to make ice cream, now they make frozen dairy desert.

Chipotle is pretty good.

Check out this blog, and this post about why it’s not time for spring menus yet.  http://humblingattempts.blogspot.com/2015/03/why-i-didnt-debut-spring-menu-this-past.html

Mushroom season is coming, I look forward to foragers appearing at the kitchen door.

Ramps too.

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11 thoughts on “Don’t Blame Factory Farms

  1. i spent a bit of time in Iowa with the Niman Ranch folks. After that I do blame factory farms. How about finding a way to raise more pigs that doesn’t brutalize an intelligent animal and fill the air with spores from fecal lakes. (Actually they’ve found a way; Niman sells all the pigs it can raise.)

    Generations are divided because a younger farmer opts to take a subsidy and build factory enclosures instead of doing the hard work of raising pigs the old fashioned way. For these farmers it’s like seeing your kid lost to crack.

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  2. Of course I blame factory farms for the way they raise and process animals. You’re missing something here, Otis. The headline was a bit tongue-in-cheek. Most Americans demand too much meat, and this demand has caused the factory farms. Traditional methods can produce enough meat for a reasonable demand, but our demand is not reasonable. Therefore, factories are required. They are a product of our own gluttony.

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  3. The term “factory farm” has taken on a meaning which makes me twitch like a steer hit with one of those “No Country for Old Men” guns, sorry. I equate it with the specific abhorrent practices of the terrible pork producers. You’re saying “factory” as in mass production, which is a different animal. Tongue in cheek understood and accepted, as long as it is free-range.

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  4. Now you’ve got me thinking about lengua and cabeza tacos. Que rico.

    In all seriousness, Yelp has a new sheriff in town. I’m not sure who these “self-serving cockroaches” might be, or what sort of shenanigans you are seeing. But please know that you can reach out to me privately, and I’ll look into the matter.

    ~The Ambassador

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  5. Daniel, It was kind of a general statement covering all those people who leave reviews for reasons other than to be of service to the community. They either have a grudge against a restaurant owner, or are associated with the competition in some way. While many of us can see through bogus reviews, Yelp is not unlike any other internet forum. Like government, it will always contain those with motives other than service to others.

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  6. I totally agree! And I am one who always used to look for the biggest steak on the menu. And I am so glad you gave you sign of approval to Chipotle. We rather enjoy going there.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Let it be known that Yelp has content guidelines which should cover some of your concerns: http://www.yelp.com/guidelines
    Yelp’s Terms of Service detail the actions Yelp can take against users who violate these content guidelines: http://www.yelp.com/static?p=tos

    Again, if there are specific reviewers or reviews that you think come from your competitors or other unscrupulous actors, please privately send them my way.

    Yelp is indeed different than online forums in that it is both self-filtered and community policed, with the goal of providing the most trustworthy reviews submitted to the site and mobile app. Plus, it has people like me to try and stay on top of it.

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