A Texan’s case for eating less meat

Photo: David Humpohl

Editor’s note: I briefly considered calling this piece “Meat your maker”,  or “You are what you meat”, but considering it crass, I quickly nixed it. You’re very welcome.

Growing up in Texas, I ate a lot of meat. And not just any meat, I ate steak. At least once a week we had steak, and I don’t just mean beef. I mean 12-ounce strip steaks, grilled, and probably served with a hefty amount of thoroughly buttered carbs. Probably rice. We grow a lot of rice in Texas. Naturally, it goes without saying that meat, particularly red meat, is just plain bad for you. Sure people need protein, but beef is far and away the most needlessly harmful way to get it.

But we as humans are hard-wired to want meat. The Neanderthal in us is always there, tapping you on the shoulder with his dirty, stubby cave-fingers, telling you to just fucking eat the damn thing. It took us so much energy to bludgeon it to death, after all. Modern man, of course, has no such trials, and is hard-pressed to do anywhere near the amount of exercise needed to work off a Flintstone-esque side of beef. For those of us without religious constraints or Greenpeace-grade indignation, the Neanderthal usually wins. And that, as they say, is why you’re fat.

As I get older, I know the Neanderthal must lose. Sorry, Krog, I can’t have you making my decisions for me. You’re dumb, anyway, and your cave drawings are childlike at best, regardless of what Werner Herzog says. I’ve tried, with some success, to limit myself to one smallish serving of meat a day. It rarely works, but I feel better for the battle. In all honesty, it should be an easy one to wage. Meat these days, even in our 21st century food renaissance, is just not good. I certainly don’t mean to say that I don’t like bacon, or double-cut pork chops, or carne asada, or pastrami sandwiches. Oh, no. It is precisely because I love them that I’m committed to cutting back. The simple fact is that meat isn’t treated with respect. Now, I’m not talking about animals, here. That’s a different article, and one I’m not equipped to write. I’m talking about meat. Why is something so delicious, so primal, so versatile relegated to the minor leagues of overcooked burgers and chewy chicken nubs? Why aren’t we swinging for the fences? Why haven’t we brought meat back up to the big time, to laborious Sunday dinners and weekend spanning barbecues?

We know it’s bad for us, of course. But we also know that Krog will never stopping beating us over the head with the simple fact that we want it. If we put meat in its rightful place, as something to be cherished, we simply won’t be able to eat it all the time. It’ll just be too much work. I’m certainly not going to be braising any pork roasts in the office microwave for lunch.

It’s almost like we hate meat. And that’s just wrong. So I humbly ask that we reaffirm our love for our hooved and taloned friends, and treat our meat with the respect — and love — that even a Neanderthal would know it deserves. —AR

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2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Beautiful prose, well said. Related video for good measure: http://vimeo.com/32367993.

  2. I take issue with your diminutive and uninformed depictions of Neanderthals. Neanderthals were actually relatively comparable in nature to the anatomically modern humans they coexisted with in Europe and the Middle East. Neanderthals also cared for their sick and elderly, had a language and even had religious practices. Surely they are not the meat hungry, knuckle dragging cave dwellers you depict them as…

    But yes, there is a problem with poorly cooked meat. Anything cooked higher than medium is a waste of money in my opinion.

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