Make Peace With Meat

I probably eat a third as much meat as I used to and, on the not-rare (three times a week?) occasions that I do indulge, I eat less of it.

I’m reminded of a really good plate of slow-roasted lamb shoulder I had in Seattle two weeks ago; there were about six ounces on the plate, and I ate half. It was delicious, and it was enough. This is no longer a conscious thing but a new habit.

The new habits, I suppose, come from new attitudes. The vast majority of Americans still eat meat at least some of the time. Statistically, most of us eat it in unwise, unsustainable and unhealthful quantities.

I’m betting that you eat meat more consciously (and less of it) than you once did. The health, environmental and ethical concerns affect the attitudes of almost everyone I encounter, and although our priorities differ, few people I know indiscriminately fill their supermarket carts with shrink-wrapped meat and leave. Not long ago, almost all of us did that.

It was never easy to judge meat quality, and that remains the case. The Agriculture Department grades meat by fat content, “select” being the leanest and “prime” the fattiest. This is not an adequate system for those of us who consider other things when we buy meat, including at least some assurance that the animal was treated humanely. (There are also the issues of aging — with beef at least — and the animal’s breed, but I’m not getting into that here.)

Read full text at The New York Times