Sunday, May 5, 2013

Weekend Cooking; Will the real meat please stand up...


Last night as I made this recipe pulled from the pages of the May 2013 Food Network Magazine I pondered the life cycle of meat in recent history.   My mom is a major carnivore and like many moms of the 70's most of her meals centered around meat.  As I gently folded the onions, celery, eggs, and breadcrumbs into the ground meat I contemplated the meat we ate growing up, which made me ponder how the industry has changed and morphed it into something dirty.  Raising cattle on a farm is no longer how we get the meat that sits in the grocery store case for purchase.

I paid $5.00 a pound for the meat I was now kneading; organic local farm raised beef  but I know back in the day organic wasn't available and my mom probably bought it straight from the meat counter at our local Piggly Wiggly.  I believe it was real meat back then; no feedlot, no pink slime, no ammonia baths, no canibal cows, just happy bovines out there in the field. Cows were given antibiotics when they were sick not to combat every day life in the feedlot. Yes, they still went to a slaughter house (horrible in itself) but we didn't "cleanse" the meat of E-coli or salmonella because it wasn't dirty.  We dirtied the meat when fast food needed massive pounds of meat to be sold at super low prices.  Since then all they've done is continue to dirty it to make more money for our faster lifestyle like this "miracle decision" by BPI owner Eldon N. Roth to use previously unusable beef drippings, clean them using ammonia gas, and add them in as a filler to hamburger all over the country:

"The company says its processed beef, a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips, is used in a majority of the hamburger sold nationwide. But it has remained little known outside industry and government circles. Federal officials agreed to the company’s request that the ammonia be classified as a “processing agent” and not an ingredient that would be listed on labels." (NY Times) 

It is time for everyone to understand more about your food.  It is worth it to buy from a local farmer to get real meat, to find real food.  Our long term health and well-being is at risk if we don't pay attention.

Ways to get informed:

NY Times article about ammonia gassed meat from Beef Products Inc. (BPI).
Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa
Super Size Me by Morgan Spurlock
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution video about ammonia washing
The Truth about Food by Robert Kenner video on Lip

Okay now that I've scared the crap out of you or informed you, however you want to look at it I have a recipe to share.  This meatloaf recipe comes from the Fun Cooking; Kids' Meal

Turkey Meatloaf TV Dinner
(adapted)

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 small onion, grated
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup organic ketchup
1 T chopped fresh parsley
kosher salt and ground pepper
2 tsp soy sauce/tamari sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1. Make the meatloaf; preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray (I make my own from a mister).  Put the turkey, onion, breadcrumbs, celery, egg, 2 T ketchup, parsley, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste in bowl.  Mix with your hands until just combined, then transfer to loaf pan.  

2. Combine remaining ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce in a small bowl; spread two T. of this mixture over the meatloaf.  Bake until the top begins to brown, about 30 minutes, then spread the remaining mixture over the top again and continue to bake for 15-20  more minutes.  Thermometer will register 165 degrees when finished.  

The article pairs this with mashed potatoes and peas; I did a scalloped potato recipe and broccoli.  It was all good.  Also I cannot find good turkey meat so I used ground beef but it was good quality.  Use what you have, love what you make.  Be present.

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking from Beth Fish Reads.  Click her link to find many other joyful posts about the wonders of food.