04 January 2010

The Virtues of Meat

For a while we weren't buying a lot of meat, relying mostly on our CSA for vegetables and eating meat only occasionally, usually when at a restaurant.  But recently we've decided to try to eat locally raised meats only, which changes the situation.  It's much easier to buy local meat and cook it yourself than to eat it at any random restaurant (though more restaurants that focus on local food are opening all the time).  Our CSA (TaylOrganic Farm) offers beef sourced from another local farm, many farms sell meats at local markets (for instance, Riverview Farms at the Morningside market), and Whole Foods now carries local beef and pork in their meat department.  The benefits are many: animals that are more humanely treated and have more nutritious diets, producing meat that is better for you; meat that has traveled a shorter distance and is therefore fresher and requires less fuel to transport; and a product that supports local business and agriculture.

Additionally, after our meat cooking hiatus, it's really fun to be roasting, frying, and stewing.  Right now, I'm rendering some fat cut off a pork shoulder we cooked this weekend:


This is a really easy process that leaves you with two delicious products: pork fat (for cooking eggs, greens, etc) and cracklins (for snacking, cornbread, etc).  Someone recently told me that their relative squeezes out the cracklins with her hands, to get every last drop of lard, but I just drain them on a paper towel, because I don't have the asbestos hands of an old southern lady.  Yea, pig!

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