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Waste Not

January 31, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACritics of modern agriculture love to repeat a phrase attributed to Michael Pollan about not eating anything your grandparents wouldn’t consider food.

Now I don’t know about others, but my grandparents would be shocked at what is thrown “out” and goes to waste. Indeed when companies try to use it and produce food from it, they’re criticized for being greedy or somehow making us eat dogfood. Most would pass many of the things my grandparents ate as dog food. Unfit for human consumption. How spoiled are we?!

Think about it. 100+ years ago soy was not part of the overall diet – it was, according to agriculture books, an industrial crop! But take a look at many things that didn’t go to waste. Think “everything but the squeal”.

Recently it was a news item about souse or headcheese being recalled. “Mickey” said in the comments “If you are eating meat jelly made with flesh from the head a pig, you deserve to get sick. Don’t recall it.”  Another user said “Who in the world would eat that #$%$ in the first place? NOT me.” Yet in my grandparent’s time they’d eat it and be thankful!

Lean beef trimmings are called “pink slime” – think grandma would have turned away at beef bits? Or how about blood pudding – also called blood sausage – wasn’t thrown out to the dogs! Brains, lungs, kidneys – all used for edible meals! Heart and liver are more accepted, at least if people don’t look at what they are (many over the counter meat sticks use heart – lean muscle! – and spices).

Chicken feet are still considered food for people in some parts of the world. Here we’re too spoiled to entertain the thought of it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd let’s not forget, our grandparents had no qualms about eating horse – when the tractor broke ground and horses weren’t needed in the farm or war efforts, many met their end, especially the heavier draft horses. Some were used in dog food but even as late as the 1970s horse could be purchased here in the USA on meat counters. Now it’s a means of battle lines to talk of horse slaughter.

When you raise an animal yourself, and strive to make the most of it, then it makes sense to use everything. When we slaughter rabbits do we throw the fur away? No – it can be used for something (and is included for crafters too!)

Blood meal and bone meal are also, processed, soil amendments for gardens too. Are we so spoiled we can’t use the entire animal? What is done with the rest? Send it ‘away’? Take a note from grandparents (for some great grandparents) and fully appreciate not just the steak and burger but the rest of the animal, even that which we choose to not consume.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2013 5:47 PM

    Great article!

    • January 31, 2013 8:33 PM

      Thanks! And thanks for stopping by! It’s too easy to forget when we use bacon or chicken wings the rest of the pig or chicken must be used also! And everything has a purpose.

      • January 31, 2013 10:22 PM

        I eat liver and beef tongue – they are considered delicacies back home. I can see a look of suppressed horror on a cashier’s face when I buy liver or tongue here.

      • January 31, 2013 11:31 PM

        Definitely not something too many want to tackle! Ditto calf fries, aka Rocky Mountain oysters, oxtails and other ‘unusual’ things. Thanks for stopping by & commenting!

  2. January 31, 2013 7:15 PM

    Good point, Jan. Everything but the squeal.

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