Archive for May, 2008

Query of the Day: Duck Tongues

Posted in Fowl with tags , on May 31, 2008 by chomposaurus

Today is from the department of “Why on earth is Chomposaurus coming up for a search like this”:

Do ducks breathe through their tongues?

First: What?

Second: If we were in my 9th grade Biology class with Mr. B, you would have just gotten hit with a ruler.

Third: It’s actually somewhat true. Ducks apparently have nostrils in the back of their beaks which are weirdly connected to their tongues. I was not able to find an internet source to confirm that this was 100% true, but it seems to match the diagrams I found. Although you’re not likely to see a duck panting like a dog, they do have some strange anatomy going on. For even weirder breathing habits (i.e. breathing through your skin) check out this lovely lungless salamander:

Or if you don’t believe me about the duck tongues, well then you can just go to Hong Kong and eat one yourself.

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The Meat Wall Equation

Posted in Burgers, Meat Devices, MEAT POLITICS with tags , , on May 30, 2008 by chomposaurus


It’s a relatively meatless Friday, so let’s take a moment to think about my favorite made up term, the Meat Wall, which is the invisible barrier made up of population and arable land that we are racing towards. Eventually, there will not be enough free land on Earth to raise the cows, pigs, chickens and kangaroos necessary to feed us meat at the levels we now expect. When will we reach that point, and what will happen? I’m not sure, but I think there must be a way to find out.

There will be another 3 billion people on earth by 2050, barring the rapid development of Martian colonies. Even if only a sixth of those new people can afford to eat at the current American rate of 2,920 oz. of meat per year, the world will need to produce 91 billion more pounds of meat by 2050. My friends, that is a lot of effing cows.

I’m not worried about the population outgrowing the total food supply – you can go talk to Thomas Malthus about that one.. I’m talking about a matter of preference and taste; people want more meat than they can have. Will meat prices go up, consumption go down or both? How will it change our culture? These questions are harder to answer.

But it is possible to judge just how finite meat is. If we know how much land a typical livestock animal needs, and we know how much total farming land is available, we can calculate the theoretical upper limit on the amount of animals the earth can sustain. Including ratios for types of animals, land used for waste, and, most importantly, level of meat consumption per capita, we could look at scenarios for when the earth would actually hit the meat wall.

Sadly, I’m not an economist. I’m a freelance meat writer. But on the odd chance that an economist stumbles upon this blog while searching for the best burger on Wall St., I challenge him or her to think about this equation. The future of our burgers, barring the development of an infinite cow machine or lunar beef dome, depends on it.

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Know Your Cow: Sweetbreads

Posted in Beef, KNOW YOUR COW, Sweetbreads with tags , on May 29, 2008 by chomposaurus


After being featured in not one but two dishes on Top Chef last night, sweetbreads are piquing the curiosity of would-be gourmets throughout the reality TV viewing world. So, what exactly is a sweetbread? The answer is possibly less appetizing than you thought.

Most mammals, including humans and cows, have a thymus, a gland that helps produce immune cells, such as T cells. Cows have more than one thymus, in their neck and by their heart. They’re only prominent in young cows, thus they are frequently referred to as “veal sweetbreads.” If someone says “beef sweetbreads” to you then they are either stupid, or are they are Bobby Flay trying to trick you into looking stupid. In either case you should hit them with the nearest mallet.

Preparing sweetbreads involves removing the outer membrane by soaking them in salt water, usually overnight. They can then be poached, braised or straight-up deep fried. Like Lisa said on Top Chef last night, they’re kind of like a big beefy chicken nugget.

Sweetbreads information on the internet seems to vary. Some sites insist that the pancreas is also a sweetbread; others say it is only the thymus. Many sites talk about whether lamb or pork sweetbreads are worth eating – lamb seems to be generally accepted. Explore the interwebs for more info; meanwhile, here’s Stephanie from Top Chef’s veal sweetbreads recipe.

Meatsites: Hamburger America

Posted in Burgers with tags , on May 29, 2008 by chomposaurus


World-Renowned Burger Expert George Motz has a blog, a book and a film about the hamburger, America’s favorite food. If you want to learn an insane amount about burgers, check it out. It’s an invaluable resource for the burger adventurer in you.

Also, did anyone else know Wednesday was “National Hamburger Day”? Why wasn’t that on my World Wildlife Fund desk calendar?

Query of the Day, 5/28/2008

Posted in Game, Guniea Pig, STRANGE MEAT with tags , , , on May 28, 2008 by chomposaurus


We started a new feature here on Chomposaurus, using the WordPress “google search terms” tracker to find out what questions people are asking this blog to answer. Here’s today’s anonymous query:

guinea pig meat chicago?

I guess he or she read our post last week about the Peruvian Last Supper. Anyway, after some research there appear to be two restaurants in the city by the lake where you can get some fried cuy: La Sierra and Rondador. However, it may or may not be available on a given night, and sometimes it might not show up on the menu even if they have it (silly squeamish Americans). Don’t be afraid to call ahead and ask.

Pet store owners of Chicago should beware: there may be a hungry person stopping in to ask how “fresh” your guinea pigs are. Just imagine what he or she would have done *before* google. Asking your friends if they’ve been to a restaurant with “some good cavy” is a recipe for social awkwardness.

The Bison Challenge

Posted in Game with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2008 by chomposaurus

When I first started this blog, I sent an email to my friends announcing its arrival. Since most of my friends have Gmail, the resulting Google Ads that appeared alongside our meat discussion were quite interesting, and in some cases, hilarious.

The strangest result we found was the truly huge amount of advertisers offering to ship fresh bison meat straight from their farm. Is there such a huge demand for air-mailed buffalo? Or are buffalo connaisseurs concentrated on the internet? It’s a mystery.

In any case, my friend Rosie, who lives in Wyoming and was raised in Omaha, always says that the buffalo steaks and burgers out there are much tastier than the ones you can get at the butchers of the east coast. So, I’m inaugurating the (1st Annual?) Chomposaurus Bison Challenge, where we ask purveyors of fresh buffalo from the heartland to send us meat that we will test (through the most scientific of eating). We will compare it to the frozen buffalo patties you can buy on the east coast and let you know what the difference is and where you should order your tasty bison from.

If you have suggestions of where we should get our buffalo or how we should cook it for maximum flavor, please leave a comment or email us.

Now It’s Easier to BBQ Daffy & Donald

Posted in BBQ, Fowl, Hot Dogs with tags on May 28, 2008 by chomposaurus


Just in time for summer, D’artagnan has introduced their Duck Dog… which is a hot dog made out of free-range organic ducks. Why on earth hasn’t someone thought of this before? The fact that we haven’t yet tried one of these is just dethpicable.

Also available are premium beef, buffalo and pork… click below for the info from the press release. Picture is from the NYTimes.
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