A group of friends started Wooster Street Meats for just that purpose: to lay some spicy meat across your pectorals. They only have a few designs right now, but the color choices are impressive. And I’m sure all you Lady Chomposauruses out there will swoon over their beefy models. But don’t despair, they have women’s shirts as well.
Archive for October, 2008
Ezra Klein takes a long look at the extraordinarily dumb and hopefully collapsing system of meat production in the United States.
Overconsumption of meat imposes huge costs on both the environment and on public health. And that’s to say nothing of the indefensible cruelty that characterizes CAFO operations. Yet we spend billions to subsidize ever cheaper meat. And billions more to treat the ill health that results from our meat-heavy diets. And we will pay billions, even trillions, more, to handle the environmental damage that eventually results from these policies. It’s an incredibly odd state of affairs, like paying someone to touch up your house with lead paint.
I recently paid $6.99 for a frozen package of five chicken fingers from Whole Foods (review coming). Does this make me particularly happy? No. Because I’m used to having the equivalent of five chicken fingers of meat for probably half of my meals in a week, and that expectation is both unrealistic and increasingly harmful. Remember that in a market economy, you can pay for something with more than money: time, political capital, dead bodies, etc. We’ve been buying our meat on environmental and societal credit, and the interest charges are about to go way up.
(H/T: Andrew Sullivan)
To know the porterhouse is to know the T-bone and to know it well. And by “well,” I mean “gigantically.” For only the largest of T-bones are known as porterhouses: they must contain a significant portion of the tenderloin, or the smaller side of the short loin (the larger side being the strip loin). The “T” shape of the bone comes from the vertical cut down into the spine of the cow, with two bones going to the sides and one going down. Imagine the tenderloin being a little tunnel of deliciousness running along the length of the back half of the cow’s spine. So, for instance, if you were to get a T-bone from further up the cow (towards the head), with very little tenderloin, you could not call it a porterhouse. And the last 1/4 of the loin is the sirloin, less tender because it contains harder working muscles.
Are you confused? Then let me me clear things up for you: the porterhouse effing brings the flavor train right into your face’s station. You can grill or broil these suckers fast, and since they’re free of collagen they’re very tender, requiring less time on the grill. That means: RED meat. Caps-lock necessary.
Why is it called the porterhouse? Various theories abound, about a restaurant in NYC or some 19th century bearded douche named Porter. I say it’s because “beefmansion” sounded a bit uncouth for the olden times. If I ever have a restaurant, we’re definitely calling the big T-bones “Beefmansions.” Or possibly “Villa de Beouf.”
The most famous way to serve a T-Bone is the bistecca alla fiorentina of Tuscany, where the cut is so large it’s typically shared between two people after being grilled with sparse seasoning and olive oil over a wood grill. Hell, add some Roquefort or Bernaise. Because if you put anything less classic on one of these, like some sort of mushroom gravy or whatever, it will leap up from the table and wrestle you to the floor, leaving you greasy and hungry like you deserve to be.
If you put something lame on your porterhouse like cherry tomatoes, the steak MAY KILL YOU. But don’t forget the onion rings.
If you’re looking for a handy guide to all things meat to take with you to the grocery or the butcher, look no further than Aliza Green’s Field Guide to Meat, published by Quirk Books. It takes you step-by-step through 99% of the meats you could ever possibly need to purchase or prepare. The text is thorough and the pictures very instructive. The book is laid out like one of those Audubon Guides we all grew up using to identify the lizards or birds in our back yard. First, there’s a glossy section of photos to flip through to identify your meat. Then, you use the text corresponding to those photos to learn more about your cut and how to prepare it.
Most useful are the entries for each type of meat telling you its alternate names and how to pick out a tasty portion in the store. For instance, a boneless strip loin is the same thing as a Kansas City steak. When buying a lamb shoulder, the book suggests, get bone-in for quick cooking and look for an even shape with white fat and red-streaked bones. Basically, it makes you feel like less of an idiot when staring at a counter full of dead animals.
There are also animal cut charts and small, mildly entertaining introductions to each section (Beef, Veal, Lamb, Pork, Poultry & Game Birds, Game, Sausage & Cured Meats).
If I had any complaints about the book, it would be that the author felt the need to include a recipe for every type of meat, thus adding to the considerable thickness of the volume (it is supposed to be portable). Anyone dedicated enough to buy a field guide to take the butcher shop probably has their own recipes that they want to make. But you can’t argue too much against more meaty information.
Check out the book at Amazon.
Well, these past couple of weeks I’ve been a bad meat blogger, since I’ve been adjusting from the wild life of grad student to the staid existence of an urban 9-to-fiver. Regular updates will resume next week with a plethora of reviews.