Archive for the MEAT POLITICS Category

Just 10,000 More Calories to Heaven

Posted in Fast Food, MEAT POLITICS with tags on October 26, 2009 by chomposaurus

Holy Mother of God.

“LEVEL ONE: A bun, grilled with cheese and bacon. It supports a 7 oz. cheeseburger, chicken fried bacon, chili cheese dog-burger, 7 oz. cheeseburger, and chicken-fried bacon.

LEVEL TWO: Grilled cheese with bacon, a 7 oz. cheeseburger, chicken fried bacon, chili cheese dog-burger, 7 oz. cheeseburger, and chicken-fried bacon.

LEVEL THREE: Grilled cheese with bacon, a fried egg, cooked to order, topped with onion rings and garnished – no, crowned – with Faribault Creamery cheese curds.”

Calories: Approximately 10,000. Cost: “$25, not counting medical care. By the way, we are not liable for injury,” warned Emerson. “You WILL be asked to sign a waiver” (see below).

This is all from Burger Jones, a Minneapolis burger bar seeking a bit of online attention. Well, after that photo I’m happy to give it to them. While some might find this burger to be an example of American consumptive extravagance, I see it more as a conceptual art piece designed to lay bare the fattiest contents of our diet without judgment. If you eat this in one sitting, you could die. But how many sittings would it take to eat it normal portions? Probably only a couple dozen. There’s something more here than a humorous, “fuck-you organic hippies!” sentiment. People are eating this every day, piece by piece, and we still don’t really know whether to celebrate or despite it, even though greasy foods are a center of our cultural experience. The war on saturated fat hasn’t lowered heart disease, and the war on obesity hasn’t made Americans skinnier. So do we need to do more, or sit back and enjoy our caloric arts?

“[T]he real tyrant is a man who sacrifices a whole nation to his ideal”

Posted in MEAT POLITICS on September 23, 2009 by chomposaurus

The NYTimes goes in-depth about what Mayor Bloomberg’s obsession with his own weight has done to the mind of the city.

Under his watch, the city has declared sodium an enemy, asking restaurants and food manufacturers to voluntarily cut the salt in their dishes by 20 percent or more, and encouraging diners to “shake the habit” by asking waiters for food without added salt.

But Mr. Bloomberg, 67, likes his popcorn so salty that it burns others’ lips. (At Gracie Mansion, the cooks deliver it to him with a salt shaker.) He sprinkles so much salt on his morning bagel “that it’s like a pretzel,” said the manager at Viand, a Greek diner near Mr. Bloomberg’s Upper East Side town house.

Not even pizza is spared a coat of sodium. When the mayor sat down to eat a slice at Denino’s Pizzeria Tavern on Staten Island recently, this reporter spotted him applying six dashes of salt to it.

A health tip sheet from the mayor’s office tells New Yorkers to “drink smart” by choosing water, even though Mr. Bloomberg has a three- to four-cup-a-day coffee habit.

“I can count on two hands the number of times I have seen him drink water,” said one dining companion, who spoke on condition of anonymity, so as not to offend the mayor (who likes his coffee weak, and with milk).

It’s a slippery slope:
Calorie Counts on menus? Excellent.
Telling people what they can eat? Pretty Scary.
Ads on subways making people feel horrible about their body first thing in the morning? Just plain cruel.

For a totally alternate take on fat and body image, one that would make Mayor Bloomberg gasp, check out:
America’s Moral Panic Over Obesity

(The subject line quote is spoken by Caligula in Camus’s play of the same name)

Dream Wedding

Posted in Fast Food on July 14, 2009 by chomposaurus

Yeah, I could totally see myself doing this.

You Cannot Get Swine Flu from Pork, Bacon or Delicious Ham

Posted in KNOW YOUR PIG, MEAT POLITICS, Pork, STUFF ABOUT MEAT, World of Meat with tags , , , on April 28, 2009 by chomposaurus

swine2What’s in a name? When it comes to today’s trendy new illness (move over, tapeworms!), Swine Flu, there simply is not much to fear in its etymology. True, the virus contains pig DNA; it also contains genetic material from humans and birds. It’s really, really difficult to spread a virus from pigs to humans. It happens about once a year. The bad stuff (i.e. Albert Camus’s The Plague) happens when the human who gets it does an above-average job of spreading it to other members of his species. Then the virate mutates, gets a passport, goes abroad, etc.

What I’m trying to say is: Bacon is still ok! Eat all the pork sausage you want. Don’t go all Indonesia on me and start dumping your Honey Baked Hams down the toilet. In the rare case of swine->man transmission, the swine would need to be alive, and you’d probably need to be bathing in its blood, Carrie-style. But even then, the chances of Carrie getting the flu are very low; she’d have to be bathing in the blood every day, or be a child with bad immune defenses who spent a creepy amount of time in the pig booth at the county fair. Don’t listen to me, listen to the CDC! In fact, doctors have yet to disprove that the flu can’t be cured with some good old-fashioned Swinetussin.

Ok, so let’s review:

Highly Likely to Infect You

Highly Likely to Infect You

Highly Likely to be Delicious

Highly Likely to be Delicious

Credit Card Debt? Global Warming? Just Eat More Chicken

Posted in MEAT POLITICS with tags on March 11, 2009 by chomposaurus

An interesting chart:


When the recession hits, people replace more expensive meat with chicken. No word on weather roadkill consumption has increased. But the article at discusses the climate consequences:

Now check out these carbon conversions for different kinds of meat:
1kg beef = 34.6 kg CO2
1kg lamb = 17.4 kg CO2
1kg pork = 6.35 kg CO2
1kg chicken = 4.57 kg CO2

Not too much to add here. But I will say that the benefits of eating less meat (and more efficient meat, to the extent it can be done without cruelty to the animals) are true during any point in the economic cycle. You save money and pounds by sticking with a diet that favors a few really good pieces of beef over Arby’s for lunch every other day.

I was looking for some sort of pun on eating the actual bear of “Bear Market” fame, but they all seemed too silly to bear.

Farmers’ Market Anxiety; Or, Who Has Time to Compare 10 Types of Carrots?

Posted in MEAT POLITICS with tags , , on February 27, 2009 by chomposaurus

I work near Union Square in NYC. Three times per week, there’s a huge farmers’ market in Union Square featuring several dozen purveyors of fresh, delicious looking organic food. And every time I see it, coming or going from work, I think, “I have to start buying delicious fresh local food veggies there!” But this statement does not fill me with anticipation or desire. It fills me with a sense of guilty anxiety, like when you’re putting off telling your girlfriend that you may have given her fish diabetes while she was on a business trip (Baby I am so, so sorry but you’re going to have to learn to give Bubbles insulin injections).

The only thing better than one produce section is 20 identical ones next to each other, right?

The only thing better than one produce section is 20 identical ones next to each other, right?

But why does fresh, delicious food make me anxious? I finally figured it out: I don’t have time for this shit.

Groceries stores were invented for a reason: make shopping for food easier and cheaper. Like most great inventions, they had serious problems when first unveiled. And some of those problems still exist today: low-quality food, way too many imported fruits promoted above in-season varieties, and a focus on processed foodstuffs. But things are improving! We now have Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and pretty much every major supermarket chain has organic sections. I know, labelling something organic has its own issues, and we have not perfected the system yet for figuring out what is truly naturally grown. But why must the local food movement insist that the *only* solution to this is to spend hours of my valuable time picking through piles of beets at 10 different stands, worried that I have no idea what distinguishes a good beet from a great beet, and then worried whether people judge you based on your beet-picking abilities. Let me say it again: I don’t have time for that shit. And sense farmer’s markets don’t offer you any cost savings because they are generally such small operations, why not pay someone else to do the picking for you, and to do it more efficiently?

Progress! It's ok, people.

Progress! It's ok, people.

The conclusion being, I’m going to shop at the grocery store. Yeah, you heard me right: I plan to purchase my food from a business that sells food. And when I follow Mike Nelson’s lead and start an all-bacon diet, I am not concerned that between the Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Food Emporium on my block, I can find some delicious, organic and well-priced meat without spending hours of my time sorting through the 8 premium meat dealer booths spread out over a cold, windy city square. The Whole Foods pictured above even has a green roof.

I think this rabbit is a powerful metaphor.

I think this rabbit is a powerful metaphor.

Progress, people. Don’t be afraid of admitting that you like the convenience of shopping in a store that carries all the food you need in one place. If you don’t like what your grocery store’s selling, don’t buy it. And tell them why – many times, they’ll actually listen. That’s how the free market works.

Thoreau and Flexitarians

Posted in MEAT POLITICS with tags , on February 9, 2009 by chomposaurus

Is eating meat more trouble than it’s worth? Henry Thoreau thought so, one of the many reasons he became a Vegetarian. Stefany Anne Golberg covers his conversion in an article for the Smart Set (h/t: The Daily Dish)

“The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness,” [Thoreau] wrote in Walden, “and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth.” You can stand around in the forest, waiting to spear, skin, and roast a bunny for your next meal, but…why?

These days, since we see so little of the effort that goes into producing meat, choosing to pay for others to exert that effort instead, it’s easy to lose track of this. But you are spending more of your resources of money and health each time you choose meat over equally nutritious fruits, vegetables and grain. That’s why I and others like me continue to argue for smarter meat eating, which means eating less meat, but that meat is of a higher quality. Kind of like the way a long-term relationship is more rewarding than random hookups to all but the most lustful of individuals. Give up quantity for quality (of meat and of life).

Mark Bittman’s new book, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes, contains a bold argument for Flexitarianism. In this way of life, a majority of one’s meals are vegetarian. Bittman claims that the best way to achieve this is to eat no meat before dinner. Not a bad plan, if you can kick the habit of that ham sandwich at lunch.

Obama at Ben’s Chili Bowl: Our New President Knows How To Eat

Posted in Hot Dogs, MEAT POLITICS, STUFF ABOUT MEAT with tags , on January 13, 2009 by chomposaurus

So, in case you haven’t heard the biggest meat news of the week, President-Elect Obama visited one of the best fast-food joints in the country, Ben’s Chili Bowl. Here’s the video:

Ben’s Chili Bowl is a 24-hour mecca in D.C., a city that generally shuts down by 1 in the morning. I stumbled in many times after a concert at the 9:30 Club, in desperate need of some chili cheese fries, praying to Allah that there would be a cabbie willing to take me back to Georgetown after I stuffed myself. Follow Barack’s lead and visit next time you’re in the District.

Burger King Flame: Ladies Luv It When You Smell Like Beef

Posted in Burgers, Fast Food, STUFF ABOUT MEAT with tags , on December 19, 2008 by chomposaurus

My friends, no one needs cologne that smells like beef. But I have a lot of things I don’t need, such as a giant marble lion toothbrush holder, many dozen classic Transformers toys, and a latex sauce pan cover shaped like a pig’s face. So enter Burger King to fill my non-need for a flame-brioled-burger-scented cologne with their new offering, Flame (note the awesome url: Yes, thanks to the ever-frighetning King, you can now smell like a Whopper at your holiday party.

Fortunately, it’s available at Ricky’s NYC… so I had to go out and buy some. The bored clerks in the store were more than happy to point me to it. The lady at the register thought it was gross, then admitted that she wouldn’t mind smelling like “chicken nuggets.” I found myself agreeing with her, much to my own surprise and chagrin. Her colleague called us gross, adding that she wouldn’t object to a perfume that had the essence of soul food, including fried chicken, macaroni & cheese and greens. I paid my $3.99 and quickly stuffed the package – which looked like a shiny black condom wrapper with a burger king logo – into my bag.

After resisting the urge to spray the office vegetarians with the small bottle of Flame, I boldly applied some to my own wrists. And sprayed some in the air. The result: universal disgust. Everyone gathered around began coughing. And therein lies the horrible secret of Flame: it’s not burger-scented. It’s “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat,” which I think means it’s shitty cologne with a bit of salt rubbed into it. Try as I might, I could not smell anything related to meat. If you want to know what a Burger King smells like when it’s burning down in a horrible grease fire, though, this is probably as close as you get to the real thing. The acrid, eye-watering scent will not attract anything to you. Even my dog would start choking if it licked this off my wrist.

I’m glad I tried it, so you don’t have to. If this is what The King smells like then I don’t want him anywhere near me. Once again, America’s junk food vendors have produced something truly sub-par and repulsive.

Sunday Protein: Trillions of Farm Animals

Posted in MEAT POLITICS with tags on December 6, 2008 by chomposaurus

Imagine every soon-to-be-eaten cow, pig, goat and chicken currently alive waiting for you when you open the door in the morning. You would see trillions of animals. As someone who can barely imagine what a million of something looks like, I don’t think I can conceive of a trillion beasts. But it’s important to think about such numbers when considering why it’s important to eat “green” meat, and less of it.

I got this idea from the NYTimes article this week talking about the impact of rising meat consumption on the fight against global warming. These ideas have been discussed elsewhere, but this article uses more numbers to put a better perspective on it.

“I’m not sure that the system we have for livestock can be sustainable,” said Dr. Pachauri of the United Nations. A sober scientist, he suggests that “the most attractive” near-term solution is for everyone simply to “reduce meat consumption,” a change he says would have more effect than switching to a hybrid car.

Manure, flatus, refrigeration, transportation and feeding – all combine to make your daily meat less eco-friendly than the Ford Expidition you load up with ‘brauts for tailgating. So, in this case, less is more: eat less meat now to make sure the industry is sustainable and we won’t be eating too much tofurky on Thanksgiving or quorn at Christmas.

[Image by Matt Gardy]