We Need to Quit Our Obsession with Meat Before It Kills Us
On Sunday, March 9, Pitt Cue Co.—the meat mecca just off London’s Carnaby Street—hosted a special evening, a one-off “Highland Beef Night” that featured a nose-to-tail menu of beef dishes made from a pair of Highland cows the restaurant bought a year ago from a Cornish farmer. The animals spent two months dry-aging, their flesh and bones eventually finding their way into dishes like beef scrumpets, beef and bone-marrow pasties, and the king of all cuts, rib of beef.
All of it was fucking fantastic. Not many places in London do the things to pigs and cows that Pitt Cue does. But with everyone smiling at each other—lips slicked with grease, teeth like fence posts that live animals had been fired into—I couldn’t help thinking that there was something a bit culty about a group of humans gathering together to eat two specific cows.
Locavore obsessives will kick their hooves at this. Speak to any chef, food critic, restaurateur—whomever—and they’ll give you the eat-better-meat-less-often argument, droning on about where the animals lived, what they ate, how humanely they died, which artisan coffee they drank, etc., etc. All of that is irrefutable. If you’re going to eat meat, you can do your part by eating the best quality available and, when you can, consuming the animal’s less popular parts (neck fillet, onglet, cheek, trotters, that kind of stuff) and not just the common cuts.
Meanwhile, we’ve become increasingly obsessed with meat. If an event like Highland Beef Night had been touted even a few years ago, there’s no way it would have pulled in the people it did on Sunday. Meat is now highly fetishized, especially among young people. Burgers are the new tits—if you look at any social media platform, there are as many 20-something men posting photos of ground flesh covered in neon sauce as there are sharing that zero-gravity Kate Upton video. We’ve become a society of rabid carnivores, and it’s not just getting tiresome—it’s fucking killing us.
In Part 1 of Fresh Off the Boat - NYC, Eddie travels north to the Bronx, where he and WorldStarHipHop star Loopy hit up local bodegas, chow down on a Japanese-Dominican platano mashup disaster, and talk about holdin’ down the hood over mani-pedis.
In the Male Chef kitchen, I’m always looking for new ways to manipulate, play with, and eventually ingest my meals. After running a food blog for some time, me and the rest of my Male Sous Chefs have been invited over to VICE for a chance to explore the rear-end of food culture even further.
I wanted to kick things off by exploring the idea of “food hacking,” or finding the fastest and easiest ways to change your cooking habits so you can maximize your life’s efficiency. Bearing this goal in mind, I turned to one of the most efficient environments I could think of: the corporate office.
The common provenance of qartaand chitterlings from within the intestinal tract does lead to similar problems with fecal smell or taste. Chitterlings often solve this problem through judicious rounds of blanching, followed more often than not by deep-frying (which, as This American Life recently proved, is a great way of hiding the stubborn flavors of pig anus). But in the case of qarta, one simply washes the rectum without removing the fat, turning it inside out to scrub down the interior. Although the chef has the option of smoking the rectum for 24 hours and/or drying it for 48 more, many have turned to simply boiling the tissue on a slow fire for two hours, cutting it into rounds, simmering it in meat bullion for half an hour, and serving it garnished with salt, green pepper, and dill. Believe me when I say that this short cleaning and cooking process hardly dulls the taste issues inherent in a lot of intestinal cooking. But Alma Kunanbaeva, a Kazakh nomadic food anthropologist at Stanford University, expressly cautions against over-stewing the rectum.
In the final installment of Fresh Off the Boat - London, Eddie travels around the city with the young storytellers from Fully Focused, a youth-led media organization that aims to create a new image for London’s misrepresented youth. He then joins them for their weekly Jerk Friday, where he munches on homemade jerk chicken and speculates about the ingredients of the very secret sauce.
Watch chef/artist Julia Ziegler-Haynes teach you how to throw a holiday party on the fly. Get your friends wasted and well-fed on a strict budget and they’ll never realize that you’re a complete cheapskate!
Girl Eats Food is back for Season Two. In the first episode, anti-chef Jo Fuertes-Knight explores the growing trend of people using raw chocolate to “align the heart chakra” and go on an “inwards journey.”
After a Chocolate Ecstasy tour involving pizza-flavoured truffles, Jo hijacks a chocolate convention at London Olympia. There are women there who wear clothes made out of chocolate.
The next day, she joins a shamanic cacao ceremony round the back of the IMAX in her quest to get high off chocolate sent from a cacao shaman in Guatemala, called Keith.
Welcome to our brand new food column, Hot Links, where VICE employee Dan Meyer explores the neglected culinary stars of YouTube. Each week, Dan will present a selection of videos highlighting specific food themes from amateur cooking, to local restaurant commercials, to elderly drinking buddies, to kitchen disasters, to the infinite supply of odd YouTube wonders in the food category. We encourage you to fall into this culinary video k-hole, and include your own comments and contributions below.
Here are my top seven selections for local restaurant advertisements. Watching these clips should mentally transport you to a run-down motel room in somewhere, USA, where the TV’s blaring with low-budget tourist trap commercials on a loop. Get familiar with the theme, crack a cold one, and watch these hot links.
Creed’s Seafood & Steaks—King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Restaurant owner Jim Creed loves wine, and is proud to be the boss at the longest independently owned fine dining restaurant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania—since 1982. Every time I am in the suburbs of Philly driving around the parking lots of a shopping mall, I find myself wondering, where could I possibly find a nice steak, in a lively setting, prepared by a real chef? Luckily, Creed’s is the answer.
Kyrgyz Your Enthusiasm – Fresh Off the Boat: Moscow, Part 2
In Fresh Off the Boat - Moscow part two, Eddie further immerses himself in Russian culture. He learns what it was like to live under Soviet rule, shares tea with Kurdish immigrants, and begins to understand the issues that connect people, regardless of the invisible lines which separate them.