History of Favorite American Food Meat Part 1

About the favorite American food meat, history and information about cattle and beef production.


Hunting and gathering are the most primitive sources of food, followed by the development of agriculture and later by the domestication of barnyard animals. The sheep and goat were the 1st to be kept. The pig and cow represented a deeper commitment since they were fed a share of what would otherwise be human food. In many instances, animals were considered more valuable alive than dead, either as beasts of burden or for their milk, wool, etc. The Mongols sustained themselves on long journeys by drinking some of the blood of their horses, without killing the animals. Blood also appears in Irish culinary history, mixed with the milk and butter of that animal into a blood pudding. Jewish dietary law prohibits such a combination, although the taboo is based more on the milk than on the blood, stating that a lamb should not be cooked in its mother's broth. This is an example of a dietary restriction based on moralistic principles while other taboos, such as the prohibition on pork, are based on hygiene. Even today, meat inspection, trichinosis is still a danger since no superficial inspection can detect its presence. At any rate, our meats today are more dangerous because of adulteration than because of lack of hygienic conditions. A look at the typical life of a ranch animal confirms this.

First, the pastures themselves are full of artificial pesticides and fertilizers which leave residues in the animals' flesh. That is, if they get to the pastures. Most commercial ranches these days force-feed the animals in automated feedlots using electric lights to simulate a 24-hour day. The cost factor favors a urea-carbohydrate mixture over a high protein food. Experiments have been conducted on the efficacy of including food-grade plastic, ground newspapers mixed with molasses, feathers, or treated wood. The animals' diet severely lacks vitamin A, which may be added in synthetic form, although the reason for its addition is generally economic again: It induces weight gain.

For the same reason, drugs are introduced to change the metabolism of the animal. Diethylstilbestrol, variously known as DES or stilbestrol, is a powerful sex hormone which has been known to cause loss of fertility and sex drive in the human male and early sexual maturity in females. Its use has been banned in at least 36 countries, but it is still legal in the U.S. When DES is fed to cattle an artificial marbling effect is found in the meat. In normal meat, marbling is a sign of tenderness, and in fact this fat makes such meat a better buy because extremely lean meat has a higher water content than meat which contains fat. Where marbling is the result of chemicals, however, the consumer is being duped, and at the expense of health as well as pocket.

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