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Unemployed mammals


Fat Guy
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There's a local Albertson's grocery store that has a small free-standing freezer for just ostrich meat (provided by an ostrich meat purveyor who, I believe, raises the birds in the mountains east of town). I haven't priced it so I don't know how it compares to beef, etc.

I had ostrich meat at a company Christmas party (along with deep-fried alligator, rattlesnake and turkey "Rocky Mountain Oysters" :shock: ) The ostrich meat tasted good, more like beef than fowl and was quite lean.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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There's a local Albertson's grocery store that has a small free-standing freezer for just ostrich meat (provided by an ostrich meat purveyor.................................The ostrich meat tasted good, more like beef than fowl and was quite lean.

I've had ostrich a couple ways. While I could certainly taste the difference between it and pork in a meatball taste-off, I prefered the bird.

Is the study of how to cook ostrich properly termed 'Ostracism' ? :wink:

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Lamb is especially under-appreciated around here, thank goodness for the Greek and Lebanese communities for contributing to the demand. I think goats could have a great future, as food for people that is.

We do have access to some fairly "exotic" mammalian meats like boar, venison, goat and bison. I don't know the number's but I'd bet dollars-to-donuts that beef and pork are over 95% of the mammal meat market.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I've never heard of RM oysters from anything other than a four-legged creature. Turkey ones are lumped under the old Southern term, "Rooster Fries."

I looked it up to see if maybe it was my mistake, and found a very interesting list of names for them---Tendergroin being the punniest.

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The Wegman's market in Ocean Township, NJ has been selling Ostrich steaks, and ground buffalo and buffalo sirloins. The sirloins are more tender, but not appreciably more flavorful than the buffalo medallions that Shop Rite sells (and are from the same processor). The Shop Rite in Elizabeth sells fresh goat meat and also frozen quail in packages of 6 for about $8 - until they started stocking them, the only place I'd seen the frozen quail was the Seabra's supermarkets in Newark.

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Some of it has to be plain old squeamishness--no one wants to eat the cute animals, or the ones that seem "wrong" for some reason. Bunnies are cute, therefore to be petted, not eaten for dinner. Goats have a different problem, I think. More of a PR problem. Look at all of the biblical references to sheep and goats. Sheep were the good guys, of course, and goats were on God's bad side. Why? It's an interesting question. Does it have anything to do with who eats goat meat? For myself, I'd love to try it, but I've never seen it on a menu or for sale at the store.

Maybe we're losing the diversity in all of the foods we eat, unless you count foods invented and produced by factories. What is cheap to raise/easy to transport/uniform in taste? That's what's for sale.

When I was a kid we raised rabbits for food for a while, had cows and chickens and made things like headcheese. We gathered wild nettles, oysters, crab, fish, and berries. When did people stop being omnivores?

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Does it have anything to do with who eats goat meat?  For myself, I'd love to try it, but I've never seen it on a menu or for sale at the store.

You can find it on the menus of a lot of "true" Mexican restaurants (as opposed to the Americanized ones).

Of course, you're near the wrong border for that. :laugh:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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That's true, I'm a lot closer to Tim Horton's than real Mexican food.

This brings up an interesting question--what ethnic groups eat goat? Because I was thinking of some a bit farther away, and the prejudices people might have about "common" foods. Like how chicken wings used to be the food of the poor until Buffalo wings became popular.

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That's true, I'm a lot closer to Tim Horton's than real Mexican food.

This brings up an interesting question--what ethnic groups eat goat?  Because I was thinking of some a bit farther away, and the prejudices people might have about "common" foods.  Like how chicken wings used to be the food of the poor until Buffalo wings became popular.

Growing up in Toronto, Canada I had some close friends with mothers and/or grandmothers who grew up in the Caribbean and always had some goat meat in the freezer if not on the stove. I fondly remember sweet and spicy goat recipes from Kingston, Jamaica.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Some of it has to be plain old squeamishness--no one wants to eat the cute animals, or the ones that seem "wrong" for some reason.  Bunnies are cute, therefore to be petted, not eaten for dinner. 

according to dennis leary we should have an animal audition and just line them all up. "what are you" "i'm an otter" "and what do you do" "i lie on my back and do cute human tricks" "ok. you're free to go." "and what are you?" "i'm a cow." "no, you're not you're a baseball glove. get on the truck." "wait!wait! i'm an animal. i have rights, too." "no, you don't, . now shut up and get on the truck with your cousin."

i used to have problems with people i work with when i referred to a meal i had of rabbit and venison as "bambi and thumper". it is part of the disneyfication of reality.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Back to the Goat topic, I was once walking past a butchers shop with an old girlfriend (who was very squeamish about raw meat in general) and she said 'lets cross the road, I don't like that place'. I asked her why and she said that she heard that they sold 'funny' meat and possible even goat. I said yes they probably do sell goat - the shop appeared to have quite a lot of west indian trade. She seemed horrified - she actually though it was illegal (she had been brought up with some quite funny food ideas - she is better now!)

I think those sorts of ideas are quite prevalent though.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Chicago and goat. Going back to the late 60's Chicago was pretty ethnically diverse and I can remember seeing in different neighborhoods various offerings of goat meals.

Today I'm guessing it's offered in just about every neighborhood and can be found well into the suburbs.

I think US consumption of goat meat is sizable it's just that most of the population doesn't think about it or is too squeamish.

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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Several things come to mind:

1. It strikes me that most cultures that consume a wide variety of mammals are situated in areas where the conditions are congenial to, and sometimes require raising and hunting a wide variety of animals in a relatively small geographical area. A great example of this would be the Italian peninsula. America, on the other hand, due to the fact that the vast majority of our country consists of a large flat place in the middle, is better suited to growing lots of the same plants or animals over a large geographical area. This, combined with the fact that we are a young country and have largely optimized our meat industry to take advantage of shipping and economies of scale, has resulted in fewer "regional meats" and less choice overall. In Italy (France, etc.) on the other hand, it's impossible to grow a zillion cows in one place in the middle of the country and to feed all those cows on ten zillion tons of corn all grown in on place in the middle of the country. This "geographically mandated diversity," as well as the much greater age of the culture, has resulted in a wider variety of "regional meat" traditions (the people in the central mountains eat guinea fowl and lentils, the people a few miles away on the coasts do not, etc.). Plenty of cultures, however, have even narrower meat consumption than the States. Some eat practically nothing but goat and lamb.

2. Another reason we don't eat a wider variety of mammals here is because many of them are prohibitively expensive. When I'm in Italy, rabbit costs no more than chicken. So I eat a lot of rabbit. Everyone does. But here, it's too expensive to be more than an occasional treat and, frankly, if I'm going to spend 20 bucks on a three pound bone-in small animal yielding around 1.5 pounds of meat, I'm likely to go for something a bit more exciting than rabbit. This is too bad, because rabbit is a mild, lean and healthful meat. You can say similar things about bison: why spend 20 bucks a pound on a bison strip steak when you can get better-tasting aged beef for the same price?

3. The end of my previous point takes me directly to this one: some of the products that "they" seem to want us to try simply aren't all that good (certainly not good enough to pay the much higher prices). This may have to do with the fact that the meats don't sell as well and therefore are more likely to have been frozen, resulting in a mushy texture. But sometimes... well, here's an example: Fat Guy and I once had the opportunity to sample a bunch of dishes at a good "second tier" Manhattan steakhouse. When it came time for the steaks, they gave us several. I think there was a ribeye for two, a porterhouse for two and a bone-in bison strip steak. Needless to say, there was no way we were going to eat it all, but we wanted to try everything. We both took one bite of the (perfectly cooked) bison steak and decided that we wouldn't waste any more precious stomach space on it. It simply wasn't very good.

4. I think that the early industrialization of the American food system combined with the early and wholesale proliferation of monoculture (largely abetted by mass media but also overtly and covertly encouraged by the government, especially during the Cold War years) resulted in the narowing-down of American food choices and we standardized on the three mammals that are the least "challenging" in beef, pork and chicken. This effect may have been especially magnified in the years immediately following the Second World War when industrialization, television/mass media and nationwide uniformity/conformity really took off in the States.

--

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Interesting that I usually only see "exotic" meats in either high-end butcher stores or low-end ethnic markets. Hard to avoid the implication that only the rich, the poor, and those with immigrant roots stray from the standard round of beef/pork/chicken. And while there is some overlap in products carried, there is also some variance: while I've seen rabbit in many markets haute and not, I can't ever remember seeing bison at any of the ethnic markets I frequent, and I'm hard pressed to recall seeing chivo (goat) at the high end joints.

Needless to say, of the high-end and low-end markets, I totally prefer the latter, both for price and general vibe. :smile:

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