Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Rail Paul

Humanely raised veal

Recommended Posts

When they finally arrive at the veal barn, many calves will become ill or are already sick

This really does surprize me. Even if they ignore humanity of treatment, surely for purely commercial reasons farmers would protect their investment by preventing conditions which make their produce ill. I suspect that much of the treatment referred to in this report is of extreme cases of negligence rather than institutionalized cruelty.

I rather imagine that the reality lies somewhere in the middle here, but I really am struck by the fact that it doesn't seem to be nearly as bad as I supposed it would be.

This is exactly my reading. That is not to say that exceptional cases of cruelty don't exist, and where they do I am in favor of these being prevented. The AVMA guidelines sound reasonable to me, but I didn't find any mention of whether they have the force of law, nor how they are enforced.

One does wonder, however, how different the various types of veal taste compared to each other. It would be very interesting to get chops of formula-fed veal and nonformula-fed veal of comparable quality and do a side-by-side comparison.

Yeah, this is how the thread started, and I'll join the chorus asking for an answer to this. Has anyone tasted both ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tasted both--provimi and grass fed. Provimi is worlds better. Grass fed is half way to being beef. Don't know that I have tried every single cut of each, but certainly a loin roast, chops, and liver. Provimi liver is especially good.


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I have to just recommend again that everyone get a hold of that Art of Eating, because he pretty much covers the bases.

It seems to me that feeding the calves real milk is probably more humane and tastes better. The other problems -- too much grass, too much walking around -- are addressed by slaughtering the calves earlier -- this also makes economic sense for the farmers. Lydia Ratliffe, the producer Ed interviews extensively for the article, is doing it at 4 1/2 - 5 months.

Julia, in MtAoFC, says milkfed and slaughtered at 5-12 weeks is ideal. Marcella Hazan, in CIC, says milkfed, slaughtered under 3 months. Neither was complimentary about the quality of american veal in general.

I'll try to track down some local sources and do a tasting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An organic dairy farmer mentioned recently that feeding calves whey remaindered from the making of cheese was a highly efficient way to avoid waste and medication. It was his impression that the calves grew rapidly, required no supplemental medications, and made wonderful veal at 2 - 3 months.

He said there's a significant demand for milkfed, "organic" veal in NY restaurants. The problem is finding a slaughterhouse willing to do one-off or two-off killing.


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I managed to obtain some Niman Ranch veal from my local butcher (who was able to get it because he is attached to a restaurant). They tried 3 different kinds; he said they sent the grassfed back immediately because it was NOT good (the fat tasted of anchovy). I got a loin roast from a Wisconsin dairy farm -- he didn't have the feed/age specifics. So it was not one of the Florida calves discussed by Behr. It was dark red -- almost beef color.

After perusing several cookbooks, I "roasted" it italian-style (pan roasting with a little wine, which sounds like braising to me, but that's another topic...). My butcher larded it with some fatback, which I left on. I cooked it to 150 degrees F.

Before I discuss the result, I should be clear that I had nothing to comparison taste, and that I rarely cook veal. I'm not sure, to be honest, that I've ever had veal loin (chops/shank/sweetbreads/scollopini are all I can recall). So take the following with a grain of salt.

The color ended up a dark gray, but not so dark that it didn't seem like veal. The flavor was not as neutral as the veal of my memory. Not unpleasant, like anchovies, certainly, but not the sublime delicacy of which Olney speaks. This is presumably the "re-education" part. The texture -- and this may have to do with the aforementioned cooking method, or my misunderstanding thereof -- was a bit like a spongy pot roast -- not nearly as firm as I expected. It was good though.

scorecard:

color: who cares?

texture: good

flavor: take it or leave it

verdict: I won't spend that kind of money (think prime beef) on that cut again, but then again, I rarely buy veal. I would definitely try some other cuts that I'm more familiar with.

[by the way, in emilia, they feed the hogs for proscuitto the whey from making parmagiano. that's a devine economy].

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Came across this in Waverly Root's Food of Italy (1971) yesterday:

The humane ideas of modern times have banished one famous dish of L'Aquila [Abruzzi] -- capretto incaporchiatio, "trapped kid." At birth, the young goat was imprisoned in a sort of wicker basket attached under the belly of its mother, so that it could reach the udder but could not begin to graze. Nourished only by milk flavored at this season by the new grass and the first herbs and flowers of spring, unable to move and develop tough muscles, the flesh of the kid, killed after a few brief days of existence, was of an incomparable tenderness and delicacy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...