Sunday, February 19, 2012

That's What Food Eats

There's rarely much of a debate about what will compose the main course of a meal at our house.  Other than for breakfast, we eat a lot of beef.

I have always liked beef.  I think I was "burned out" on chicken before I graduated from High School.  It was always fried chicken for Sunday Dinner (most of you would call it lunch).  For whatever reason, it became something that wasn't at the top of my desired list of foods.

When I was a kid my grandfather usually kept a calf that he was fattening to butcher.  They had chickens too, but it was the beef that fed his eight kids and later their spouses and the grand kids that came around.

Ranching was something that always interested me.  Grandpa always had cattle and I enjoyed spending time working cattle with him.  That's what ultimately led me to a career in service to the cattle industry.  Even my years spent as a lender were years of serving agriculture. 

I've always liked cattle men and women and have a tremendous respect for their stewardship of the land and other resources in their care.  They capture sunlight with the grass and other plants growing on the land and then convert it into something usable by the human species through the amazing machine we call a cow.  It is that industry which has supplied me with a living for the past thirty years and for that reason I continue to be loyal to them by eating lots of beef.

In my travels I come into contact with people from all walks of life.  I am quite frankly shocked at the number who think beef is bad for you and that ranchers are ruining the land.  It's just not true.  When I see Vegetarian or Vegan items on menus in a restaurant I am saddened because the people that typically order those dishes just don't look healthy.  If they have a specific health problem that affects their ability to digest red meat, that is one thing, but when it is a conscious lifestyle choice based on misinformation, I am saddened -- not because it is against my business and my customers, but because they are missing something good.

That giant salad with bean sprouts and cauliflower and other marginally identifiable plant parts is not especially appealing to me.  Yes, I do eat some vegetables as part of a balanced diet, but I feel that protein is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

A few years ago I heard a friend use the line when turning down a salad, "No, thank you, that's what food eats."  I felt that his sentiment summed up my feelings on the subject quite succinctly.  So, I adopted his words and have been heard to use them quite frequently ever since.

Don't get me wrong, a small dinner salad goes well with my steak and baked potato, just don't offer me the green stuff as the main course.  I might tell you, "No thanks, that's what food eats."


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