Taste, Health and Pink Slime


January 24, 2012 by themommahen

I don’t write a ton about it but the past several years of being a mom, coupled with some exposure to the business of food through my PR career, have made me more mindful when it comes to food. I can hold my own in conversations about BPA, the Dirty Dozen, the Clean Fifteen, CSAs, food labeling, sustainable farming, pros and cons of organics, HFCS, chemical and other food additives, balanced nutrition, egg labeling, dairy facts and myths, sodium, food deserts…are you still awake? I think I just dozed off there for a minute. Sorry.


Point is, I know enough to freak out make informed choices of what we eat. And yes, I still have an unfortunate weakness for burgers and fries that I have tried to shield my children from, but it’s no use. They got the taste early, through the umbilical cord. But, I do try to practice, or at least teach, moderation and balance. And so far, so good. The Hatchlings are what those in the online parenting world like to call “good eaters,” which like all things in the online parenting world is completely relative and subjective. In our house that means H #1 and #2 eat their veggies like broccoli and spinach, alongside their pizza and french fries, (also known as our government’s veggies), while H#3 tries any number of foods before spitting them back out or throwing them on the floor. (Relative and subjective, remember?)


One of my food goals is an obvious one – buy and eat more local foods. The produce is easy. Find a local Farmer’s Market or CSA and voila! Fresh veggies! Fruit can be a little tougher in the off-season, but I can drive a few miles to Whole Foods for a decent selection of local fruit (though the Hatchlings have developed quite a taste for mango) to get by for the winter. And since I haven’t figured out how to grow mangos in NC, we do buy some conventional as well as bigger-farm-organics, which have their own issues.


What I’m having trouble with is the meat, and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s because I’ve gotten so spoiled by the mainstream grocery and restaurant meat. You know, the kinds that are gassed, sprayed, painted, injected, plumped, medicated. Who could be spoiled by that? Unfortunately, a lot of us because we’ve gotten used to these modified foods, how they look and the resulting tastes. Which makes the real thing seem, well, different. Even, dare I say it? Disappointing.


Mmmmmmm, yum. Lovely photo courtesy of many Facebook and Twitter friends, but actually borrowed from Snopes.com


The local grass-fed beef I’ve tried has been tougher than conventional store-bought meat, with a more “gamey” smell and taste. Steaks come off the grill dried out, hamburgers are crumbly and the leftovers have been pushed to the back of the fridge more than I’d like to admit, especially considering we pay more than conventional prices for these products. Local chicken breasts have been darker than conventional ones, so much so that the white meat looks like dark meat, and when I made some chicken nuggets from a few of the breasts, The Husband and I both thought they looked like fried chicken livers. That was hard for us to get over but they tasted fine once we closed our eyes and tried them.


So what am I missing? What am I doing wrong? I need some foodies, farmers or locavores out there to step up my meat-cooking skills (which I might add, are usually pretty darn good). Or is this just the way real meat tastes? If so, I’m also beginning to see why, in addition to price, generations before us may not have consumed as much meat as often as we do. Somewhere, The Meat-and-Potatoes-Husband just shuddered at the thought.


3 thoughts on “Taste, Health and Pink Slime

  1. Anonymous says:

    Larisa. Marion and I recently went Vegan after being exposed to a documentary called Forks Over Knives. The premise backed by, IMHO, undeniable empirical data, is that we don’t need animal based protein or dairy products at all. In fact, it goes on to say they are the cause of biggest public health crises cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Moreover, it produces evidence that converting to a plant-based diet not only stops the causal affects of diseases in a animal-based diet, it often reverses much of damage done, even in come cancers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, I’m glad it’s not just me! I have no problem with the local poultry, but I haven’t found a way to like the grass fed hamburger. I even notice the different flavor when making things like tacos or casseroles. And the sliders I usually make for Anna end up super tough. I thought I was just cooking them poorly! And I had the same shudder when I realized what I paid for stuff I didn’t like/didn’t end up eating.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As a part-time farmer, I would like to commend you for making informed choices when it comes to your food. I feel all too often people hear the negative press associated with much of the food industry. I won’t deny that companies do over process meats, fruits, and vegetables but I want to make sure people realize there are many more less processed options available. Instead of seeking these alternatives or learning more information, people tend to jump on the band wagon and continue to bash the entire industry. Its nice to know that some people still care to take the time to learn and make wise food choices that may also benefit a local or smaller farmer. Its sad that the many uninformed, non-caring consumers and low prices will continue to aid to the large companies and their over processed foods.

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