In some other phantom life, I’d be a vegan. I don’t have strong feelings about animal rights (sorry!), but I do believe that there are significant benefits to eating a plant-based diet, and I’d love to give it a shot sometime. In another life.
But in this life, I ran off with a cattle farmer in Missouri, and veganism is simply not an option. I recently suggested to Jon that we give meatless Mondays a shot and he looked at me like he’d just pooped his pants.
It doesn’t help that, after years of asking, he finally gave in and slaughtered one of our cows. On our farm, the cows are organic, free-range, and grass-fed — the holy grail of humane meat-eating practices. It’s quite lovely, really. I can guarantee you that our cows are very, very happy.
But once they hit a certain size, the guys pack them off to the sale barn and the cows get shuffled off to grain farms in the central plains, where they fatten up and get sold on the standard consumer market for general grocery stores. If you want the fancy stuff from Whole Foods, don’t turn to our farm.
Which is insane and ridiculous and stupid. “Why,” I complained, “are we paying a thousand dollars a year on grass-fed beef from the grocery store when we’ve got a whole farm full of grass-fed beef?”
Finally, last December, Jon told me that they’d picked out a cow to “finish” before slaughter. It was finished, slaughtered, aged, packed in a butcher-shop less than 10 miles away, and re-delivered back into our freezer. Huzzah!
The real lesson?
I kid, I kid.
Nagging does not work, I do not recommend it, and even if it brings you to your ultimate goal, it’s a nasty little habit that your husband will undoubtedly complain about to others, and that’s just plumb embarrassing. Better to slyly manipulate your way to a fridge full of meat over the course of two years.
And before you inquire, I did ask, directly, many times, and was rejected every time. Some men, like my Jon, like to believe they come up with an idea themselves before they pursue a perfectly logical plan that a woman concocted years earlier.
Either way, I got what I wanted: a fridge full of beef from our own farm. It’s oddly satisfying to know that every single piece of meat in there is from a single animal. After all, who knows how many different cows are in your store-bought hamburger patties?
The new dilemma, if I can even call it that, is what on earth to do all this meat. I have the world’s best pot roast recipe nailed, and I usually take those leftover to make tacos. I know my way around a steak. It’s the hamburger meat that’s got me stumped.
And we’ve got a lot of hamburger meat in those two boxes above, and a whole third box above that.
I mentioned this “problem” to our of the farm guys and he looked at me like I’d grown three heads. “Whadya mean whadya do with the hamburger meat? Make hamburgers!”
But, seriously, how many hamburgers can two people eat? Not a lot. In fact, Jon hates them. I know. He might be the only red-blooded American male who hates hamburgers. I can literally count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen him eat one, and only at barbecues, and only if hot dogs are not an option.
There’s lasagna, okay, and meatballs, sure. We both unanimously hate sloppy joes. I can’t stand ground beef in Mexican food. So now what?
For now, I’m making a dent with this beautiful recipe from Saveur: Persian Ground Meat and Onion Kebabs.
If you had a freezer full of hamburger meat, what would you do with it?