My cousin Nancy, “The Vegan Voice,” is co-author on our blog Lazaro Cooks!. She provides our readers with her fantastic, original, superbly constructed vegan recipes. Conversely, I am the resident carnivore. With that in mind, I was rather horrified when I realized that I had yet to write a beef article for Blogcritics. This incredibly gross, negligent oversight on my part was happily rectified tonight. Suffice to say that this is an ode to my beef-loving brethren — sorry, Prima!
Beef does the body good. Perhaps that is a bit hyperbolic, but it does fit well into a balanced diet. When I require red meat I go to see the butcher, not the supermarket. Go where the experts are. Butchers are generally extremely proud of the products in their establishments. They are willing counselors on any questions regarding the different cuts or the plethora of ways to cook them. Every butcher I have had the pleasure of meeting can talk about beef for hours. This kind of personal service cannot be experienced in a chain supermarket.
Please, for the sake of decency, never purchase beef in a wrapped package. Part of the experience is purchasing a cut of meat you can hold, smell, caress, talk to… okay, that last bit will certainly get you noticed at the butcher shop. Look for meat with a bare minimum of outer creamy white fat. The meat should be firm, first-rate textured, and a light cherry red. Avoid meat with too much marbling, or thick ropes of fat, for this will be quite sinewy once cooked. On the other hand, beef with no fat is bland and insipid. Fat provides the meat with moisture that melts during the cooking process. It is this wondrous chemical reaction that imparts the signature meaty goodness we love in a succulent, debaucherous steak.
My personal favorite is certified organic Hereford cattle. Originally from Herefordshire, England, United Kingdom, it can now be found in over fifty countries. Hereford beef was first raised in the United States in Kentucky by politician Henry Clay. Organic cattle are born and raised with respect and dignity. Grazing on organic, pristine pastures, they roam free in the sunshine, with unrestricted access to food and clean water. In order to be certified organic, no pesticide, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers can be applied to fields or pastures. In short, you can take solace in the fact that the animal that gave its life for your consumption reveled in a happy, stress-free existence, at the same time being assured that it was not treated with growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics.