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The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Oh Darn, We Might Run out of Meat - Try #2

Uploaded: Apr 18, 2020

You might be begging for your bacon soon; industry experts are starting to worry about US supplies of pork, chicken and beef, due to COVID-19.

As of April 16th, South Dakota reported a COVID outbreak of 598 workers at Smithfield Foods, a pork processing facility in Sioux Falls responsible for 5% of U.S. pork production, causing the plant to close indefinitely. The Chinese-owned company released a statement that “the virus is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply, making it impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running.”

Several other U.S. meat processing plants have also closed temporarily, including a Tyson Foods plant in Iowa, and a JBS USA Colorado factory, which both had two deaths.

Part of the problem may be the high concentration of the U.S. meat industry in the hands of a few. Four companies control 80% of the beef industry. Five companies control about 60% of the chicken market, and four companies control nearly 70 percent of pork.

Oh darn, we might run out of meat.

The Food Party! isn't crying over closures, or spilt milk in the news however. On the contrary, we feel empowered. Most Americans need to cut down on meat. (On average, we ate more than 217 pounds of beef, pork and/or chicken in 2019 (over 4 pounds weekly). Time to learn more about the secrets of vegetables and the endless options, and unique tastes and textures achieved when incorporating more plants into your diet.

Decreasing or eliminating animal flesh, while increasing plant consumption, is better for our health, and as many are realizing, also the health of animals and our planet. Actually, one of the best things you can do as an individual for the environment begins on your breakfast, lunch and dinner plates. With the 50th anniversary of Earth Day coming next week, April 22nd, consider using this time to flex your plant-based cooking muscles and create more meals with less, or no, meat.

Graphic from Cool Cuisine – Taking the Bite out of Global Warming (2008)

Track results of your meat-free days by joining the Darwin Challenge (and local environmental group [www.acterra.org/healthy-plate).

We also have all kinds of recipes, diatribes, and options at the Food Party! to help:

What's the Hottest Trend in Eating?

Global Warming Diet

The Impossible Burger

City Supper – the Future of Food

Burger Please, Side of Integrity

Oom is Moo Spelled Backwards

Lastly, Insider Tips, our new, weekly feature for those stuck in the house, can also assist.

Inside Tip #3

I gave some of the sauerkraut (and juice) we made last week to a client, leaving me with some partially fermented cabbage, sans juice. I could have topped off with salt water to keep fermenting, but instead chose to sautéed it up with raw onion,

And made a quick dinner topping for my frozen Trader Joes veggie wontons.

Add a splash EZ Seasoning (salt and pepper with a college education) of umeboshi vinegar, mirin, brown rice vinegar and soy sauce, and you got an easy, filling meal with the perfect touch of sour pucker power. Top with sauted seitan, tempeh or chicken for your protein kick.

Photos by LSIC

What is it worth to you?


Posted by ASR , a resident of College Terrace,
on Apr 18, 2020 at 11:11 am

Let's not eat animals for five years

Posted by Rick, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 2:56 pm

This would be a problem for those of us on a ketogenic diet! :)

Besides, it is excess sugar and carbs that are causing the problems for metabolic disorder and diabetes.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: other,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 3:31 pm

Yeh, I hear you Rick, but I am not a fan of Keto. It's good for weight loss, but not sustainability. Brains run on carbos, we just need to eat the right kinds. In my work, both private cooking and corporate education, the issue with eaters is consuming the wrong type of carbos. Whole grains and veggies are the good carbos we don't eat enough of. It's the junk food and processed food diet that makes one feel the need to go to the opposite solution, i.e. keto /no or few carbos. Eat a balanced diet of whole foods and most eaters can avoid keto, unless used for short stints. Keto can teach us new and useful habits, but it's a short term diet. Eat More Veggies!

Posted by MP Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:16 am

What's really going to happen is that the less well off will suffer. Less meat will not mean "nothing to buy", it means limited variety and higher prices.

If your budget is already stretched, this wont drive you to fresh veg, but to rice and beans.

If your budget is not stretched you'll just buy what is there. Because of all of the restaurant closures, that's probably expensive steaks.

Posted by Survivor, a resident of Bailey Park,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:52 am

"Meat" flies, skitters and runs through my yard at all hours of the day and night.
There's plenty of "Meat" around, you just have to do a bit more work than driving to Safeway to enjoy it..

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 9:09 am

That's often the argument, "the less well off will suffer." Please take this in context. My perspective is the less-well-off got it over the rich folks when it comes to food. Poor folk at least know how to make rice and beans taste good. The rich folk often need MORE food education, because they have used meat as the seasoning for everything, and lack additional knowledge on how to make food taste "good" without it. Rich or poor, most people lack food education. So they end up cooking what those in their own household have cooked for years. It's not about $$$, it's about exposure.

Posted by Adrian, a resident of Professorville,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 12:05 pm

A TV news story on possible meat shortages showed a grocery shelf with the reporter saying that in the future your meat selections might be limited. But the product on the shelf was Beyond Meat sausage.

Posted by red meat consumption gone down..., a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 1:02 pm

From this chart red meat consumption per capita has decreased since 1960, chicken increased. Web Link With the growth of fast food since 1960 would have expected red meat consumption to grow too.

This also shows decrease in Beef consumption over past 50 years Web Link

With that said, I think a balanced diverse diet is the way to go.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 2:47 pm

Posted by MP Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,

>> If your budget is already stretched, this wont drive you to fresh veg, but to rice and beans.

Rice, beans, and vegetables can be the foundation for a very healthy diet. Red meat won't disappear, but, it will continue to be displaced by chicken. Red meat is very water intensive, and, water is the limiting factor in agriculture. As water becomes more valuable, red meat will become more expensive. It is simple economics, but, fans of red meat don't want to hear it. Since I don't eat red meat any more, that matters very little to me (but, some people do need to make sure that they don't develop anemia).

Oh, and, not that I pay attention to the guy, but, I did see that even Arnold Schwarzenegger says you don't need red meat(!). (Anybody else remember the song "Junk Food Junkie"?)

Posted by veganketolady, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 9:30 pm

Rick from Adobe-Meadow - A ketogenic diet does not require meat, only the absence of most carbs. I'm vegan and have been on a ketogenic diet for 2 years. Lots of nuts, avocados, olive oil, and leafy greens and cabbage. A much healthier way to keto that is better for the planet and healthier for your body. For more info, check out the work of Dr. Valter Longo and the Longevity Diet.

Posted by really?, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 1:37 pm

Do children count as meat? We're running out of recipe ideas and this shutdown is killing us.

Posted by Susan, a resident of another community,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 2:52 pm

WELL DONE, Laura Stec! I'd like to also add, the closure of factory farms is a GOOD THING, just like less cars on the road and the oil and gas industry "tanking..." It's time to support small local grass-fed organic meat farming, regenerative agriculture, solar and wind power, and green chemistry.

This nightmarish time of fear, grief, and disease is forcing us to finally look at HEALTHY ways to sustain our bodies and our planet.

Posted by Father of 3, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 10:43 am

Very much appreciate your advocating reducing meat consumption or eliminating altogether. From the headline I was sure you'd truly be lamenting loss of some meat options. Thank you.

Posted by Meat and Greet, a resident of another community,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 4:14 pm

The nice thing about meat is all the different flavors and places to find it.
Yes, you can buy it, but you can also get it yourself, which is far more satisfying. We raise and slaughter our own goats, rabbits and fowl...best tasting ever!

Posted by A Reader, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 7:57 pm

@Meat and Greet:

That's all fine and well but for many of Laura's readers, it's not a reality.

I live in a 650 sq. ft. condominium. I'm not going to be raising fowl to slaughter. It's against the CC&Rs.

Posted by Hmm, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 6:57 am

Call be crazy, but I'm not so sure we're going to "Run out of meat"
Lets grab the popcorn and jerky then sit back and see who's right.

Report from yesterday's shopping trip shows plenty of sausages, turkey, beef, lamb, ooo some bison and some duck(nice!) They were short on chicken pieces but were stocking as I was there. Near the checkout there were large jerky displays, turkey, salmon, beef, pork. The frozen sections were packed with meat meals, burgers, burritos, taquitos, pork dumplings, chicken enchiladas and enldesss choices of meat pizzas.
Shortages in our stores are due mostly to stocking, not lack of supply. A talk with the manager confirmed this.

Anyway, lets all keep an eye out for that day that we run out of meat.
(Just have some pasta some days if they actually are out of boneless skinless chicken parts.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: other,
on Apr 25, 2020 at 7:44 am

Anybody see Bill Maher's piece on the similarities between wet market & factory farms? Interesting piece. Web Link

Posted by Recall Recall Recall, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Apr 28, 2020 at 7:00 am

We gave so many food inspectors the heave-ho that our food supply is no longer top notch with regards to safety.
How many times did we not have lettuce or other produce because of lysteria or E. coli over the past 5 years?

In my kitchen I fear what is in/on my veggies more than worrying about what's in meat since I don't eat raw meat, ut it's really our entire food supply line that needs oversight and inspection/enforcement.

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