This animal here goes by the name of #29.
Or should I say, WENT by the name of #29.
#29 is now wrapped up in 1-pound packages in our freezer. Also, in my sister's freezer, my mother-in-law's freezer, and our friend Quinn's freezer. (It was Quinn's idea to ask our lovely rancher for a photo before our steer was, um, processed.)
So you know how we were inspired by Michael Pollan and The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Mealsto start owning chickens a few years ago, so that we'd know where that tiny fraction of our food (the EGGS; we don't "process" our chickens) was coming from?
This is the same deal. A few years ago we bought an entire grass-fed bison with a few friends. A couple times since then, we've done beef. It's partly an ideological notion -- building a relationship with a particular rancher, supporting a local farm, knowing the meat on our table came to us thanks to one happy, healthy cow, reducing our pesticide and carbon load a bit, yadda yadda. It's also a way to eat organic, grass-fed beef with less of a whomp to the wallet -- New York strip steaks cost the same per pound as ground beef.
(An aside: Don't think that if I come to your house -- should I be so fortunate -- I'll turn up my nose at your grain-fed, factory-raised beef. Food is about nourishment and communion around a table -- not about snobbery and judgments.)
We also got the organ meats. Am I brave enough to try and cook up the heart and liver? I know they pack a huge nutritional punch, but I'm just not sure I have the courage. Help me, Obi-Wan. You're my only hope.
By the way, today I made reservations for the night we're going to spend at Great Sand Dunes National Park during our upcoming road trip to Colorado. A mom at swimming lessons this morning told me that was her favorite stop on their three-week trip. We'll stay at a lodge right outside the park, where we can see the sun rise and set over the dunes.
Okay, that had absolutely nothing to do with beef. Or happy cows. Or #29. Just a bubble of excitement that had to work its way out.