Posts tagged ‘meat’

My new job

So I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I have new job. The bad news… well, it’s complicated. This has been kind of a crazy week and I’m still a little overwhelmed with it all.

I went to this university career event this week and one thing led to another and well, I am happy to announce that I have received an offer which I accepted. So as of April 1st, I am the new Pork Procurement Associate for Cargill in the Netherlands.

Of course, initially I was a bit wary at first, considering their reputation but I have been persuaded of their commitment to the environment, public health and animal welfare.

Unfortunately, as you can imagine, this position will not be compatible with this blog, so I will have to delete it by tomorrow. So cache it while you can because tomorrow the archives will not be available anymore.

Well. It’s been fun. Ta-tah!

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April 1, 2008 at 2:47 pm 6 comments

How to: Get shit-free ground beef

butcher'sPhoto by David Chief.

Here is step by step guide to getting shit-free ground beef.

  1. Go to an organic butcher or a good butcher that sells organic meat
  2. Choose a large chunk of a cheap cut of organic beef and/or pork
  3. Ask the butcher to grind it for you
  4. Separate in batches
  5. Cook or freeze the same day.

And voilá! Shit-Free!

This is because:

  1. This story was in the NYT this week.ground meat
  2. Feedlot cattle goes into ‘processing’ covered in shit. That’s because they live covered in shit.
  3. Organic grass-fed cows, by their very nature, don’t spend their lives covered in shit, hence, there will be less or no shit in their meat.
  4. There have been countless USDA recalls of ground beef contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 (read: shit) Most of them after the meat has been eaten.
  5. E. coli O157:H7 exists because of factory farming methods. They have created the problem by feeding grain to cows and made it worse by giving them antibiotics.
  6. Ground meat has a natural shelf-life of 24h. The fact that you can buy it in the supermarket with a month of shelf-life is just wrong.
  7. Carbon monoxide keeps meat looking fresh and perky even after weeks of its sell by date. You could be buying spoiled meat and never know it by the looks of it.
  8. I am a traditionalist. I think cows should live in the field, that meat should be bought at the butcher’s and ground right in front of you.

PS: I don’t really know why I am posting this, since I am already 95% vegetarian by now. And I think you should be too.

December 10, 2007 at 2:51 pm 16 comments

Where is Organic Leather?

hmm...leather

Disclaimerthis post may be inappropriate to sensitive vegans/vegetarians. Viewer discretion is advised.

I know many of you will look down on me for being a leather wearing, beef eating, milk drinking sorry-ass excuse of an environmentalist. In my defense, I like cows and I think humans and cows should live in harmony. I am all for humanely, respectfully treated cows in small-scale organic farms. Only, I just think that we shouldn’t have as many cows as we have now. That’s why I only eat and drink organic dairy, as local as possible.

But what I really want to talk about is leather… Even though I could, conceivably, give up my leather jacket and my leather handbag, I have BIG issues with shoes made of anything other than leather. I just can’t… I’m sorry, but I can’t! You see, here is my embarrassing little secret… my feet stink 😀 Well, more accurately, they have a tendency to develop a more pungent odor if they can’t ‘breathe’. So I really can’t wear anything other than cow hides on my little ogre feet, under penalty of being persecuted for possessing biologic WMDs. TMI? Sorry 😀

So here is my question to you. There is a growing number of organic cows out there. Where is organic leather? I mean, it should exist, right? If the cows are certified organic, then the cow skin is, at least in theory, certified as well. So shouldn’t there be a separate market for organic cow skin and leather? Shouldn’t there be stylish organic leather shoes out there? Well, the answer to this seems to be both yes and no.

While Organic Leather does indeed exist, the only thing I could find is this. I mean, COME ON! I don’t know about you but I am not about to walk around dressed like a wannabe Pocahontas. All I want is a decent pair of shoes, and I would STRONGLY prefer they were made of organic leather, tanned without causing an small-scale environmental disaster.

I know it is possible, because I found these guys, who make awesome looking eco-friendly hand-bags. When I grow up, I gotta get me one of these. But those hand-bags! And I asked for shoes! If there are folks out there selling classy organic hand-bags, why aren’t they selling SHOES?

Is this really too much to ask? Isn’t there ANYONE out there who can provide me with what I want? And I’m SURE there are plenty of other stinky-footed environmentalists who would pay good money for this as well! Come on, you eco-preneurs out there! Please?

Future handbag by this guy on Flickr.

July 28, 2007 at 8:38 am 34 comments

Ceci n’est pas un Post.

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

Haha… just kidding. Yes it is. I have just been away for such a long time I reached the point of not knowing how to start a post… Sad.

So I tried to put the blog on hold while I focus more on finishing my thesis, but this seems to work even worse than before. It seems that the more time I don’t write the worse my writer’s block gets. So I guess I am back to blogging, and will try to keep up with more regular posting from now on. Doesn’t it always seem like the more we get done, the more we are able to do? Although, the opposite is usually more noticeable. Whenever I don’t do work, I am not able to do anything else because I feel like I should be doing work. I don’t do work, but I also don’t do other things I have to do, and I especially don’t do things I like doing. But now I am trying to reverse this tendency. Get back on the horse I guess.

Anyway, let’s move on to what I actually wanted to talk about today. I went to Germany last weekend. And yes, the sad part is that I have been meaning to talk about this all week, and only now was I able to overcome the Block.

I have mentioned before that I have a really had time keeping up with my best green intentions when I am out of my element. And so it was once again. I was visiting family for a whole weekend and I my biggest achievement was refusing the bottled water everyone was insistingly offering me. And indeed, I won that battle but lost the war. These Germans really do put up a fight, I didn’t even stand a chance. It wasn’t just the fact that I had meat shoved down my throat 3 times a day. It was more than that. It was experiencing a lifestyle that seems so distant now, and so capitally opposed to everything I stand for. It is hard to face the facts. How can something that means so much to me be so insignificant to everyone else?

But the worst indignity was still to come. Never mind the meat, the overpackaging, the bottled beverages, the fake food, the obliviousness to the our food values. The most frustrating part of the weekend was on the train ride back. That was the last drop. After that I was fuming so much I thought my head was going to explode. But why don’t I tell you about it and you will see what I mean.

There was a restaurant wagon on the train. I brought my own lunch wrapped in my nifty little wrap’n’mat. I had my handy little travel mug. So I thought, ‘why don’t I go over to the restaurant car and fetch myself some cappuccino’. Surely they would have a proper coffee machine, capable of pouring out cappuccinos into peoples mugs! And that’s because the Dutch had me spoiled. Their standard coffee machines are able to produce a half-decent cappuccino. And I was innocent enough to believe that the Germans would live up to their neighbors standards. But no. That’s not how it went.

When I did get to the train bar, I asked for my cappuccino, presented my mug and was very clear to demand that my cappuccino be served in my mug. But before I could realize what was happening and scream “Nein! Nein!”, the guy was opening a little plastic sachet and pouring some powder into a paper cup. At this point, I again indicated to the guy that I wanted my cappuccino in my cup and not a disposable one, with still some hope left that the sachet and the paper cup were destined for someone else. The guy only seemed to ignore me. And then what? And this is the part that left me perplex. I told the guy again that I wanted the cappuccino in MY cup. And to my horror, the guy nodded and then proceeded to fill the paper cup containing the sachet of gross cappuccino powder with boiling water and then pouring it into my cup!!! I was mortified!

It was then I realized that the guy thought it was his duty to measure my cappuccino with the standard paper cup to be absolutely sure that I was going to get the EXACT amount of cappuccino powder and hot water that I am allowed, and not a sip more. But the most revolting part to me is that the guy was only measuring hot water. The powder was already precisely measured because it came out of a sachet. So tell me. How &@#$% square do you have to be to measure HOT WATER???

And now I am going to end this post abruptly because I am so pissed off at Germans that I fear I might say something less politically correct about them. The End.

July 13, 2007 at 12:49 pm 9 comments

Success and Failure

Environmental dialogues with a catClick to see full size.

I just couldn’t resist posting this strip from Get Fuzzy, my favorite comic strip. It describes my kitty dialogues very accurately.

It’s now been more than one month since I started this blog, and taking all things environmental a little more seriously… So I guess it’s about time to have a little recap on our “struggle”. I know this is kind of a random time for a recap, but please, be patient with me. Take into consideration that this is the blog of a highly UNorganized person, who probably qualifies as Attention Defective. Such is my condition, condemned to starting blogs on ordinary days, and having random unannounced recaps. And I am a little short on time and blogging topics, and it finally seems like I have enough to recap about.

Bad news first:

  • This week, the kitty-litter experiment has been officially declared a failure. Kitten fought the system and won. I tried to make him realize that it was better for the environment and for his kitty health but he would not have it. Believe me, he made it verrrry clear. “Oh Boo Hoo! Every time a microwave dings an angelfish looses it’s reef”
  • That means, back to the nasty clumping litter, and back to the ‘scooping plastic bags’. No kitty litter composting 😦
  • I still can’t stand tofu… My taste buds reject it like my cat rejects eco-litter. Lucky I didn’t leave any surprises around the house like some orange citizen I know (who will remain anonymous to preserve his dignity).
  • I keep getting a load of free newspapers, in dutch, despite the ‘No unaddressed advertising’ sticker on the mailbox. Talk about waste of paper. They sit in the mailbox till it’s recycle day. Grrrrr…
  • I kinda dropped the ball on monitoring my utility bills… I have no idea how much money, if any, I am saving. I know this sounds strange but we’ve had this arrangement 1,5 years now. The bills are included in the rent and we are adjusting it when we move out.

And now for the good stuff…

  • The freezer is unplugged! Hoorray!
  • Bringing Your Own Bags is old news here, everyone does it (plastic bags are a expensive commodity here, you know). So I took it to the next level, where I am viciously storing and reusing EVERY single bag I already have. This includes stuffing my totes with paper bags for fruit and veggies on the verge of disintegration, piles of price stickers on top of each other. I am also religiously reusing egg cartons. If the eggs are not packed yet I just put them in My Own Carton. At one organic stand at the market, I ‘exchange’ my empty cartons for a full carton, their cartons are all reused as well.
  • We are now unplugging all our electrics from the socket. Except the microwave… I use it as a watch in the kitchen. Being disorganized also means having improvised watches, like the cell phone, the microwave and the church tower.
  • I recently discovered that we are actually using green electricity here. I would never suspected that of my landlords, judging by the stashes of disposable plates, cups and utensils we inherited. Oddly, I found out because it says so on the mailbox sticker. Awsome!
  • I am growing herbs on the balcony, which are just starting to be big enough to use. We are also growing arugula and spinach (even though I’m pretty sure I’m messing up the spinach).
  • We are buying organic veggies exclusively (unless there is dinner emergency), and buying as local as possible. And strangely, I don’t think I am spending much more money than before. At least not enough to notice.
  • What I am noticing is that we are buying less quantities of veggies, and using them. Because organic stuff is so expensive, we really cut down on food waste. When we were buying the cheapest, we would often get a bunch of stuff and let it go bad.
  • We stopped relying on meat for every meal. Now we have an agreement on once-a-week meat, but ironically, we forgot to honour it this week. Our tasty organic steak this week was, sadly, replaced by some crappy supermarket salami.
  • And finally, a very satisfying change is that I don’t buy my stuff at the supermarket anymore. Now I just go there on emergencies, like the above mentioned dinner, as well as breakfast and litter emergencies. That means that I am also avoiding the plastic invasion of my kitchen by the packaging army.
  • Oh, and I almost forgot! I got the Diva Cup, no more disposables for this gal!

I’ts looking good, everyone! I don’t think that any of the changes I made are very hard to do, but it does take a lot more ‘thinking investment’ into my daily life. And it requires me to be constantly on the look out for the packaging scum of the Earth trying to infiltrate my home. I know that supposedly I am spending more money on food, but somehow I am not noticing any cash flow shortages. And I do think what we’ve been doing has the potential of saving me more money than what I am spending. So in the end, it’s all peaches and cream. As long as they are organic of course 😉

May 8, 2007 at 1:33 am 7 comments

Meat less!

entrecôte 

My name is Alina, I am a meat-aholic and it’s been 7 days since my last steak. Lori, sign me up for the support group. I mean, stock cubes don’t count, right? I know it may not sound like much, but for a couple of unrepentant meat lovers like ourselves, its a major accomplishment.

Before we started this blog we were eating meat at least once a day,  for dinner and with sandwiches… And for people aiming for sustainability like yours truly, that’s a big no-no.  

Recently we started buying our meat exclusively from the organic butcher, but even so, we were still getting bacon cubes and sandwich hams or pates and such at the supermarket. I still don’t know how Bryce ever agreed to this… He squirmed every time I mentioned ‘eating less meat for the environment’.  But then I also mentioned that eating less meat is healthier, and considering that most of his family is meat and dairy intolerant, he figured it was better to delay his mandatory vegan days for a few years…

And so, somehow, we managed to go a whole week without meat in any way, not even bacon (again, stock cubes don’t count, right? ). It took a lot of imagination just to figure out “What the hell are we gonna do for dinna??” It took a lot of effort not to eat lentils every day, but we did it!

This week we had a stew, with texturized soya protein instead of meat which was reasonable, didn’t miss the meat so much. We had potato hash browns with portobella mushrooms and roasted brie, which was pretty damn good. We had some lentils (doh). We had some veggie pasta with a nice organic kohlrabi salad. 

Less successful was our bean and rice dish from last night which failed miserably, by the time the beans were half-done I had already lost my appetite and was in ‘go to bed’ mode. But not all is lost, we are still going to eat them tonight, hopefully a couple more hours cooking and they should be done 😀 And yes, I did soak them… but only for the afternoon. I am still not very proficient in planning my meals more than a few hours ahead.entrecôte

I have to admit I still shy away from the soya products section… I don’t know what I did wrong but every time I tried to reach out to tofu, things never really worked out between us. Fortunately, Bryce seems to be more comfortable with it so I think we might try using tofu and the likes pretty soon.

All things considered, I would say it was a pretty successful week in terms of culinary prowess and meat-lessness. But I have to say… I am very much looking forward to treating myself to a yummy, juicy, organic entrecôte tomorrow, maybe followed by organic bacon and eggs on Sunday *droooooool*

Photo Courtesy of FotoosVanRobin on Flickr.

April 20, 2007 at 5:02 pm 8 comments


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