I have a simple experiment that I would like us to do together, one which may prove to you that you don’t actually like meat as much as you think you do.
Because I know that people’s diets are something they hold very dear, I’d like to start off with a disclaimer: I am not a maniacal vegan/vegetarian. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of burgers, ribs, steaks, bacon, and stews. My goal is not to convince you that meat is murder, or animal products should be avoided at all costs. I only want to share with you an experience that helped make my own relationship with food a little more honest.
So, Do You “Really” Like Meat?
An odd thought struck me one day, “Do I actually like meat, or do I just eat it out of habit?” I’d been eating dinner when I noticed that when it came to most fruits and vegetables, I enjoyed them raw or lightly steamed, but when it came to meat, I almost never ate it without some type of spices or sauce. My own plate had a freshly washed plum, carrot, and some light green beans, all sitting next to two BBQ chicken legs. Down here in Texas it seems like we put more thought into a quality BBQ sauce (salty and smoky with just a hint of spicy sweetness) than we do into the actual meat it goes on.
I quickly ran through a mental exercise, picturing all of the various foods I ate. Every time a fruit came up, it was almost always consumed raw after a quick rinse. Vegetables were usually raw or in the case of potatoes, green beans, or tomatoes, they were either steamed or sauteed for just a couple of minutes and then thrown onto the plate while still a bit crunchy.
When I thought of the meats I ate, it was a different story. I loved salty cured bacon, smoked hams and prosciutto, ribs slathered in BBQ sauce, salted and peppered steaks, fried and battered chicken tenders, burgers covered in cheese, and wings deep fried in grease and slathered with lemon pepper seasoning. When was the last time I ate just plain old meat?
Now I’m not advocating that we all eat raw bloody flesh from a fresh kill. But really, when was the last time you had a simple cut of cooked meat without any kind of added flavors from sauces or “flavor enhancing” salt or smoke? I personally couldn’t remember the last time I had just plain meat. Even when I had been on a clean bodybuilding diet I would still salt and pepper my boring old chicken breasts.
If you can’t remember the last time you just had a simple chunk of meat, is it really fair to go along with the idea that you like, or even love meat? Maybe you really just love the marinara sauce or Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (who doesn’t?)!
The next time you go to the grocery store, go ahead and buy some raw meat on the bone and cook it at home without anything added. No seasoning, no marinade, no sauce, just heat it up! You could boil it in a pot, or put it in a pan and bake it with a little bit of water and foil cover to keep it from drying out. Give it a try! See what you think. You may be surprised at the results.
Maybe this experiment will reaffirm your love for meat and prove to you once and for all that it’s the most fantastic food group. Maybe it will be surprisingly un-appetizing and help you to realize that you aren’t as attached to it as you believed.
Bon apetit! (: