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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
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By Stanley A. Fishman

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DISCLOSURE AND DISCLAIMER

I am an attorney and an author, not a doctor. This website is intended to provide information about grassfed meat, what it is, its benefits, and how to cook it. I will also describe my own experiences from time to time. The information on this website is being provided for educational purposes. Any statements about the possible health benefits provided by any foods or diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I do receive some compensation each time a copy of my book is purchased.

—Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

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The Way of Broth

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Beef bone broth made from nutrient-rich grass fed beef

Beef bone broth made from nutrient-rich grass fed beef.

Once a week, I awake early in the morning. I will need the extra time. I am going to perform a task that will nourish my body with an almost magical concoction full of natural minerals, gelatin, marrow, and other nutrients, using what may be one of the oldest cooking methods. I have been doing this for over ten years, and my technique has evolved over time, becoming simpler and easier. Today I make bone broth.

 

The Tradition

Bone broth is one of the oldest human foods, and one of the simplest. Basically, bones and meat scraps are placed in a large pot with plenty of water, and simmered slowly until the bones and meat have released their priceless nutrients into the broth. Vegetables are usually added, as is salt. As the water comes to a boil, the scum that rises to the top is skimmed off and discarded. The broth is served hot, and slowly sipped, or used as the base for all kinds of traditional soups.

 

Why I Make It

Traditional bone broth, simmered slowly for at least twelve hours, is much richer in minerals, gelatin, and other nutrients than any broth you can buy at a market. It is now possible to purchase traditionally made broth, usually by Internet order, but this broth is so expensive that it makes much more sense to make my own.

 

The Ingredients

I have found that all kinds of meat, poultry, and bones will make great broth. At this point, I usually use leftovers, often with some raw scraps and bones left over from trimming various cuts of meat, and find that the broth is every bit as good as when I used only fresh ingredients.

I use only the bones and meat of grassfed/pastured animals or poultry. Our ancestors did not use feedlot animals, or meat containing artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and other chemicals, and neither do I.

I use only organic or the equivalent vegetables. I do not want pesticide residue to be released into my broth.

I use only filtered water. My filter uses the reverse osmosis process, which is the only way I know to get rid of the fluoride. Fluoride, chlorine, and aluminum are usually added to tap water, along with other chemicals. I do not want them in my broth. Our ancestors did not have these chemicals in their broth.

Using reverse osmosis water is controversial, because the conventional belief is that you could suffer a mineral deficiency, because minerals are also removed by the filtering process. Since the mineral content of water differs greatly from location to location, I do not find this to be a good enough reason to have human-made chemicals in my broth. What I do know is that a great deal of minerals are released into the broth during the long simmering process, far more than any tap water would contain. I also add a fair amount of unrefined sea salt. This salt comes with all the natural minerals that are stripped out of factory salt, and these minerals also become part of the broth.

My bones and teeth are very strong, dense, and hard, so I know I have no mineral deficiency. On the contrary, I credit my daily mug of broth with helping to maintain my strong bones and teeth.

Many people add vinegar to bone broth, the idea being that the acid will cause more of the minerals to dissolve. I used to use vinegar for this purpose, but I have not used it for years. I like the taste much better without the vinegar.

 

The Cooking

This is so simple. You place a large amount of bones, sinew, meat scraps, etc. in a large stockpot (which is not aluminum). You bring it to a simmer, skim the scum off the top, add the vegetables of your choice, cover, and let simmer for at least twelve hours. Why twelve hours? An old French cookbook explained that scientists had tested the mineral content of broth, and found that twelve hours of simmering was needed to release a significant amount of minerals and nutrients from the bones into the broth. I usually simmer my broth for a bit more than 12 hours, but there are people who simmer it much longer. Their broth is probably more nutrient-dense, but I am happy with mine. After the broth is ready, it is strained and placed in containers. There are several ways to store and preserve it.

 

The Benefits

We each drink a big mug of hot broth every day, sipping it slowly, usually just before dinner. It is so refreshing and renewing, and helps prepare our bodies for digestion. The high gelatin content soothes the stomach, and aids digestion. We are also taking what I consider the best mineral supplement on earth, as natural as it could possibly be, in the way of our ancestors. The proof of these benefits is in our strong, dense teeth and bones, and the complete absence of any problems with our joints and bones. Many people have used such broths to fight off sickness and help the body recover from illness. In fact, there are too many benefits to list them all. These benefits may be why I get a happy feeling as I make broth.

And it makes the absolute best gravies and sauces.

Any way you look at it, traditional homemade broth is the best!

Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday blog carnival.

Kind Treatment Results in Better Meat

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Happy cows grazing.

Happy cows grazing.

Nearly all people have a strong, instinctive desire to eat meat. Despite all the attempts to demonize all meat during the last fifty years, world meat consumption is steadily rising.

After reviewing the unbiased scientific evidence, and studying the food traditions of most of the world, and knowing what my body needs to eat, I am convinced that the grassfed meat of our ancestors is a vital and necessary food.

Many people are disturbed by the fact that we cannot have meat without killing animals. Yet, the traditional way of raising meat animals gives them a happy life, and a quick, merciful death.

This is done not necessarily to be kind, but because meat raised in the traditional manner will not be good unless the animals are happy, well fed, and content in their lives, and killed so quickly that they have no time to suffer. This is one time where kindness is actually good business.

 

The Problem

We need meat to thrive and be healthy. We instinctively want to eat it. Yet we cannot get real meat without killing an animal. And modern agriculture treats many meat animals with cruelty, feeding them unnatural foods, drugging them, confining them in unnatural conditions, such as CAFOs and feedlots.

Many people, including me, are revolted by cruelty to animals, which is despicable. Yet, I need meat to thrive and be healthy.

 

The Grassfed Solution

I was looking at a beautiful grassfed roast. A beautiful color, with nice marbling. It made me hungry just to look at it. The butcher came over and said, “Happy cow.” He told me that the happiest cows gave the best meat.

The butcher had grown up on a cattle ranch in Mexico, and knew cattle. The cattle on his ranch only ate pasture, and the ranchers did everything they could to give their cattle a calm, peaceful life, plenty of water, lots of company from the herd, and the best possible pasture. A cow would not put on weight if it was stressed or unhappy, so it was necessary to give them a good life to get a good yield of meat. When it came time to kill a steer for meat, it was done by surprise, quickly, so quickly that the animal had no time to even get scared, let alone suffer.

The ranchers knew that if a cow, or any meat animal, gets scared or stressed, chemicals are released which ruin the taste and composition of the meat. Every grassfed rancher I have talked to also knows this, and all of them try to give their herds peaceful, happy lives, and to avoid stressing the animals.

CAFOs and feedlots are another story, and a disgusting one. The emphasis there is to raise the animals to slaughter weight as quickly and cheaply as possible, using drugs, hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, and processed feed. These methods enable even a miserable cow to put on weight, and kindness is obviously not a priority, or even a concern. Even these factory cows are killed quickly, to prevent the stress hormones from ruining the meat.

A review of the unbiased evidence, and my own personal experience, has convinced me that the grassfed meat of our ancestors is much better, in taste and nutrition, than factory meat.

So, to me, the solution is simple. Stop using hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, and feedlots to fatten meat animals. Make all meat from grazing animals grassfed, raised on the pasture in the traditional way. Our food will be much better. Ranchers will treat the animals well because it will increase their profits. And the lives of these animals will be much better.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday blog carnival.

 

Why I Do Not Fear Grassfed Meat

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Grass-fed picanha (sirloin tip)

A delicious grassfed roast.

An endless array of studies claim that eating meat, or too much meat, will cause all kinds of harm. I am not sure that there is a disease or chronic condition that has not been blamed on eating meat.

But I find that all these studies share certain flaws. Fatal flaws. As an attorney, I have decades of experience in analyzing evidence and evaluating arguments. And I find the case against meat to be based on flimsy evidence, at best, and the arguments are either based on this poor evidence, or on ideology, not fact.

And every one of these fear-all-meat-studies share the same fatal flaw—they never distinguish between the pure, grassfed meats developed by nature, and the factory meat that has been developed for profit.

The two meats are very different in their composition and content. A study that fails to distinguish between them is worthless, in my opinion, when it comes to grassfed meat.

And I believe that the most comprehensive, unbiased, and hands-on study of all exonerates the grassfed meat of nature.

 

The Fatal Flaws

There are many common problems with the anti-meat studies, such as asking the participants to remember everything they ate over a period of years, when most people cannot remember what they ate over the last week. I do not have the space to describe all the problems, but three stand out.

First Flaw: Most of the meat eaten in the modern world is factory meat. This is meat that has been raised with the use of chemicals, such as growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and other substances that were never part of the raising of meat animals until the twentieth century. These animals were also fed a diet that is not natural to their species, consisting in part of GMO plants that were grown with the aid of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, or non-GMO plants also grown with chemicals. Part of the diet could also consist of a huge variety of human-created feed such as restaurant plate waste, expired bakery items, or even plastic balls. None of these are the foods of nature. If this meat is harmful, and I am not saying that it is, we have no way of knowing as to whether the harm is caused by the meat, or the chemicals it contains, or the combination of both.

Second Flaw: The studies focus on meat as the only causative factor, but many other factors are just as important, such as the other foods the people in the study ate. This usually includes a huge variety of modern foods that are raised, or prepared, or preserved in completely unnatural ways, utilizing a huge variety of human-made chemicals. Many of the people in these studies are inactive, or suffer great stress from their jobs or other factors, or smoke, or drink too much alcohol, or take illegal drugs, and most of them take one or many prescription drugs, and over the counter drugs.

All of these factors are known to have drastic effects on human health, and we have no way of knowing whether it is the meat, or the combination of these factors, or some of these factors, or the interaction with one or more of these factors with the meat, that causes the harm.

The third fatal flaw is that these studies never distinguish between the effects of eating factory meat, or the grassfed meat of nature, which has nourished humanity from the beginning. In fact, these studies treat all meat as being the same, which it is not.

 

Dr. Weston A. Price Established that Eating the Meat of Nature Does Not Cause Disease

Dr. Weston A. Price did the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever done, traveling around the world for ten years to visit, in person, the healthy peoples eating their traditional diet. Dr. Price, a very spiritual man, expected to find that the healthy peoples were eating a plant-based diet. What he found instead, and had the integrity to report, was that all of the healthy peoples he found ate plenty of animal foods, including meat. None of these peoples had any of the diseases of the modern world, and all were free of illness, as long as they ate the diet of their ancestors.

While the diets of the various healthy peoples differed in many ways, some of them ate only animal foods, and one of the groups he spent the most time with ate only meat and fat, for most of the year.

The natives of northern Canada lived in a climate so cold that fish could not live in the rivers, and there were no edible plants for most of the year. These people survived entirely on the meat, organs, and fat of the animals they hunted, especially moose. They were free of all disease, and had perfect teeth. This could not happen if natural meat was harmful.

For these reasons, I feel perfectly safe in eating all the grassfed meat my body wants, and my health has improved greatly since I have done so.

Our government says that factory meat is safe. I choose not to eat it because I dislike the way it tastes and how I personally feel after eating it. But I always feel good after eating grassfed meat.

Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Dr. Weston A. Price Did Not Advocate Plant-Based Diets

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

One of the healthiest traditional fats, pastured butter.

One of the healthiest traditional fats, pastured butter.

Dr. Weston A. Price was, in my opinion, the greatest nutritional researcher of all time. He spent ten years actually visiting healthy traditional peoples, studying and recording what they ate first hand, and comparing the health of people eating their traditional diet with their relatives who ate modern foods. He discovered that people eating the traditional diet of their ancestors were much healthier than their relatives who ate modern foods.

Dr. Price recorded his findings in a book entitled Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, published in 1939. The book is difficult for many people to read and understand, as are many academic works.

Somehow, the rumor is spreading on the Internet that Dr. Price was an advocate of eating only plant foods. This is simply not true, as Dr. Price addressed the issue directly in his book.

 

The Physical Degeneration

Dr. Price was a dentist, in Cleveland Ohio. He noticed that each generation of his patients was less healthy than their parents, with decayed teeth, badly formed and crowded mouths, and deformed arches in the mouth. Clearly, something was very wrong. Dr. Price noticed how the American diet was changing, with more and more processed factory foods being eaten. Dr. Price believed that this change in diet might be responsible for the physical degeneration he was observing. But, what should people eat to be healthy? One day, Dr. Price saw a photo of a “primitive” man, who was grinning. The man had superb, perfectly formed teeth, with no signs of decay. Dr. Price decided that the diets of the so called primitive peoples might have the answer.

 

The Plant Food Desire

It is true that Dr. Price, before he set out on his ten year journey, believed that he would find that the traditional healthy peoples would eat plant foods only. Dr. Price, a gentle and very spiritual man, disliked the killing of animals for food, and thought he would find that people could thrive on plants alone.

Dr. Price, however, was a true scientist, more interested in learning the truth than proving his theory.

 

The Animal Truth

Dr. Price found, contrary to his expectations, that animal foods were crucial to a good diet. He stated that he had never found a group which was building and maintaining excellent bodies by eating only plant foods. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, page 279.

There it is. All the peoples he found with excellent health from a traditional diet ate animal foods, especially the fats demonized in modern nutrition. This is described in detail in his book, where every healthy people he found ate plenty of animal foods, and animal fat.

And Dr. Price also commented on the plant food only groups of his day, noting that they all had signs of dental degeneration, if they had been on the diet for an extended time. He also noted that their children had deformed dental arches. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, page 279.

As we can see, there is nothing new about the belief that people should eat only plant foods, as Dr. Price did most of his research in the 1930′s.

Dr. Price found that we need animal foods to be healthy, good real foods, not the foods of industry.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

The Power of a Good Grassfed Steak, Pastured Butter, and Pastured Sour Cream

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Grassfed Butter Steak, Tender Grassfed Barbecue, page 76

Grassfed Butter Steak, Tender Grassfed Barbecue, page 76

Sometimes life presents us with difficult challenges. Not that we want them, but sometimes they are there, and must be dealt with. I am in the middle of dealing with a very difficult challenge right now. Not to worry, it is not a matter of life and death. And I am doing well with it, considering. And a good end is in sight, more likely than not.

Yet it takes a huge amount of energy and time to deal with, and often leaves me feeling worn out and discouraged. And I admit, I really hate to deal with it. But there it is.

However, I have found help in the wisdom of our ancestors. Their solution for so many problems was to eat the right food. For me, yesterday, it was a thick grassfed beefsteak, cooked rare, juicy, tender and delicious, served with pastured butter and sour cream.

 

Modern Solutions

The modern way to deal with mental stress is to take a drug, often a prescription drug, hoping it will somehow relieve or fix the problem. But, my body has fought every drug I have ever taken, over the counter or by prescription, and it always felt bad. While I have never taken anti depressants or any kind of psychiatric medication, I know they are not for me. I have not taken any kind of drug for over ten years, and I am much the better for it. Obviously, our ancestors never had these kinds of medications.

Some people will eat a lot of sweets and factory desserts, which may give them temporary relief but creates a craving for the product, and other problems. Not a solution for me either, as I have felt much better since I gave up eating that kind of thing.

 

Traditional Solutions

Our ancestors had two major solutions for relieving mental stress, one good, and one bad, in my opinion.

The bad option was to get drunk. I got drunk exactly once in my life, and I hated the experience so much that it never happened again, and never will.

The good option was to eat the right food, which was always real. So many cultures would serve food at times of stress, such as wakes. And the food would usually have a good amount of pastured animal fat, of one kind or another. The belief was that the food would help the stressed person feel better. Research has shown that butter and other animal fats provide important nutrients to the brain, which is probably why our ancestors served such foods at stressful times. My belief is that the food provided nutrients that helped the brain cope with the stress, which resulted in feeling better. I also believe that we require more nutrients at times of stress, so I decided to eat more of what would help nourish my brain.

 

My Solution

I made a really thick, grassfed steak, served with plenty of butter and sour cream. I was almost too tired to cook it, but I made it with one of the easy recipes in my cookbook, Tender Grassfed Meat.

After a couple of bites of the delicious tender meat, combined with pastured butter and sour cream, I started to feel better. My exhaustion began to fade, and I just felt better. At the end of the meal, I felt fine. I had energy! I felt confident that the resolution of the challenge would go well, and I felt ready for it. So I will continue to follow the way of our ancestors and nourish my brain with plenty of pastured animal fat and grassfed meat.

A truly delicious solution!

Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

No Soy Korean Short Rib Stew

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Tender, delicious Korean-style short ribs. With no soy!

Tender, delicious Korean-style short ribs. With no soy!

Some of the more affordable cuts of meat are also the most flavorful. They can be very tender if properly cooked. Beef short ribs are such a cut, with a deep beefy flavor, and a wonderful unique texture. Grassfed short ribs are particularly flavorful. Short ribs are highly valued in Korea, where they are often thinly cut, marinated, and grilled.

The marinades always include some soy sauce, which is a problem for those avoiding soy. This short rib stew uses some traditional Korean flavorings, and my favorite substitute for soy sauce, Red Boat fish sauce. I actually prefer to use Red Boat fish sauce to any soy sauce, as it gives a better flavor to the dish. The apples may seem unusual, but they give a wonderful flavor to the dish. It makes its own gravy as it cooks, and is so easy. Yet it is one of the most delicious recipes for beef short ribs I have ever eaten.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds boneless grassfed short ribs

1 (2-inch) piece organic ginger, finely chopped

3 cloves organic garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce

2 tablespoons organic toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1 tablespoon raw organic honey

1 teaspoon freshly ground organic black pepper

1 large organic onion, chopped

2 organic apples, preferably Fuji, peeled and chopped into small cubes

DIRECTIONS

  1. Trim the fat on the ribs to no more than one quarter inch thick. Cut the boneless ribs into one inch squares.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place all ingredients in a sturdy casserole, preferably cast iron or enameled cast iron. Mix very well. Cover the pot and place in the oven.
  3. Cook for 3 hours at 250 degrees. This wonderful dish will be ready in 3 hours. Yes, it really is that easy.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

 

A Great Simple Grassfed Steak

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

U.S. Wellness Meats Delmonico steak. (Used with permission of U.S. Wellness Meats.)

U.S. Wellness Meats Delmonico steak. (Used with permission of U.S. Wellness Meats.)

Sometimes the very best food is simple, and easy to prepare. Complex, difficult recipes with dozens of ingredients, and difficult methods may be impressive, but the results are often disappointing, and hardly anyone will actually make them. When you have great meat, simple is best.

This old truth was brought home to me this Valentine’s Day, when two magnificent Delmonico steaks from U.S. Wellness Meats gave us an incredible meal, so good that no fancy recipe could even come close, in my opinion.

 

Good, Real Meat comes with Its Own Great Taste

There is an old saying, going back all the way to the Middle Ages:

“God gives us great meat, the devil gives us cooks.”

This saying referred to the fact that truly great meat has a wonderful flavor, texture and tenderness of its own, which is often ruined or diminished when cooks do too much to it. A few simple ingredients and the right technique, combined in a way that brings out, rather than overwhelms the natural flavor of great grassfed meat, is ideal. And it can be very simple and quick to cook.

 

The Meat

The meat is the most important part of cooking a great steak. There are many cuts of meat that used to be popular in the United States that are almost unknown today, which is a shame. You never see a pin bone sirloin steak anymore, but they used to be very popular. A bone in New York steak, sometimes called Delmonico, after the first fancy restaurant to become famous in the United States, is also very hard to find. Fortunately, U.S. Wellness Meats, which sells great grassfed meat online, carries a grassfed version of this cut, with the wonderful, flavor-giving bone. The meat is grassfed, just like meat was fed in the nineteenth century, when Delmonico steak was created. I chose this for our Valentine’s meal.

Why did I choose a bone in steak? The bone in this cut gives incredible flavor, as substances from the bone are released into the meat during the cooking. No spice, condiment, or oil can provide flavor like this.

 

The Method

The steaks looked so good when they arrived, even frozen, that I decided to prepare them using the simplest of three recipes for Delmonico steak contained in my first cookbook, Tender Grassfed Meat, on page 85. (This recipe can be made with a bone in or boneless steak.) The recipe contains only four ingredients, besides the steak. I knew these ingredients and this method would bring out the natural flavor of the steaks, not overwhelm it.

I thawed the steaks, and let them marinate for a few hours in a single, traditional ingredient. I added the other simple ingredients, melted some butter in a pan, and cooked them.

Cooking time was exactly eight minutes. That was all.

We were rewarded with a steak so good, so flavorful, so tender, that I would not trade it for the most expensive Kobe beef on the planet, cooked at the world’s top steakhouse.

The bone and the fat in the nicely marbled meat created so much beefy flavor, it was so tender, and the simple traditional ingredients brought out the magnificent real taste of the grassfed meat, a taste all the spices and condiments in the world could never create, could never equal.

That simple, easily cooked steak, was one of the best I ever had.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

Traditional Food Combinations, and What They Mean

One of the oldest traditional Chinese food combinations: ginger, garlic, and green onion.

One of the oldest traditional Chinese food combinations: ginger, garlic, and green onion.

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Our culture looks at the nutritional value of each type of food separately. For example, we are told the amount of calories, and the nutrients contained in a potato. Or we are told to eat a certain group of foods daily, with little attention paid to what they are actually eaten with, or how they are prepared, as long as certain “bad” foods are avoided.

Yet our ancestors paid enormous attention to combining different foods, herbs, and spices, and to how they were prepared. Thousands of combinations and preparation methods were developed, and food was always eaten and prepared in harmony with these traditions.

Why did they go to so much trouble and effort, and follow these very distinct rules and traditions?

When they wrote about it, or passed down the tradition verbally, our ancestors were clear that these traditions were developed to enhance nutrition and health, with taste being a secondary though important consideration.

In my opinion, this is precious knowledge, often reflecting thousands of years of human experience and testing, and well worth preserving, and using.

 

How Food Combinations Work

When you eat several kinds of foods at one meal, your body does not process each food item separately, but processes the combination of what is eaten. We know that combining different substances often changes their effect, and can create a combined effect.

For example, let us look at the potato. Potatoes are classed as carbohydrates, and believed to cause hyperglycemic effects. But few people eat potatoes in isolation. In traditional Europe, potatoes were usually eaten with a large amount of animal fat. Some studies have indicated that eating potatoes with fat can counter the glycemic effect. No doubt eating potatoes with other foods also changes the effects of the potatoes, in ways that have not been scientifically studied.

Different cultures would eat many different things with potatoes as well as fat. For example, it became a widespread tradition in Europe and the U.S. to often combine meat and potatoes. In fact, the combination became so widespread and common that the phrase “meat and potatoes”  meant the foods that were essential for a complete meal.

Later research has established that meat is essentially an acidic food, and that potatoes are essentially an alkaline food. We know that it is important for our health to maintain the right acid/alkaline balance in our bodies. I suspect the tradition of eating meat and potatoes (or meat with alkaline foods), stems from old knowledge of how to combine foods. Knowledge learned without the benefits of chemistry or studies, learned instead through long experience.

One of the oldest and most common Chinese food combinations is to use, ginger, garlic, and green onions together, in a multitude of dishes. We know that each of these foods has beneficial effects individually, but no one appears to have studied them in combination. Yet the Chinese tradition of combining them reflects a belief that they are far more effective in combination than alone, which may very well be true.

 

How to Learn and Use Traditional Food Combinations

Fortunately, many of these combinations have been preserved as recipes and traditions. We can get the benefits just by using these recipes, with real food ingredients. We do not even need to know what they do, to get the benefits.

There are so many of them that I will not even attempt to list them, but I do use them in cooking. Not only does this usually result in a delicious meal, but I believe the nutritional and beneficial effects of the food is enhanced by using these traditional combinations. I am working on a new cookbook that is based on using some of these traditional combinations in easy recipes, using only real food ingredients. Testing the recipes for this book has been absolutely delicious!

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Why I Prefer Traditional Foods and Cooking

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

A traditional cast iron stove.

A traditional stove.

I was asked why I keep looking to the past for cooking inspiration. Modern technology and food science has developed faster and more efficient ways of raising and cooking food, innovations that are supposed to make everything better. Preserving food with chemicals prevents it from spoiling, and being wasted. Science has invented ways of extracting oil from plants that never were able to produce oil before, such as soy and corn. Scientific ways of raising cattle, with genetics, drugs, hormones, and feedlots, which cut the time it takes to bring a steer to market in half. And so many other new ways of doing things, that make the food traditions of the past obsolete.

I see it differently. Speed, efficiency, and innovation do not necessarily make food better. In fact, they often make it much worse, in my experience. These innovations are designed for profit, not for taste or nutrition.

And, to me, nutrition and taste are by far the most important aspects of food. Our ancestors also valued nutrition and taste above all. The food traditions of our ancestors have been passed down for hundreds and thousands of years, tested by every generation that used them. They became traditions because they enhanced nutrition and taste, and because they worked.

 

Traditional Foods vs. Modern Foods

Modern foods, grown and raised with a heavy dose of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, hormones, genetic modification, and feedlots, preserved through radiation and chemical preservatives, often flavored by chemicals, and designed for long shelf life and profit, are very different from the foods of our ancestors.

The traditional foods of humanity were developed over time, and eaten over many generations, so the ability to use and process these foods effectively was part of our ancestral heritage. These foods required rich soil, full of nutrients, to grow in; or rich pastures, also full of nutrients. Seafood was almost universally wild, with the nutrients of nature. Fertilizers and pest control methods were natural, using the products of nature, not a lab. These foods had a density and quality of nutrients that is rarely found today. And the wonderful natural taste of these foods, from nature, was much better than the taste of the factory foods used today.

Traditional foods were developed over many generations, raised in accordance with the laws of nature. They became traditional foods because they gave great nutrition to people, generation after generation.

Modern factory foods are a product of human technology, not nature. They have a very short history of use, and are developed for long shelf life and profit, not nutrition or taste.

I prefer to eat traditional foods, and am much healthier and happier when I do so.

 

Traditional Cooking vs. Modern Cooking

Modern cooking methods have been developed for speed, ease, and convenience. They have also been developed to enable people to cook factory foods, which are very different from traditional foods, and must often be cooked differently. Modern cooking equipment often uses methods that have never been used before in history, cookware from modern metals such as aluminum, non-stick cookware, and many other such innovations.

Traditional cooking methods consist of ways of preparing and combining foods that have been passed down from generation to generation, often going back thousands of years, often being slightly modified over time, yet essentially the same. They use the same cooking implements and techniques that humanity has used for thousands of years, many of which can easily be reproduced in an easier form by more modern methods. For example, an ordinary electric oven can bake and roast in much the same way as an ancient wood fire, especially when the temperatures are adjusted to mimic the temperature cycle of a fire burning down. Some techniques, such as frying meat in butter in a heavy cast iron pan, are essentially identical.

My books are devoted to recreating food traditions in a modern kitchen, especially the cooking of grassfed meat, and doing it the easy way.

I prefer traditional foods cooked in a traditional way, because it has been so much better for me in so many ways, and because it tastes so much better with an almost infinite number of time tested dishes to try and enjoy.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

When It Comes to Real Food, Simple and Traditional Tastes Best

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

A traditional stew of grass fed meat and organic vegetables tastes wonderful and is perfec for a winter day.

A traditional winter stew of grassfed meat and organic vegetables tastes wonderful.

Many people believe that good cooking is a mystery, one that can only be solved by celebrity chefs using arcane ingredients and complex methods. These TV chefs often use new methods and combinations that have been invented by the chefs, who gets praised for their innovation. High-tech modern products like meat glue are often used by such chefs.

I believe that simple recipes, using real food such as grassfed meat and organic traditional vegetables, using traditional food combinations, and traditional methods, prepared by ordinary people, taste the best.

I believe that cooking should be easy, not complex and difficult.

I am inspired by the quality and benefits of grassfed meat and real food, with their wonderful natural flavors. I am inspired by the ingenious simplicity of traditional cooking, which often uses just a few ingredients, simply combined and prepared, to produce outstanding, healthy food. These flavor combinations became traditional because they are really good. Many of these traditions are being lost, and I am honored to help preserve some of them in my cookbooks.

I contend that the best grassfed meat and real food is simple, using traditional methods, traditional ingredients, and easy recipes. When you have great ingredients, their wonderful natural taste should come out.

 

With Real Food — Simple Is Better

When I wrote my two cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue, I had several goals. One of the most important was to make them simple, and easy to use. Another goal was to provide recipes that were absolutely delicious. A third goal was to create recipes that people would actually make.

These three goals are not contradictory, if you are using grassfed meat and real food. The quality of these foods from nature is so high that the food itself provides most of the flavor. In fact, I contend that grassfed meat and real food are the best when prepared simply with traditional methods and ingredients. You can have a wonderful dish with just a few ingredients, if they are of the highest quality, and carefully combined. When you use only a few ingredients, all are important and changing even one of them can have a dramatic effect on the taste of the dish.

Real food ingredients have so much natural flavor and goodness that they are at their best when made simply, so that their wonderful natural flavor can come out.

Then, there is the simple fact that complex recipes, with dozens of ingredients, and difficult, complex techniques, are much harder and take much more effort and time to make. Often complex recipes fail, for any of a number of reasons. Usually, complex recipes are read, admired, and never made.

I want my cooking to be easy and simple, and delicious. I wrote these books for the ordinary person, because I wanted them to have ways to cook tender grassfed meat that were not only delicious, but easy. I wanted my recipes to be used, and enjoyed.

I did not write these books for critical acclaim, but to help people make delicious grassfed meat, the easy way.

In fact, I admit it, I prefer to make easy meals! It is not only easier, it is more fun!

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

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