By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat
Meat and potatoes were once so popular that the very term came to mean the very essence, the indispensible part of anything, the “meat and potatoes.” In terms of a good main meal, meat and potatoes were always there, and anything else was optional.
The attempts to ram grain and vegetables down people’s throats, as exemplified by the ridiculous food pyramid, changed this. Meat has been demonized as unhealthy in a myriad of ways. Potatoes, with their high glycemic index and starch content, have also come under attack, and are avoided by the low-carb movement.
Yet the combination of meat and potatoes is a very old tradition in Europe, one that goes back centuries, back to the introduction of the potato. It was the foundation of the diet (when people could get meat), and they thrived on it. However, the European tradition had a third component, perhaps the most important of all—fat. Fat that was almost always from animal sources, like butter, bacon, lard, beef tallow, lamb tallow, etc. Of course, animal fat is the most demonized food of all.
Demonization aside, the combination of meat, potatoes, and fat is one of the most nutritious and delicious combinations you can have in a meal. Most of our main meals feature this combination, and we thrive on it.
But it is crucial to use the right meat, the right potatoes, and the right fat. Together they create a wonderful balance, both in nutrition and pH balance, and are one of the tastiest food combinations.
The Right Meat Is Raised in a Pasture, Not a Feedlot
When most Americans think of meat, they think of the relatively tasteless, watery, mushy, greasy, nutrition-light factory meat that comes out of feedlots, having been fattened on GMO corn, GMO soy, and a variety of other unnatural feeds that can easily include rendered chicken manure. While this kind of meat is considered safe to eat, safe is not enough. This meat just will not work as part of the traditional trilogy of meat, potatoes, and fat.
Grassfed and grass finished meat, the same kind of meat that was eaten when the meat-potatoes-fat tradition began, is a very different substance. Grassfed meat has incredible flavor, has a nice meaty texture, is not greasy, and is nutrient-dense, having the right ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, and a number of valuable nutrients that are often missing in factory meat.
Grassfed meat is the right meat.
The Right Potatoes Are Not Saturated with Pesticides
The potatoes eaten when the meat-potatoes-fat combination began were not sprayed with pesticides. Most potatoes in the United States are heavily sprayed with a multitude of pesticides, and are one of the most pesticide-heavy foods you can get. The only way to avoid this is to get organic potatoes.
Dr. Weston A. Price studied some of the traditional peoples of Peru, and found them to be free of chronic diseases and tooth decay. Organic potatoes were an important part of their diet, though they ate many animal foods and seafood as well.
The right potatoes are organic potatoes.
The Right Fat Comes from Animals, Not Factory Crops
The fat eaten when the meat-potatoes-fat tradition began in Europe was the fat of grassfed animals, or the fat from their milk. The one exception was olive oil, though olive oil was often combined with animal fats in cooking.
The fat that comes from modern vegetable oils just will not work for this combination, as it did not even exist when the meat-potatoes-fat combination began. These oils have a very high ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids, which is very undesirable. The fats that should not be used include: soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil. An excellent article on this subject is Know Your Fats Introduction.
It is crucial that the fat comes from grassfed and/or pastured animals, eating their natural food, so the fat will be similar to the fat available when the meat-potatoes-fat combination began. This includes butter, full-fat cheese, full-fat milk, full-fat cream, full-fat yogurt, full-fat sour cream, full-fat cultured cream, natural unhydrogenated pork lard, grassfed beef tallow, lamb tallow, bison tallow, and the fat from pastured chickens, geese, and ducks. These fats are extremely nutritious and lend an incredible flavor to food.
The right fat is the fat of grassfed animals, the fat from their milk, and the fat of pastured animals.
Meat, Potatoes, and Fat Balance Each Other
I have come to understand that traditional food combinations stand the test of time because they are beneficial. Time and time again, science has confirmed the wisdom of these traditions.
For example, it is known that it is important to maintain a body pH balance that is not too acidic or alkaline, with slightly alkaline being ideal. Meat is acidic, and potatoes are one of the most alkaline foods you can eat. They are a perfect balance for each other. This may explain why the meat and potato combination was so popular, as traditional peoples always seemed to know what foods should be eaten together.
The adverse effects of the high glycemic index of potatoes are avoided when the potatoes are eaten with plenty of good fat. The fat changes the way that high glycemic foods are digested and absorbed. Again, traditional peoples seemed to know this. In Europe, potatoes were always eaten with plenty of good, natural, traditional fat. Potatoes were baked with cream and milk, fried in lard, fried in butter, fried with bacon, made into casseroles with butter and cheese, covered with sour cream or butter, and combined with cheese and baked into pies. These are just a few of the thousands of ways fat and potatoes were combined. Even the poor would dip their boiled potatoes into butter, or eat them with full-fat milk or cheese.
All of the potato recipes in Tender Grassfed Meat contain plenty of good fat, and they are intended to be eaten with meat, following the tradition.
The food trilogy of grassfed meat, organic potatoes, and natural fat provides the body with an incredible combination of nutrients—leading to satisfaction and contentment.
The taste benefits of meat, potatoes, and fat are just as incredible. I know because I eat this combination almost every day, in many delicious variations.
Here’s to meat and potatoes—and fat!
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