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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
Link to Tender Grassfed Meat at Amazon
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. I receive a very small amount of compensation each time somebody purchases a book from Amazon through the links on this site, as I am a member of the Amazon affiliate program.

—Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

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The Joy of Engaged Cooking, and Real Food

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

Engaged cooking resulted in this wonderful, delicious grass fed pot roast..

Engaged cooking resulted in this wonderful, delicious grassfed pot roast.

Many view cooking as a boring chore, to be done as quickly as possible, with as little effort as possible. Others never cook, living on prepackaged meals, takeout, and restaurants. It has been reported that two-thirds of the American people do not even know how to cook.

I view cooking as an absolute necessity. Real food, the food of our ancestors, does not come in a plastic package you can nuke in a microwave. Sadly, real food rarely exists in restaurants, and when it does, it is extremely expensive.

So, if you are going to enjoy the vital benefits of real food, someone in your family is going to have to cook ,and it might as well be you. But I do not view cooking as a chore. Yes, it can be a lot of work, but it can also be an art form, one that brings health as well as joy, when done well. And the very act of doing it can be a lot of fun!

The key is to be engaged in your cooking.

 

Engaged Cooking

Some people just go through the motions when they cook, mechanically following the instructions in a recipe, just wanting to get it over with. This attitude leads to boredom, frustration, and usually results in a meal that is mediocre, or worse.

Not me. Every meal is an adventure, every time I cook it is different, and I have many rewarding experiences.

Here is why. Every food item is unique. I mean every single item of real food is somewhat different than any other. In other words, the T-bone steak I cook today is different from the one I cook in a week, even if it is from the same ranch, is cut the same way, and weighs the same. This uniqueness is true of every item of real food. No two grapes are exactly alike. every teaspoon of a particular spice tastes and behaves a bit different, even if it comes from the same bottle. Every individual onion has unique qualities, even from the onions that grew next to it and were harvested at the same time. The same is true of every individual bit of real food.

Nothing remains exactly the same, as change is the nature of life.

The same is true of the inanimate manufactured items we use in cooking. No stove cooks exactly the same, even if they come from the same manufacturing lot. Each oven has its own hot spots, and cooler spots. The size and shape of the oven also has an impact, as does the altitude. Burners, even on the same stove, vary in how much heat they give off, regardless of the setting. Every pan conducts heat a bit differently. No stove is perfectly level, and the tilt of the stove and oven also have an effect.

Climate, moisture, temperature in the kitchen, and other factors we are not aware of, change every time we cook.

This is true not only of appliances, but of barbecue fires. No two fires, even if made in the same barbecue, adjusted the same way, with the same fuel, will be alike, or will behave alike.

Everything matters, and everything is unique. And everything changes as time goes on.

What does this mean in cooking? To me, it means I pay attention to what actually happens when the cooking begins. Every cooking experience is unique. I pay attention to how the food is cooking, to how hot the oven or pan seem to be, to the smells of the cooking food. I make adjustments as I go, trusting my instincts. If something seems to be burning, or a sauce seems too thin, or the smell seems off, I take action. I make little adjustments, sometimes major ones. When you do this enough, there is a message in the sounds of the cooking, the smells, the look of roasting meat, the way the fat sizzles in a pan, that tells you things. This sense can only be developed by experience. But responding effectively to these messages is an art, and extremely enjoyable, exciting, even inspiring.

Now, this does not mean that I spend every moment a dish cooks staring at the dish, waiting for something to happen. For example, if I place a covered pot in a slow oven to cook for three hours, I will not stand by the oven for three hours. But I will peek into the pot once or twice, just too make sure that the simmering is taking place as it should. And I will come into the kitchen a couple of times, to make sure there are no smells or sounds that are out of place. And if all is going well, I know that I have done what I need to do, that meal, that time, that day.

The instructions in my cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat, and Tender Grassfed Barbecue, are as detailed as I can efficiently make them, and the recipes have been cooked by me multiple times, with success.

Yet even the most clear, detailed recipe is a road map. You still have to take the journey. If you follow the recipes, you can expect success. And, as you become an experienced cook, and begin to recognize things, you will begin to understand the magical messages of smells, cooking sounds, the look of the food, and you are in for a lot of enjoyment. And your food will get better and better.

Finally, cooking a great meal of real food is one of the best things you can do for your family, your friends, and yourself. The joy of a great meal brings happiness, and the nutrition provided by real food gives health.

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

The Joy of a Traditional Meal

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

In our modern, “advanced” culture, eating is often a burden. We are taught to fear our food, and avoid many foods that our bodies crave and need. Everyone is busy, and meals are often gulped down quickly after being “nuked” in a microwave.

Most of our ancestors viewed meals as being of great importance, and tried to arrange a pleasant, happy setting to eat and enjoy the real food they valued.

 

Modern Eating

The need to get to work or school at an early hour often means a hurried breakfast, gulped down quickly. The time allowed for lunch at work or school is usually short, and eating lunch is often a race against the clock. People are busy in the evening as well, and the time available for cooking and eating dinner is often limited. It is common for people living in the same family to eat at different times. Most people do not know how to cook, and meals often come from a package nuked in the microwave, or consist of takeout from a restaurant. Upset stomachs and digestive ailments are common. Many people try to relieve this discomfort by gulping pills, which only masks the problem, at best.

Of course, many of these problems come from the poor quality of factory food. But the fear of food and the race to hurry through a meal are huge factors as well.

 

Traditional Eating

Our ancestors would have been appalled by this modern way of eating. To most of them, meal time was a carefully conducted ritual, where healthy natural foods were enjoyed without fear or hurry, where every custom was designed to bring harmony and joy to the table. Discussing the taste and quality of the food being enjoyed was a tradition, and it was usually forbidden to argue or raise controversial subjects at the table. Being friendly and courteous was expected. Everyone was expected to do their part to create and sustain a pleasant atmosphere while eating. The cook was praised and complimented for the good food prepared, and thanks for the food was often given before eating began.

There was a definite purpose behind the ritual of a pleasant meal. It was considered absolutely necessary for the food to be properly digested. Our ancestors knew there was more to digestion than cramming food into their mouths.

Our ancestors did not need studies to tell them that eating a delicious meal in harmony , peace, and happiness was important for digestion, and the absorption of nutrients, and they were absolutely right. Modern research has confirmed that stress, hurry, and rushing through meals impairs digestion, and often results in stomach problems, with a variety of unpleasant symptoms.

It is not enough to have good food, it must be properly cooked, eaten in relaxed, pleasant circumstances, and deeply appreciated. This is the time-honored way to help our bodies process the nutrients in food. The importance of having pleasant surroundings as an aid to digestion, and to avoid conflict or stress while eating was mentioned by many ancient, medieval, and pre-twentieth century writers. While circumstances such as war or famine could prevent the tradition of a happy meal from taking place, a peaceful meal of great real food was the ideal, and almost everyone tried to make it happen when circumstances would allow it.

Having a pleasant meal of great real food is a challenge in our modern, hurried culture. But it can be done. I select the best real food I can find, without extravagant cost. I cook from scratch, using only real food. If eating out, I select the most real food from what is available. Wherever I am at mealtime, I do my best to relax, think happy thoughts, and focus on eating and enjoying the food, and the company of the people I am with. I try to maintain a pleasant discussion as we eat, and to focus on the good things in my life. I do not rush when I eat, as I believe it is better to eat at a pleasant pace, even if time is short, even if I might not finish the food.

When I can influence the time available to eat, I do the best I can. Then with the invaluable help of my family, we arrange delicious real food, in pleasant surroundings, without hurry or worry.

I know for a fact that the wonderful feeling of well being I usually get after eating is due not only to the good real food, but to the happy pleasant atmosphere in which it is enjoyed.

Our ancestors were right about this, in my view. This kind of meal is a happy, wonderful experience, and I highly recommend it.

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

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Cooking—The Most Important Skill

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

Click on this photo to see photos of home-cooked recipes from Tender Grassfed Meat.

Click on this photo to see photos of home-cooked recipes from Tender Grassfed Meat.

Your first reaction to the title of this post might be, “What!? Cooking is important?”

That is typical of a culture that no longer values cooking, one of the oldest and most vital human skills. In fact, two-thirds of American adults know almost nothing about cooking, and never cook. To these folks, cooking means heating up an already prepared product in the microwave, or warming up takeout that has gotten cold.

Suppose you had the power to create an almost magical medicine that had no side effects, yet gave you strong bones, powerful muscles, strength, stamina, great vision and hearing, a happy optimistic viewpoint, a clear mind that can focus on anything, a great memory, an immune system so strong that you almost never get sick?

Suppose this power and this medicine brought great happiness and pleasure to all who used it?

Would you want this power?

Well, you can learn this power, and make that medicine.

The power is cooking, and the “medicine” is real food.

 

The Power of Real Food

Nothing affects the health of our bodies as much as the food we eat. Our bodies are made of the food we eat. Our bodies use the food we eat to repair themselves, to run the natural functions of the body, and to get energy. We need the right kinds of food, and enough of it. If people do not have enough food, they die. If people do not get enough good real food, their health deteriorates and they become vulnerable to all kinds of diseases.

Doctors and hospitals can be very good for traumatic injuries, and some very serious conditions, yet their drugs and surgeries and radiation cannot keep our bodies healthy.

Only food can do that.

Hippocrates, the most famous of doctors, said it best:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

In ancient times, and actually until the twentieth century, most food was real, and grown and produced in accordance with the laws of nature. Countless generations of humans had eaten this kind of food, and our bodies adapted to using it. The main problem was getting enough of it, and obtaining certain foods that could be hard to get.

In modern America today, most of the food has been raised with chemicals, and has been altered. Fruits and vegetables are grown in poor soil with the use of chemical fertilizers. Produce has been altered to have a longer shelf life and better appearance, at the cost of taste and nutrition. Meat animals are fed substances unnatural to them, that cause the very composition of their fat and meat to change. Antibiotics, growth hormones, and other drugs are used to cause meat animals to grow faster.

Humans have never eaten this kind of modified food before the twentieth century.

Real food is the unmodified food of our ancestors, grown in good soil, or grazed on good grass, without the use of chemicals. It is what our bodies know how to process, and we thrive on it. But it is not enough to just buy real food. You have to know how to cook it.

 

The Magic of Cooking

The art of cooking transforms produce and meat into almost magical creations that give our bodies the nutrition they so desperately need, and create great pleasure for the people who eat a well cooked meal. You cannot get this kind of food in a can or microwavable container. You can almost never get it in a restaurant. But you can learn how to cook it. You can create the magical “medicine” advocated by Hippocrates, which can keep your body healthy and functioning perfectly.

Our ancestors knew this, and knew what foods to eat, and how to combine foods to sustain life and health. Much of this knowledge has been lost, yet much has been preserved. My major motive in writing my cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue, has been to rediscover and preserve some knowledge of how to cook grassfed meat, perhaps the oldest and most valued food of humanity. Learning how to cook and eat this meat and other real foods healed all the problems that modern medicine could not help me with.

I am an attorney, yet cooking real food is my most valuable skill, without a doubt.

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

 

Roast Meat + Roast Vegetables = a Delicious One-Pan Meal

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

Organic vegetables are delicious roasted with grass fed meat.

These vegetables are wonderful when roast with good grassfed meat.

People seem to think that the only way to have a delicious one-pot meal is to make a dish like a stew, or put various items in a slow cooker. Of course, it is easier to use only one-pan to cook the entire meal.

But there is, in my opinion, a much more delicious alternative, one heavily used in traditional cooking. One that is very simple. When you roast meat or poultry, add vegetables to the pan.

Many people never roast vegetables in the same pan as the roast, because they have been taught to always use a metal rack when roasting. I almost always roast vegetables in the same pan as the roast, and I do not use metal racks for roasting.

Both the roast and the vegetables are so much better when this tradition is followed.

 

You do not need a metal rack for roasting

Most modern cookbooks claim that you should always use a rack for roasting, which is not what our ancestors did. Using a metal rack prevents you from roasting vegetables together with the roast, and from basting the roast with the drippings. It is also not necessary.

I agree that it is usually better not to set the meat of the roast directly on the pan, but I have a better alternative, one used in many traditional cuisines. Set the roast on its own bones, if it has them, or set the roast on a bed of vegetables. My cookbook Tender Grassfed Meat, uses this delicious technique in most oven roast recipes.

 

Use Good Fat

This technique works only if there is enough fat in the pan. This means greasing the pan with butter or animal fat. The fat cap, the natural fat covering the meat, gives great flavor and tenderness. If your roast does not have much of a fat cap, baste it with butter, or beef tallow, or natural pork lard, or any good animal fat. The fat in the pan will mingle with the juices released by the meat as it roasts, caramelizing the vegetables, and giving them incredible flavor.

 

Use a Variety of Vegetables

I roast onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, carrots, celery, leeks, green onions, garlic, apples, and other similar vegetables and fruits. The trick is to use vegetables that will not release too much liquid into the pan. Apples and onions will release small amounts of liquid, that will provide incredible flavor. I will usually use several vegetables. When I do this I have a complete meal.

 

Turn the Vegetables

The vegetables should be turned over at least once, so both sides will be cooked in the fat and juices.

 

Use High Enough Heat

If you only roast at a low temperature, the vegetables will not cook properly. At least part of the roasting time should be at a temperature of 300 degrees or more. My roast recipes in Tender Grassfed Meat are designed so vegetables can be successfully roasted along with the meat.

 

Baste the Roast with the Drippings

One of the greatest benefits of roasting vegetables with the meat is the wonderful drippings they provide. Throughout history, people have basted roasting meat with pan drippings. Even if meat was cooked on a spit, in front of a fire, a drip pan was placed to catch the drippings, so they could be used to baste the meat, and for gravy.

The roasting vegetables release juices that mingle with the meat juices and the fat in the pan to provide drippings that have incredible flavor, intense and wonderful, that is perfect for basting and making gravy. Just basting the roast once or twice with these super delicious drippings will give incredible flavor to the meat.

This is a delicious tradition that has become standard practice in my kitchen—so easy, so delicious.

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

Great Traditional Animal Fats

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

Natural, unhydrogenated, pastured pork lard.

Real pork lard, one of the most tradtional fats of all.

Americans have been told that eating saturated animal fats will clog our arteries and kill us. We are told that we need to eat only fats made from vegetable oil, modern oils, such as corn oil, soy oil, canola oil, safflower oil, and other oils that could not even be made before the twentieth century.

The truth of the matter is that fat from healthy animals eating their natural diet is very good for us, providing vital nutrients in the right proportion, and supporting the natural functions of our bodies.

Modern vegetable oils have a huge imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. This imbalance contributes to many illnesses, and causes inflammation in many people. Our bodies have never tried to digest or use these oils before the twentieth century, because they just did not exist. These oils are often processed with chemicals, and subjected to pressures and high heat, which makes them even stranger to our bodies. Some of these oils stink so bad in their natural state that chemical deodorizers are used to hide the bad smell.

Humans crave healthy animal fats, because we know instinctively that they are good for us.

Most people think only of butter when they think of an animal fat they might use in cooking. Pastured butter is great, but there are many other animal fats that are great for cooking and eating.

 

Grassfed Beef Tallow

Beef tallow is one of the oldest human foods, used for cooking and added to all kinds of foods for countless thousands of years. In its real form, from grassfed animals, beef tallow is full of vital nutrients. It was traditionally used for every form of frying, with potatoes fried in beef tallow being a favorite food all over Europe and America. It was used to brown meat for traditional stews and pot roasts, to sauté steaks, and to baste roasting meat. It gives wonderful flavor. Vegetables roasted in beef tallow are crusty and caramelized, absolutely delicious. Grassfed beef tallow is one of my very favorite cooking fats, and I use it often. I consider it important to only use beef tallow from grassfed beef, as it has the proper balance of nutrients and tastes so much better.

 

Unhydrogenated Pastured Pork Lard

Pork lard has been so vilified that many people are horrified by the very thought of eating it. Yet real pork lard was once the most popular cooking and eating fat on the planet.

Pork lard was used extensively for cooking in China, other Asian countries, Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Many traditional American and European baking recipes make extensive use of pork lard. Pork lard has a very high smoke point, and is one of the easiest cooking fats to use, being soft even when refrigerated, and perfect for frying, sautéing, basting, and browning. It lends great flavor to food, and is very nutritious and easily absorbed by the body.

You have to be very careful in selecting pork lard, because most of the pork lard sold in the U.S. is hydrogenated, which means that its very chemical structure has been changed by processing to increase its shelf life. I have knowingly eaten hydrogenated pork lard exactly once, and found it disgusting, with a terrible taste. Real pork lard, from pastured pigs, in its natural form, is wonderful.

 

Grassfed Lamb Tallow

You can use grassfed lamb tallow for frying, sautéing , basting, and roasting. It gives incredible flavor. It is important to make sure that food cooked with lamb tallow is served hot, as congealed lamb tallow can feel greasy. Serve the food hot, and it is wonderful. Potatoes and other vegetables are particularly wonderful roasted in this fat, which lends a nutty, delicious flavor to food.

It is also important to use lamb tallow from a meat breed of lamb, as the taste of the fat from wool breeds can be strong and not very appealing. But the flavor given by grassfed lamb tallow from meat breeds is unbelievably delicious.

 

Grassfed Bison Tallow

Bison fat was one of the staple foods of the Native Americans who lived on the Great Plains, being a vital component of their survival food, pemmican. Bison fat just may be the most nutritious of all, being full of nutrients from the strong, healthy bison. It is great for basting, frying, and sautéing. It gives a wonderful flavor to meat, unique yet wonderful. It is particularly good for sautéing at medium temperatures. Adding just a bit of bison fat to stews will do incredible things for the flavor.

It is important that all of these traditional fats be grassfed or pastured. That way, you are eating the same kind of animal fat our ancestors have been eating since the beginning, and getting similar nutritional benefits.

But where do you find grassfed beef tallow?

Where do you find real pastured pork lard that has not been hydrogenated?

Where do you find grassfed lamb tallow from a meat breed?

Where do you find grassfed bison fat?

A local farmer may have any of these. But you can get all of them from U.S. Wellness Meats, which has done us all a great service by making these hard-to-get real animal fats available. The quality is superb, and I happily use all of them.

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

Real Lard, Great Food

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

Natural, unhydrogenated, pastured pork lard.

Real pork lard.

Most Americans are horrified by the very thought of eating lard. Some seem to think that even a small amount of lard will stop their hearts, or make them obese, or both. Yet lard was once the most popular cooking fat in America. Lard was also the most popular cooking fat in China.

Lard was demonized so margarine, hydrogenated oils, and other creations of the processed food industry would sell. The artificial fats created by the food industry taste and feel much worse than the traditional fats of our ancestors. This means that the only reason people would buy the factory fats is if real fats are believed to be unhealthy. There are no shortages of scientists and studies that the food industry could and can buy to scare people into giving up real food. Lard, and all saturated fat, was blamed for heart disease, and countless other illnesses.

The truth of the matter is that real lard, from healthy pastured pigs, is very healthy and nutritious, and one of our best sources of vitamin D.

Real lard is one of the very best cooking fats, having a high smoke point, and being unlikely to spatter in most circumstances.

And food cooked with real lard can be incredibly delicious.

 

The Two Types of Lard

Nearly all the lard you will find in the supermarket is hydrogenated, which means that the very molecular structure of the fat has been changed to something that never appears in nature. This lard almost always comes from pigs that have been kept in confinement, may never see the sun, and are fed almost totally on GMO soy and GMO corn. This lard does not need to be refrigerated, which means that it has been processed to the point that it will not spoil. But lard like this has a horrid, greasy, slimy texture, and a truly disgusting taste, at least to me, and many others. It will, in my opinion, ruin any food cooked with it.

Real lard, the lard enjoyed by our ancestors, is not hydrogenated. It comes from pigs raised in the open air, who forage for a great deal of their own food, and see plenty of sun. It is hard to find, but it tastes and feels a thousand times better than the hydrogenated abomination. You can get this kind of lard at some farmers markets, though it can be very expensive. My favorite Internet source is U.S. Wellness Meats, which sells rendered lard from pigs who spend most of their life in the open, foraging for a large part of their food. The price is also quite reasonable.

 

The Benefits of Real Lard

Real lard gives incredible flavor to food. It is great for basting meats, and has been used for that purpose for thousands of years, from Sardinia to China. Meat basted with lard is more tender, retains more of its juices, and tastes fantastic.

Real lard is also great for baking, and played a huge part in traditional European and American biscuits, pies, cakes, and breads. It gives incredible flavor and texture to these dishes, one that is unique and wonderful.

Real lard is perhaps the best fat for frying and sautéing. It has a very high smoke point, spatters rarely, and adds its own wonderful flavor to the food that is cooked in it. We do not have French fries or fried chicken very often, but when we do, it is usually fried in real lard. It is the fat of choice in most of our stir fries. Not only is frying easier, safer, and smoother, but the taste benefits are immense.

And real lard is healthy, to the great surprise of most people. The Weston A Price Foundation, which I consider to be the most knowledgeable food organization on earth, recommends the use of real lard in cooking. Not only does real lard provide a valuable balance of essential fatty acids, it is one of the best sources of natural Vitamin D, and other nutrients.

Today, following the suggestion of a seventh generation English butcher, we fried eggs in real lard for the first time. Awesome.

We use real lard in cooking all the time, and enjoy it immensely.

This post is part of Monday Mania, Real Food Wednesday, Fight Back Friday, and Freaky Friday blog carnivals.

Real Foods for a Healthy Winter

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

Friar Tuck Pan Roast from page 108, Tender Grassfed Meat

Friar Tuck Pan Roast from page 108, Tender Grassfed Meat

Winter is coming. In Europe, those words were a serious warning. Winter, with the freezing cold it brought, the snow and occasional blizzards, was the time when many people died. In fact, often a person’s age and health were measured by how many winters they had survived. The Native Americans of the Great Plains also used this measurement.

Whether one survived the winter, before central heating and supermarkets, was largely dependent on having shelter, fuel, and, most importantly, the food that ensured survival. Our ancestors learned much about what to eat during this dangerous time, and passed this knowledge down through the generations.

While most people in the U.S. and Europe do not see winter as a threat, more people do get sick in winter and more people die. Many people expect to have colds and flus during winter, and many do. Most people have no idea of what their ancestors ate to survive the winter, and depend on doctors and prescription drugs, or over-the-counter drugs, to get them through it. Unfortunately, doctors know nothing about curing colds and flus, and the drugs are of limited effectiveness and all have negative effects. Some take flu shots, and get sick anyway.

We can still use the wisdom of our ancestors to stay healthy during the winter, by eating the foods that make our immune systems strong and able to fight off colds and illness.

 

Traditional Winter Foods

Our ancestors used a number of foods in winter, foods that they knew would help them stay healthy. Here are a few of the favorites in Europe and the United States.

 

Bone Broth

This is the number one winter survival food in the entire world. Made from the bones of grassfed animals and pastured poultry, or wild game, these broths were the best mineral supplement ever invented. The long simmering process, usually at least twelve hours, extracted the nutrients, minerals, and gelatin from the bones and meat, and put it into the broth, where it could be easily absorbed. The gelatin from the bones and cartilage was also invaluable, improving the digestion, nourishing the gut, providing a protective coating to membranes and the stomach, and enabling the body to keep digesting and absorbing the nutrients from food. The broths were always cooked with plenty of unrefined salt, which also nourished and protected the body. The broths were always drunk hot, not scalding, but hot. The hot, nourishing liquid warmed the body from the inside as it was slowly sipped, helping to ward off the cold . Those who had it would drink broth every day of the winter, plenty of it.

 

Stews

A traditional European stew contained grassfed meat, onions, garlic, and a number of other winter vegetables. Often broth was added. These ingredients were slowly simmered together for hours, which caused the vegetables to disintegrate into the gravy. The meat also broke down, and merged its nutrients with those of the vegetables. When the stew was ready, it would be very tender, and thick. The tender meat and vegetables were easy to digest, and the nutrients extracted from the ingredients form the long cooking process were easy to digest and absorb. These stews were also rich in minerals and gelatin. They were always served hot, and there are few things as warming and satisfying as a forkful of hot, traditional stew. Eating a stew like this after coming in from the cold is one of the most satisfying things you can do, as your taste buds and body welcome the badly needed nutrients.

 

Winter Fruits and Vegetables

It was hard to get fresh vegetables in the cold of winter, yet our ancestors had their ways. Onions, carrots, and cabbage would keep for a long time in a root cellar, and were full of nutrients. Just about every stew, broth, and pot roast was made with onions, and carrots were also often available. Turnips would also keep in a root cellar, and were widely used. Later on, turnips were largely replaced by potatoes. These traditional vegetables were often added to broths and stews, and greatly increased the nutritional value of these warming dishes. Cabbage was not only cooked into stews and broths, but fermented into sauerkraut. Fruit was often dried during the fall and eaten during the winter, often cooked into stews, and added vital nutrients. Dried apples were a favorite in Europe.

 

Fermented Foods

Traditional fermented foods were a crucial part of the winter diet, all over Europe and the cold parts of Asia. The fermenting process not only preserved the food, but actually increased its vitamin content. The most famous and crucial fermented food was sauerkraut, which was eaten every day in small quantities, providing crucial vitamins such as Vitamin C, and friendly bacteria that helped the immune system and the digestive system. Many other vegetables were also fermented. The fermentation process used was lacto fermentation, which used salt and natural bacteria to do the job. This type of fermentation is the only way to get the nutrients from these foods that our ancestors did.

 

Pot Roasts

These traditional dishes consisted of cooking a large piece of pastured meat, always one of the cheaper cuts, in a covered pot with spices, herbs, and winter vegetables, with some liquid added, often broth. These delicious concoctions were cooked slowly until very tender, and until much of the vegetables had dissolved into the heavenly gravy. Very tender, and full of nutrients like a stew, these roasts were also served hot, and would warm the body and soul on a cold day, while giving valuable nutrition. And the smell as the meat slowly simmers away is so good.

 

Fat Roasts

The more tender cuts of meat, containing much fat, both in the meat and covering the meat, were expensive, and beyond the means of most people. But the nobles and those who could afford them would make great use of them in winter. Grassfed meat, roasted in its own fat, often served rare or medium, is loaded with vital nutrients, and the smell of roasting meat and fat is one of the best on earth. These roasts were served hot, with plenty of their own fat, which was eaten along with the meat. The pastured fat was full of vital nutrients, and helped the body resist the cold, while nourishing the brain. Even people of more modest means would enjoy roasts at feasts and holidays, with beef, lamb, pork, geese, ducks, and fat chickens being the favorites. The fat skin of geese and ducks was particularly prized as a winter food, as was the crisp fat that covered beef, pork and lamb roasts. Eaten hot, these were absolutely delicious. These roasts were often served with rich sauces and gravies made from their own fat and drippings, often with butter and cream, or added broth. These sauces added even more fat to the dish, in a most delicious and warming way.

 

Salted Meats and Fish

Much of the meat used in earlier times was dried, or salted, or fermented, so it would be available when needed in the winter. Ham, sausage, bacon, salt pork, pastrami, corned beef, and salted beef are examples of these foods. Fish were often salted or dried, also for the winter. These heavily salted meats were also eaten hot, and the fat they often contained helped the body resist the cold. Bacon in particular was a popular winter food, as were hundreds of kinds of sausages. The heavy fat content in these products not only made them delicious, but helped people resist the cold.

There are many other winter foods, but these are some of the main ones. We always eat plenty of broth, stews, pot roasts, and roasts during the winter. There are recipes for many of these traditional foods in Tender Grassfed Meat. I can often feel the strength and health flow into me as we eat these traditional foods. Good food can do more to keep us healthy, in my opinion, than anything else. And it tastes so good.

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

I Am Thankful for Grassfed Meat

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

Cranberry Revival Before the Boiling
Creative Commons License photo credit: Andrew Morrell Photography

Every year, I follow an old American custom. When Thanksgiving comes around, I think about what I am thankful for.

The list is very long, but there are some things that really stand out. This year, I am particularly grateful for grassfed meat and grassfed fat. These wonderful traditional foods are so good for our health, and so delicious. There was a time when I could not get them. And there was a time that I did not know how to cook them.

That has changed, and I am thankful for that.

 

I Am Thankful for the Good Farmers Who Raise Real Grassfed Meat

Few people realize that it takes much more skill, knowledge, trouble, time, and effort to create grassfed meat. It is much easier, cheaper, and faster to raise a factory cow, and ship it off to the feedlot to be turned into factory meat.

Raising a grassfed cow is something different. It takes a knowledge of what breeds will fatten on grass. It takes an understanding of the magic of soil and pastures, and how to graze and when to graze, and when to rest the soil. It takes knowledge of the seasons and weather patterns, of the needs of the cattle, of the unique peculiarities of the land used for grazing, and the plants on that land. It takes an ability to adjust to changing conditions, which can change the whole dynamic. It requires creativity, intelligence, ingenuity, and decisive action. It is as much an art as it is a science, and the parameters are always changing.

I have talked with some true experts on raising great grassfed cattle. Ranchers like Chris Kerston of Chaffin Family Orchards. John Wood of U.S. Wellness Meats. Lee Mora of Humboldt Grassfed Beef. Ed Wimble of Homestead Natural Foods, and others. I am amazed by the great intelligence, know how, practicality, determination, and creativity of all of these ranchers. Every day is a challenge, and they always manage to meet it, raising some of the most wonderful food in the world. They know the magic of pasture, the ways of their cattle, the impact of the weather, and a thousand other things that are vital for raising great grassfed beef. They know how to improve their land by managing the grazing of their herds, and how to make the soil richer and better.

The meat they raise is healthy and delicious, being some of the finest food we could ever hope to put in our bodies. I can only hope that they will pass on their special knowledge, and that it will not be lost. We have a desperate need for good grassfed meat in a world where inferior factory meat dominates the market.

I am very grateful for the meat they raise, and for the fact that I am able to get it and feed it to my family and myself.

I Am Grateful for the Cooking Knowledge of Our Ancestors

It is not enough to be able to buy grassfed meat. You also have to know how to cook it. I learned this the hard way, and I mean that literally. You would be able to break windows with some of the first grassfed meat I ruined.

The first grassfed meat I cooked was good meat, and I ruined it. It was tough and tasteless. Everything I knew about cooking and marinating factory meat failed, when I tried to apply it to grassfed meat. After many failures that resulted in tough, bad tasting meat, I gave up.

But I still wanted, I still needed the many health benefits of grassfed meat. My body needed to rebuild after many years of illness, and factory meat just was not doing the job. It occurred to me that our ancestors must have known how to cook it. And they must have enjoyed it, because the histories and novels and legends were full of accounts of wonderful feasts of meat. And that meat was grassfed, through most of history, everywhere in the world. It was only in modern times that factory meat became available.

An old memory came to me. My Dad grew up on the prairies of Canada. When he was ten, he and his younger brother were put on the train, and given money to buy food in the dining car. They would be going a long way, to stay with relatives. My Dad and his brother had heard stories of the wonderful steaks in the dining cars of the railroad, which were very expensive. They decided to blow most of their food money for the trip on a steak dinner. That steak was so wonderful that my Dad never forgot it. He remembered it eighty years later, when he was dying, and that memory brought one of his last smiles. I realized that this magnificent steak had to have been grassfed.

This inspired me to read hundreds of old cookbooks, novels, and histories. While most of the recipes assumed that the reader already knew how to cook, and gave very vague instructions, certain themes were repeated over and over. I began to experiment with them, and the time came when I learned how to cook grassfed meat, and make it tender and delicious every time. I focused on easy methods, as I did not have the time or interest for the more elaborate ones. I also learned many other things about ancestral cooking, especially about how to combine different foods to create a very nourishing meal. This knowledge became the foundation for my cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat, and Tender Grassfed Barbecue, and the basis of so many wonderful meals.

I am thankful for the cooking knowledge of our ancestors, and how it enabled me to learn how to enjoy the benefits and awesome taste of grassfed meat.

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

 

Grassfed Cooking Tips

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

A grassfed steak fit for champions barbecued by Stanley A. Fishman.

Grassfed steaks, properly cooked, are the best tasting.

Many people have heard of the health benefits of grassfed meat. Just as I once did, they will buy some grassfed meat, cook it the same way they cook other meat—and ruin it. Many of these people will never try grassfed meat again, convinced that it is tough and tastes bad. This can happen even to professional chefs. It certainly happened to me.

Yet I will tell you that grassfed meat is incredibly tender, with flavors that make conventional meat taste like cardboard. I now find the taste of grain-fed meat to be totally blah, and the texture of grain-fed meat to be repulsive.

The difference is all in how you cook it, though the meat itself is just as important. Knowing what meat to select, and how to cook it, has resulted in hundreds, perhaps thousands of wonderful grassfed meals for me and my family. And the meat is always tender.

When I became frustrated with my failures in cooking grassfed meat, I realized that our ancestors knew how to cook it. They had to. There was no other red meat. And I read many accounts of how humans have loved and cherished red meat for thousands of years, and used red meat to recover from wounds and illness.

I went to work, researching many older cookbooks, histories, and old novels. I came to understand that our ancestors cooked grassfed meat very differently than we cook factory meat, and decided to use the old ways, adjust them for modern kitchens, and see what I could do. After years of research, experimentation, and cooking hundreds of meals, I finally learned how to cook this wonderful meat.

And I discovered a secret—properly cooked grassfed meat is not only much healthier for us, with large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, CLAs, and vital amino acids in a form that our bodies easily absorb—it tastes much better than conventional meat. And it is more tender, with wonderful mouth feel and texture.

The details of how to cook grassfed meat and to have it come out tender and delicious every time, using easy methods, are contained in my cookbooks: Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue.

Each book contains over a hundred detailed recipes.

In response to a request from my good friend Kimberly Hartke, I have decided to share some tips on cooking grassfed meat. These tips will be useful for most people who are learning to cook grassfed meat.

Here is the link, to my article on Kimberly’s great blog, Hartke is Online:

The Cooking of Grassfed Meat, Tips and Tricks

Traditional Food for Winter

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

Beef bone broth made from nutrient-rich grass fed beef

Our ancestors sipped traditional beef bone broth throughout the day.

The huge storm that struck the Eastern United States is a sobering reminder of the power of nature. The storm has brought an early winter to much of the nation, causing intense cold and snowstorms in some areas.

Our ancestors had a number of traditional foods that they used to help them survive the long, cold winters. These time-tested traditional dishes kept people warm and filled their bodies with the nutrients needed to deal with the demands of winter. They were also delicious. My family has adopted the custom of having lots of bone broth, stews, pot roasts. and the occasional celebratory roast for a special occasion. We use only grassfed or pastured meats for this purpose. Not only do we enjoy the wonderful tastes of traditional food, but we stay healthy, without medication. Our ancestors had a lot of wisdom.

I have described some of these traditions in an article I posted on Handpicked Nation. Here is the link:

Cold Weather Cooking for Grassfed Meats

 

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