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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



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


The Poor Man’s Caviar — A Potato Cooked in Embers

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

This humble organic potato could be turned into a gourmet delight by a lost traditional method.

This humble potato could be turned into a gourmet delight by a lost traditional method.

Many years ago, I used to barbecue for my parents and my aunt and uncle, on summer weekends.

I used to make simple roasts on a Weber kettle, which turned out good, even back then.

My uncle by marriage was a very wealthy dentist. He had grown up so poor that he had often been hungry, and his stomach had actually shrunk from hunger. He could only eat small quantities at one time, and was always hungry. While he was wealthy, he was very frugal, to be polite. He was usually friendly, but sometimes he would get very upset for reasons that no one else understood.

One day, just after I finished cooking, and was about to put out the fire, he showed up with a potato clutched in his hand. He smiled and asked if he could use the fire. I was astonished, as my uncle had never been known to cook anything. I agreed, and watched with fascination, as he buried the potato in the burned down coals, carefully arranging each coal with the tongs as if he was painting a portrait. This procedure took a long time, until he was satisfied that the arrangement of the coals was perfect. “Don’t touch it!” He snarled, then walked off.

Sometime later, he dug the potato out of the coals, and put it on a plate. It was burned totally black. “Is he actually going to eat that?” I wondered.

Well, he did eat it, with nothing else. He broke the potato open, and slowly ate the inside of the potato, with an expression of pure bliss on his face. The rest of us watched in wonder, unable to understand why he was enjoying it so much.

Being curious, I asked him if I could have a taste. His face twisted in the instant fury that sometimes came over him — “Get your own potato!” he shrieked. I backed off.

The next weekend, I barbecued again, and he showed up with his potato again, after the cooking was over. He went through the same procedure, and blissfully ate the scorched potato as we quietly watched him. This happened week after week. I did not dare ask him for a taste.

His potato antics became a subject for family discussion. Everyone agreed that the potato must taste terrible. But why did he go to so much trouble, and why did he enjoy it so much?

One week, when he appeared to ask for permission to use the fire, I asked if he could make one for me. I braced for the explosion, but he smiled, and cheerfully agreed. He returned with another potato. When the potatoes were done, he placed my potato on a plate. It was burned black, as usual. The potato skin broke open at the touch of the fork. I tasted some of the inside, expecting it to taste burned and bad. I was wrong. It was wonderful, easily the best vegetable I had ever tasted. It was soft, hot, with a surprisingly complex and utterly delicious flavor, somewhat sweet and smoky. I began to eat it slowly, enjoying every bite.

I tried many times to make potatoes like that, but they were never anything special. Nothing like the masterpiece he made. He had a knack, or he knew something, a way of doing it, that he never shared.

I asked him a couple of times, but he would never answer.

There is so much traditional cooking knowledge that we have lost, countless treasures that used to be passed down from generation to generation. They are worth saving.

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

Diversity Matters — Especially in Food

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

Farmers' markets are great places to find heirloom fruits and vegetables.

Farmers’ markets are great places to find heirloom fruits and vegetables.

We are taught to think of our modern, high-tech civilization as being much more advanced, wiser, and richer than anything that existed in the past.

When it come to machines, weapons, travel, and other mechanical areas, this is true (at least to the extent of our culture’s knowledge). We are much richer in these things than our ancestors were.

But when it comes to food—the real food that our bodies need to thrive—we are paupers. Our ancestors were the rich ones. They regularly ate hundreds of varieties of meats, vegetables, nuts, fruits, grains, milk products, and other foods, but we have far fewer to choose from. And where our ancestors’ food was chosen for taste and nutrition, our food is usually chosen for profit, cheapness, appearance, and shelf life.


Traditional Food

I have studied the traditional cooking of our ancestors from all over the world. I have read hundreds of books and many articles, and I am still learning.

And one of the most important things I learned was how much our ancestors valued diversity in the foods they ate, whenever they had a choice. People did not limit themselves to factory beef and chicken breasts, but ate many different kinds of meat, heritage varieties of pigs, chickens, duck, geese, squab, cattle, sheep, lambs, calves, water buffalo, bison, rabbits, a vast variety of fish and seafood, and a huge variety of wild game. Produce was only eaten in season. There were dozens if not hundreds of varieties of almost every fruit and vegetable, that were regularly eaten. During the winter, people relied on certain root vegetables, such as cabbage.

Traditional meals included a huge variety of ingredients. For example, the traditional English breakfast included a number of different kinds of meat and fish, often fermented (such as sausage) or salted, along with eggs, breads, and a variety of condiments. The Russian custom of serving appetizers before a meal could include dozens of different items, all kinds of meat and fish and vegetables and small dishes, as did the Scandinavian Smorgasbord. And this was not just the custom of the rich, but also the practice of middle class families and prosperous farmers. Even ordinary working folks enjoyed a great variety of seasonal foods.

The different varieties of food were prized for their taste and nutritional qualities. Food that looked good tasted good, and tasty food was widely believed to be healthier.


Modern Food

Modern food was developed for profit. This meant focusing on the foods that had a long shelf life, and foods that looked good so people could buy them. The replacement of small farmers by huge factory farms meant concentrating on only the most profitable foods, that had the longest shelf life.

The chemical industry became a crucial part of this change, as chemicals could preserve the appearance of food, and chemicals could make even mediocre quality food taste good. The number of varieties of food available to us is now but a tiny fraction of the bounty available to our ancestors. These factory varieties are available all year long, but their taste and nutrition leave much to be desired.

My father grew up in Canada, before its food system was industrialized. He enjoyed a huge variety of the wonderful natural foods raised on the Canadian Prairie—wonderful meats, an endless variety of berries, fish, and vegetables—all grown and served in season.

After he immigrated to the U.S., he was delighted to see beautiful tomatoes available all year round in the supermarkets. Until he tasted them. He could never understand how something that looked so good could be so tasteless and have such a horrible texture—like soggy cardboard.

I could go on for a thousand pages, or more, but I will simply say that our ancestors were much richer in real, life-sustaining food than we are, in endless varieties that we no longer have.

What we can do is support small farmers raising traditional foods like grassfed beef, heirloom vegetables, real milk, and by buying as much as we can from them. As much as possible, avoid purchasing factory food.

This may be more trouble, but the taste of heirloom vegetables and fruits and pastured meat is superior. And the wonderful benefits I and my family have enjoyed in improved health and nutrition—are more than worth it.

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

Healthy Traditional Condiments — the Treasure We Are Losing

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

Kimchi, another traditional fermented Korean food.

Kimchi, another traditional fermented Korean food.

Some years ago, there was a small Korean grocery near my home. I wandered into it one day, and was fascinated by the traditional fermented foods it contained. There were beautiful jars of colorful fermented vegetables, called kImchi, not just Napa cabbage, but all kinds of vegetables. But my attention was drawn to glass jars of another condiment, in the refrigerator section, whose beautiful red color drew my eye.

The labels were in Korean, which I do not read, but as I looked at the thick, gorgeous paste, with its deep color, I began to get hungry for it, even though I had never tasted it before.

The owner, seeing my interest, told me this was gochuchang, which was a fermented paste of hot chili peppers, a special rice, and other ingredients, which were mixed and left to ferment in huge clay jars for a very long time, sometimes years. He said it was very spicy, but it kept people healthy. He said making it was a very old tradition in Korea, passed down from generation to generation.

He pointed out many other fermented pastes to me, and explained how making these fermented mixtures was a very important tradition in Korea, one that went back to the very beginning of the Korean culture.

I could not resist. I bought a couple of the jars, beautiful from the rich colors of the fermented paste, and used them as a cooking ingredient and as a condiment. The paste was very hot, but over time I came to welcome the heat. And it gave a rich, luxurious hot flavor to all kinds of stews, stir-fries, and braises. It was great in barbecue marinades. Yet my favorite use was to eat it uncooked, right from the jar, as a condiment. Sometimes I would just eat a teaspoon or two because it felt so good to me. I began to start doing this when people around me at work had colds or flus. And, for whatever reason, I did not catch those colds or flus when I regularly ate this wonderful gochuchang.

Years passed, and I moved. I began to miss the benefits and taste of the wonderful fermented chili paste, so I planned a trip to the store to stock up. I was truly disappointed to find it was closed. I tried to find another source, but did not, and eventually forgot about it.

Many years later, when I studied the food wisdom contained in the website of the Weston A. Price Foundation, I learned that traditional fermented condiments had many health benefits, and were used by traditional peoples. I remembered gochuchang, and decided to do a thorough search and find it.

My search ended in another Korean grocery store. There were no jars of gochuchang. When I asked for it, I was led to a selection of solid plastic tubs, colored red. They were not refrigerated. I asked for gochuchang in glass jars. There was none. These plastic tubs were all there was, and I was told the same was true in Korea. I began to feel some real doubt, but I bought the tub which the clerk told me was the best and most traditional.

At home, with a mixed feeling of anticipation and dread, I tasted this “modern” gochuchang. At first, it seemed to taste good, but I soon became aware of an unpleasant texture, a slight but nasty aftertaste, and a somewhat repulsive hot flavor. It tasted nothing like the gochuchang I remembered. And the only feeling I got from it was a slightly scorched mouth, and a slightly upset stomach.

Maybe some of the other chemical brands taste better, but I am not inclined to try them.

I did some research on the Internet, and found out that traditional Korean condiments were being made in a much quicker and cheaper way, with most of the ingredients from China. Instead of placing the ingredients in a clay jar to ferment for many months, or even years, chemicals were used to achieve quick “fermentation,” and factory ingredients and flavors were added to the mix.

No matter where I searched, I could not find the traditional, naturally fermented paste.

One day, I talked with a filmmaker from Korea, who explained to me that all the traditional condiments were being made by chemical means, in factories. His mother still made the traditional fermented pastes, and he and his brother would drive to her farm each year to pick some up. He said that when her generation was gone, no one would be left who even knew how to make them.

I find this sad beyond words. These naturally fermented pastes, made from traditional local ingredients, are disappearing, replaced by inferior factory products made possible by chemicals and technology. Products that have no soul, no tradition, and do not contain the traditional mix of nutrients relied on by our ancestors. This has not only happened in Korea, but is happening all over the world .

If we do not take action to preserve traditional foods, we will lose them, and their many benefits.

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

Animal Fat for the Winter

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

Peking Duck with Polish Flavors - recipe by Stanley Fishman

This delicious roast duck is perfect for winter.

Our ancestors usually ate their food in season. This did not just apply to fruits and vegetables, but also to meats which were available all year round. In Europe and America, this used to mean that a great deal of animal fat was eaten during the winter. In fact, the people who lived in cold climates, all over the world, prized animal fat and ate a great deal of it when the weather was cold. This enabled people to survive and thrive in some very cold climates, even within the arctic circle.

This was not just done for cultural reasons, but because of an important fact I just learned for myself—animal fat makes winter better—much better.


The Problem with Winter

Cold weather had always been difficult for humans. In fact, many people counted winters rather than years when describing someone’s age. To these people, surviving the winter was a real accomplishment. It has been more common for people to get sick and die during a cold winter. There are several reasons for this. There is little sunlight, which means much less Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for the proper functioning of the immune system. The cold is a strain on the body, which is made worse by rain and snow, much worse by freezing weather and blizzards. Most people just try to stay warm and dry.

But our ancestors did not consider shelter to be enough. They had another remedy for winter that was very important to them—animal fat.


Traditional Winter Foods

Many European peoples would eat fattier foods during winter. Even the game they hunted put on fat for the winter, so older, fatter animals were prized at that time. Rich pork dishes from fat pigs, using lard and the skin, were winter favorites. Fatty lamb roasts and stews were a winter favorite. In fact, every kind of meat stew was made in winter, always with plenty of animal fat. Geese and ducks were usually eaten during the winter, because of the fat they carried. Winter was the most likely time for people to have meat, and many animals were slaughtered and salted, often in the form of hams or fat sausages, in preparation for winter.

All of this animal fat was pastured, as factory foods did not exist at this time.

In old Russia, fat foods for winter were so prized that poems were written about them, praising the virtues of the various kinds of fat, including lamb fat, beef fat, butter, and the favorite, real pork lard.

Eating animal fat during winter was considered vital for health. Unfortunately, many people were too poor to afford enough fat and fatty meats, and were unable to get the benefits. But for those who could afford it, fatty meats and animal fat played a crucial role in winter survival.


The Benefits of Winter Fat

The benefits of good animal fat have been documented by the Weston A. Price Foundation, as shown in this excellent article The Skinny on Fats.

Pastured animal fats are particularly valuable in winter because they are rich in Vitamin D, especially the fatty organ meats, and butter. Pastured animal fats are wonderful fuel for the body, providing perhaps the best source of energy, with none of the negative effects of sugar or too many carbs. This helps the body to function better.

Recently we were hit with a spell of unusually cold weather, and I decided to up our intake of real animal fats. We ate fatty roasts and stews, used more real lard, butter, beef tallow, and other such fats, and enjoyed fatty ducks and organ meats. The results of this experiments is that my energy increased, and I felt strong and eager for the work of the day. The tiredness I might feel from the cold and gloom disappeared with a nice bowl of fatty stew, or hot broth made from real bones and meat scraps.

This is just my experience, but it helped me to understand why my European ancestors valued fat in the winter so much.

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

A Sacred Food You Can Buy and Enjoy—Red Boat Fish Sauce

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

Sunset Phu Quoc
Creative Commons License photo credit: noramorgan   Sunset over Phu Quoc Island, famous for the quality of its fish sauce.

Every healthy people studied by Dr. Weston A. Price had sacred foods—foods that were so nutritious and renewing that the people held them sacred. These foods were packed full of all kinds of nutrients. They were used to increase fertility, help recovery from illness and wounds, and to promote general good health.

One of the most common sacred foods throughout history has many names. The Ancient Greeks called it garos, and ate it with every meal. The Ancient Romans called it garum, and used it to season almost all soups, meat and fish dishes, and as a table condiment that was always available. The Chinese called it ke-tsiap, and used it extensively. The Malays called it ke-chap, and also used it for cooking and in condiments. The Vietnamese called it nuoc mam, and used it extensively in cooking, and served it as a condiment, often mixed with other ingredients. In fact, this sacred food was used throughout the traditional world, and was still in use in relatively modern times.

We know it as fish sauce. In its traditional form, fish sauce was made from tiny fish, usually anchovies, and sea salt, fermented over a very long period of time, then pressed, which caused all the nutrients from the tiny whole fish to dissolve into a tasty brown liquid, full of valuable nutrients from the sea.

However, as with so many other foods, the modern food industry ruined it for profit. They used inferior fish, often from polluted waters, diluted it with water, used quick chemical fermentation, used factory salt, added MSG and other taste enhancers, and various sweeteners. The result was a concoction that often had very little nutritional benefit, and was full of nasty additives. A few brands were much better than the others, but the traditional sacred condiment of our ancestors was just not available.

Until now. Until Red Boat Fish Sauce was created and made available.


Why Fish Sauce Is a Sacred Food

Nearly all of the healthy peoples studied by Dr. Weston A. Price greatly valued foods from the sea and sea nutrients, and would go to great efforts to get them. Many of the foods from the sea they obtained were fermented, in one form or another. These people stayed free of modern diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, birth defects, tooth decay, and others by eating the traditional foods of their ancestors. Fermented food from the sea was often a valued part of their diet.

In its traditional form, fish sauce is made from the entire bodies of tiny fish, and sea salt. Nothing else is added. The fermentation process turns the tiny fish into a brown liquid. Since the entire fish is used, all the organs, bones, meat, and skin of the fish are used to make the liquid, which is literally pressed from the fermented fish. This means that you get all the nutrients of the fish, which are rich in minerals, vitamins, all kinds of natural substances that our bodies need and crave. I cannot think of a better source of natural iodine, among many other valuable nutrients.

Much of the soil our food is raised on is mineral-depleted, but the ocean is still full of minerals and nutrients, which are contained in these tiny fish. The process concentrates the nutrients of the fish into the liquid, making it a natural mineral concentrate. And the precious liquid contains all the substances from all the organs and glands of the fish. Our ancestors traditionally would eat the whole fish, knowing how valuable these nutrients are. Even small amounts of this liquid are very nutritious, because the nutrients are concentrated in the liquid.

The Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans, two of the healthiest and most powerful of ancient peoples, ate fish sauce in some form every day, often at every meal. It was used both as an ingredient and a condiment. Huge amounts of fish sauce were shipped all over the Roman Empire, and there were many different brands. In fact, the discovery of an ancient Roman ship loaded with jars of fish sauce revealed that some brands were even labeled Kosher!


Why Red Boat Is Different, and So Much Better

I decided to add fish sauce to my diet after reading Sally Fallon Morell’s classic cookbook, Nourishing Traditions. I wanted the concentrated sea nutrients it contained.

There are many fish sauces on the market. I have tried many of them. Many tasted so bad that I would never use them again. Others were full of additives that I do not want in my body. Others were so diluted with water that they had little or no flavor. I finally found a brand, recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation that tasted and felt good. Yet even this brand had some sugar added to it. Then I tasted Red Boat Fish Sauce a couple of months ago. Now Red Boat is the only fish sauce I ever want to use.

Red Boat Fish Sauce is made from only two ingredients, black anchovy, and sea salt. The anchovies are caught from the clean, unpolluted waters of the Phu Quoc Archipelago. Phu Quoc Island has long been famous in Vietnam for producing the finest fish sauce.

The anchovies are salted quickly after being caught, while very fresh. They are placed in barrels made of tropical wood, and allowed to ferment for over one year. Yes, over a year. Then the fermented fish are pressed, and the liquid from the first pressing only is bottled as Red Boat Fish Sauce. This is as basic, pure, and traditional as you can get. This technology could have been used thousands of years ago. The process is artisanal, not industrial. This process preserves and enhances the many nutrients from the whole fish, turning them into a form that is easy to digest and assimilate. Like all such traditional processes, it sounds simple, but every step must be done perfectly, by skilled artisans.

The fact that no additives, chemicals, flavor enhancers, preservatives, sweeteners, etc. are added means that your body is presented with pure, vital nutrients from the sea, and nothing that will interfere with their digestion and absorption.

Yet the other great difference in Red Boat Fish Sauce is the taste. It is somewhat salty, yet not too salty. It has a rich, slightly sweet, yet very complex and deep flavor. It does wonderful things to the flavor of food. I have many recipes calling for fish sauce in my two cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue. I recently made a number of these recipes for my family, using Red Boat instead of the other fish sauce. Each time, my family commented on how good the dish tasted, even better than usual. I could taste the difference for myself, easily. The flavor was deeper, tastier, richer, and utterly delicious. And the usual feeling of well being and satisfaction I get from my cooking was even more profound.

I now withdraw my recommendation of the fish sauce mentioned in my books, and recommend that it be replaced with Red Boat Fish Sauce, in every recipe.


How I Use Red Boat Fish Sauce

My two cookbooks are soy-free, yet contain various East Asian inspired recipes. I use fish sauce instead of soy sauce in these recipes. The taste is not the same as using soy sauce, but it is wonderful. It is even better with Red Boat.

I will add fish sauce as an ingredient to soups. My version of Hot and Sour Soup, which will be published in a future book, became the best ever, after I used Red Boat Fish Sauce in it. Even a tablespoon or so will add a lot of flavor and nutrition, although I usually use more than that.

I drink homemade bone broth every day, as a vital part of my nutritional program. I now will often add a teaspoon or more of Red Boat Fish Sauce to my cup of broth. Not only does this really improve the already wonderful flavor, but it contributes valuable nutrients that make the broth even healthier.

I am developing a number of new recipes that use Red Boat Fish Sauce as an ingredient. Many of these recipes have Roman or Ancient Greek roots, and Red Boat makes them so much better.


Why Did I Write this Post? Because this Product Is a Treasure!

I know this post seem like a commercial for Red Boat Fish Sauce. But I receive no compensation for writing this, or recommending the product. This is one of the very few times in my life that I have found a truly natural and traditional food product which is so outstanding, in every way—that I have to spread the word about it. I do have an ulterior motive, though. I want Red Boat Fish Sauce to thrive as a company and enjoy great financial success, because I want them to stay in business and keep making this amazing product, so I can continue to enjoy the nutritional and taste benefits it brings.

I also want to express my deep personal gratitude to Cuong Pham, the founder and owner of Red Boat Fish Sauce, who has restored a wonderful traditional food to the world, and made it available to us.

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

Ancestral Wisdom — An Ancient Food Safety System that We Can Learn From

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

These healthy grassfed cattle will provide good meat.

These healthy grassfed cattle will provide good meat.

The first food safety system allows the meat from animals too sick to stand to enter the meat supply. The second food safety system does not allow any meat from a sick or diseased animal to be eaten.

One is modern, and one has been in use for three thousand years. Which is more advanced? The answer is obvious. Common sense alone tells us that nobody should be eating meat from an animal to sick to stand. You might be surprised to learn that it is our own modern U.S. food safety system that allows the meat from animals too sick to stand to be eaten, and it is the ancient food safety system that forbids it.

We are taught that our modern society is far superior to all previous societies in every respect. We are taught to think of our ancestors as primitive and ignorant, especially when it comes to matters like food safety. Yet that is simply not true.

Of course, with our advanced technology, we could do much better than a three thousand year old food safety system. But we do not. Because our system is set up to maximize speed and profit, and the ancient system was set up to maximize safety.


A Tale of Two Food Safety Systems

About three thousand years ago, the kosher dietary system was set up, as part of the Jewish religion. This system has probably been modified over time, but most of it appears to have not changed. While the kosher system is better known for its restrictions on what foods can be eaten, it has definite food safety provisions relating to meat inspection that we can learn from. It is likely that many other ancient peoples followed similar principles, but what they did is not documented.

One of the key goals of the kosher inspection system was to prevent the eating of meat from sick animals. We know that many ancient peoples shared this goal. It stands to reason that nobody would want to eat the meat from a sick animal, for obvious reasons.

Every animal was inspected before slaughter. If the animal showed any signs of illness or ill health, it was rejected, and could not be used for meat. If the animal was dirty, it was rejected, and could not be used for meat. This inspection was carried out carefully, by a man who was trained to notice signs of illness. There was no time limit for the inspection. It took what it took.

If the animal passed the first inspection, it was inspected again after slaughter. Most of the internal organs of the animal were carefully examined for any sign of disease. If any sign of disease was found, all the meat of the animal was declared unclean, and could not be eaten. Again, no time limit was placed on the inspection of the internal organs of the animal. It took what it took to do a thorough job.

Our own American meat inspection system is very different. For reasons that can be only related to profit, our government allows meat from animals too sick to stand to enter the meat supply. Recently, the state of California tried to stop this practice by outlawing the use of meat from such animals. The federal government tried to stop this law. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which overthrew the California law, ruling it was preempted by Federal law. And the federal government simply has failed to ban such meat.

The other great problem is that meat animals are slaughtered and their meat is usually processed at great speed, which the industry has constantly increased, as speed means profit. What this means in reality is that the carcasses and meat from slaughtered animals move quickly past the meat inspectors on a conveyor belt, and the meat inspector is supposed to be able to see any problems as the carcasses whiz by. When it comes to chickens, a meat inspector is supposed to examine 90 chickens a minute, and it has been proposed that the rate be increased to 180 chickens a minute. Some inspectors have been quoted as saying that they cannot really notice much when they are responsible for 90 chickens a minute. Expecting anyone to be able to examine so many chickens in so short a time is beyond absurd.


Is All Kosher Meat Superior?

Not necessarily. It does not matter what the system is, unless its requirements are followed. An animal can be raised on unnatural feed and show no signs of disease. As I have written many times before, I consider grassfed meat to be far superior to grain-fed meat, and almost all kosher meat is grain-finished. Allegations have been made that not all producers of kosher meats follow the required procedures. I have no way of knowing what the truth is. The point of this article is not to advocate kosher meat, but to point out how it forbids the use of the meat of sick animals, and that we should do the same.


What We Should Do

I consider safety to be far more important than profit. Surely we can take steps to identify and remove the meat of any sick animal before it enters the food supply. We can do at least as well as a system devised three thousand years ago.

The processing of meat animals can and must be slowed down enough to allow for a thorough examination of each animal. Animals should be examined both before and after slaughter. Any that show any signs of illness should be banned from the meat supply. The meat industry should change its practices to raise healthier animals. They will do this if the meat from sick animals cannot be used. The federal government should put the safety of the meat supply above the profit of the big producers.

For now, I only eat grassfed meat. I believe that meat animals fed their natural diet, grass, grazing naturally on living grass, are healthier than factory animals. Factory animals are penned in a feedlot for months and fed GMO corn, GMO soy, and other species-inappropriate feeds. Besides, grassfed meat tastes much better, and I feel good and renewed after eating it.

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

The Traditional Highland Diet Continued

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

Carr Bridge - the old bridge  - Scotland
Creative Commons License photo credit: conner395

This post supplements the three-part article I did on the traditional diet of the Scottish Highlanders, their prowess in battle, and how the traditional Highland way of life was destroyed by the industrial agriculture of the day. The three-part article was posted on the excellent Hartke Is Online blog, and links to the articles are posted below.

Unlike other Europeans, the Scottish Highlanders had plentiful meat in their diet. The traditional Highland diet, described in Part 1 of the three-part article, also had a valuable feature that was missing from almost all the other diets eaten in Europe—free access to meat, wild game, and wild fish. Under the traditional system in the Scottish Highlands, the land was owned by the clans, though its use was given to individual families within the particular clan. Everyone in the clan could hunt the wild game that was so plentiful in the spring, summer, and early fall. Everyone could fish in the many small rivers, ponds, and lakes, which were full of wild fish most of the year. Every Highland farmer could kill some of his herd animals and salt their meat in preparation for the long winter.

This was very different from England, indeed from the rest of Europe, where wild game was considered the exclusive property of the King, or the nobles, or the rich landowners, and common folk were prevented from hunting by anti-poaching laws. Poaching (the crime of hunting game that belonged to the rich and powerful) often came with the death penalty. A peasant who killed a rabbit to feed his hungry family could be executed for doing so. The right to fish in a particular body of water was also heavily restricted, and a man who violated the fishing restrictions also faced death. While many peasants raised farm animals for meat, the animals were usually sold so the peasant could pay his taxes, and meat was rarely eaten by most of the population. In fact, in Ireland at the time, the family pig was often called “the gentleman who pays the rent.”

Though the death penalty was removed from anti-poaching laws in the nineteenth century, armed gamekeepers prevented most Europeans from hunting. Meat remained very expensive and usually unaffordable for most people, who were condemned to eat a diet consisting mostly of grains and vegetables. Many Europeans immigrated to the United States because they heard that even the poor could afford meat there, and hunt.

The situation in the Highlands changed with the Clearances, where restrictions on hunting and fishing where imposed along with the Clearances, which drove the Highlanders from their land as detailed in Part 3: Destruction of the Scottish Food Culture in the Highlands

But traditionally, the Highlanders had free access to wild game, wild fish, and the meat of their herds, which made them unique in Europe at the time. Game, fish, and meat were a large part of their traditional diet, and an important part of their incredible health, size, strength, and vitality, as shown in Part 2: Well Fed Scottish Warriors Waged Fierce Battles

The series begins with a description of the traditional Highland diet in Part 1: Scottish Highlanders Traditional Diet

This post is part of Monday Mania and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Using the Whole Goose, the Traditional Way

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

Goose Casserole from leftover nutrient dense, naturally-raised goose

Goose casserole from delicious, nutrient-dense goose


Why get a goose? The goose has relatively little meat, lots of skin, a huge amount of bone, and a very large amount of fat. However, the meat is very nutrient-dense and filling, and absolutely delicious when properly cooked. The crisp skin is even better. The bones and fat give incredible flavor to the meat, and have many uses of their own. We get so many benefits from every goose.

We had a wonderful roast goose yesterday, for Christmas dinner. But that was just one of the benefits provided by this most delicious bird. My ancestors would use the whole goose, for food and other purposes. So I decided to do the same. I was delighted to find how many benefits could be provided by a single goose.

The Christmas Dinner

We bought the goose so we could have a traditional Christmas dinner. The goose not only provided the delicious main course, but also contributed to the stuffing and gravy.

The goose was supposed to be naturally raised. I examined the liver of the goose. The liver was firm and clear, a sign of a healthy bird. The ancient Romans used to examine the livers of chickens before a possible battle. A clear liver was the best omen. I think of it as a sign of a healthy goose that will be nourishing and tasty.

The goose itself provided the main course, a roast goose. I removed the interior fat and set it aside to render into liquid goose fat. The liver and heart were minced, and reserved for the stuffing. The neck and other giblets were set to simmer in a quart of filtered water, to provide a stock for the gravy.

I stuffed the goose with a sage, onion, and apple stuffing, moistened with plenty of whole pastured eggs, using cubes made from sourdough spelt bread, and mixed in the minced liver and heart.

As the goose roasted, it released a huge amount of fat into the pan. I removed the fat from the pan several times, and saved it.

When the goose was ready, the kitchen was filled with a wonderful aroma, and the crisp skin made it a most appetizing and beautiful sight. In fact, the goose looked and smelled so good we forgot to take a picture of it.

When it was time to make the gravy, I used goose fat drippings from the pan, along with sprouted spelt flour, as a base for the gravy, along with the goose broth made from the neck. Browned drippings from the pan were used to color the gravy and enrich its magnificent flavor.

The crisp skin and flavorful, tender meat of the goose were absolutely delicious, greatly enhanced by the stuffing and the very flavorful gravy. Goose is a very nutrient-dense meat, and very satisfying. We all felt wonderful after the meal.

The Leftovers

Goose bone broth, slowly simmered to perfection over many hours, is one of the tastiest of broths. We also had a lot of meat and skin left over, as well as stuffing and gravy. I trimmed the skin, and a fair amount of the tender meat from the carcass. This would be used for a goose casserole.

The rest of the bones, including the wings and the wing tips, and the sizable carcass, went into a large stockpot for goose bone broth. I started the broth early this morning, and it will simmer slowly into the early evening, so all the nutrients and flavors will release into the broth. This will give us many quarts of delicious, nutrient-dense, goose bone broth.

Goose casserole will be for lunch. I will chop the goose skin and meat into small bits, and add it to the stuffing and leftover gravy, with some more liquid from the simmering broth pot until it is just the right thickness. The mixture will be slowly simmered until it is hot and tender, and will be delicious. I know, because I have done this before.

The Glorious Goose Fat

I rendered the fat I removed from the goose, which turned into a nicely colored yellow liquid. I saved this in a mason jar, along with the goose fat I collected during the roasting process.

Goose fat has many uses. It is great for cooking and marinating. It has a somewhat beefy flavor, and can really enhance the flavor of all beef, from steaks to roasts to pot roasts. Potatoes roasted or sautéed in goose fat are a favorite dish in many European countries. Goose fat is wonderful for sautéing any kind of beef, and is perfect for caramelizing vegetables.

You can also use goose fat to baste any roast meat, and it gives great taste and crispness to roast chicken.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used goose fat to treat their wounds, and reported it was very effective. The same peoples would rub goose fat into aching joints and muscles, and considered it to be a very effective remedy. I have no personal experience with this, but these ancient peoples used it for those purposes.

Cool goose fat is a terrific moisturizer, being particularly soothing for dry winter skin. It will make you smell a bit like goose, but is very soothing.

So as you can see, we got a great deal of benefit from our goose, and we will be enjoying the flavorful fat and delicious broth for some time. Our ancestors knew just what to do with a goose.

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

Eat Fat, Live Long—the Real Food of Okinawa

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Fusaki beach フサキビーチ_04
Creative Commons License photo credit: ajari

You may have heard about the longevity and health of the Okinawan people. According to records kept by the Japanese since 1879, the people of Okinawa just may be the longest-lived people in the world, often staying healthy and active into their nineties, or even longer.

Many have claimed that this longevity and health is due to a low-fat, meat-free, high-vegetable diet. Being skeptical of such claims, I researched traditional Okinawan cooking and traditions.

My skepticism was justified, as it usually is. The long-lived, healthy people of Okinawa eat a diet that is heavily based on meat. Mostly pork. Mostly fat pork. The main cooking fat is pork lard. Many foods are fried in pork lard. The Okinawans traditionally do not rely on doctors when they get ill, but on food-based remedies consisting of—pork organs. In fact, pork is so vital to Okinawan culture that Okinawans often refer to their land as the “Island of Pork.”

The real lesson of Okinawan longevity is “Eat fat, live long.”

The Real Food of Okinawa

Okinawan cuisine is centered around meat. The most important meat is pork. The Okinawans have a saying, that they use every part of the pig except for the toenails and the squeal. Many of the pork parts eaten are composed almost entirely of fat, such as pork skin, pig ears, and pork belly. All the internal organs of the pig are regularly eaten, such as the liver, kidneys, stomach, and intestines, which are also full of fat. Pork lard is the fat of choice for cooking, and many foods are deep fried in pork lard. Every other part of the pig is also eaten, including more familiar parts like spareribs, pork shoulder, and pork loin. The skin is usually left on and eaten whenever possible.

Goat is also favored by Okinawans, though pork is far more common. What is interesting is that much of this goat meat is eaten raw, and there are restaurants that specialize in the preparation of raw goat meat.

Traditionally, the Okinawans ate very little grain, which used to be sold to pay taxes. Sweet potatoes are a common and favorite food, as are cabbages, carrots, and other vegetables. Vegetables are always cooked, often fried in pork lard.

The Okinawans do eat tofu, but the tofu they eat is different. It is made differently from the rest of the tofu in the world, and is often naturally fermented for several months. Unfermented tofu is often deep fried in pork lard. One of the most common Okinawan dishes is a stir fry made out of pork, vegetables, and tofu, fried in pork lard. It is possible that the protective factors in the pork lard prevent the harm that often occurs from eating soy.

Miso, another fermented soy product, is also used as a seasoning.

Okinawans do not eat that much seafood, which is surprising given that Okinawa is a relatively small island. The explanation is that Okinawa has a tropical climate, and fish spoil very quickly. The island has very rugged terrain, which made it difficult to transport fish before they spoiled. Fish are fermented and made into sausages, which form a small, but important part of the diet.

Most Okinawans do not eat western-style processed and refined foods, though a small amount of brown sugar is used in cooking.

Okinawan Healing with Food

Traditionally, Okinawans had no medical doctors, but relied on food to heal themselves. This system was based on the organs of animals, usually pigs, but often goats. The traditional belief was that disease was caused by an imbalance in an organ, and the imbalance could be corrected by eating the corresponding part of an animal. Someone with breathing difficulty would eat the lungs of a pig. Somebody with a hearing problem would eat the ears. Someone with a digestive problem would eat the stomach of a pig, and/or the kidneys, and so on.

This system is not unique to Okinawa. It was followed by many traditional peoples, including the Native Americans, and by many Western M.D.s before prescription drugs became the remedy of choice.

This system worked so well that many Okinawans still follow this tradition, and do not seek medical help. This may actually contribute to their longevity, because the side effects of the drugs and surgeries used by modern medicine cause the death of many people.

The Real Okinawan Food Is Consistent with the Research of Dr. Weston A. Price

Dr. Weston A. Price spent 10 years studying the diets of the last healthy peoples on Earth. These peoples were free of the chronic diseases that plague the modern world. Dr. Price did not just read studies, he actually traveled right to the people he studied and observed them personally. Dr. Price found a number of similarities in the diets of these people:

  • They ate a large amount of animal fat.
  • They ate a substantial amount of meat and/or seafood.
  • They ate a large amount of organ meats regularly.
  • They ate some of their meat and/or seafood raw.
  • They ate many kinds of natural foods, unrefined and unprocessed.
  • They ate a number of naturally fermented foods.
  • They ate at least a small amount of seafood, fermented if they could not get it fresh.

All of these factors are present in the real Okinawan food.

  • The Okinawans eat a great deal of pork fat.
  • The Okinawans eat a substantial amount of pork and goat.
  • The Okinawans eat organ meats regularly.
  • The Okinawans eat raw goat meat.
  • The Okinawans eat most of their food unrefined and unprocessed.
  • The Okinawans eat a number of naturally fermented foods.
  • The Okinawans regularly eat a small amount of fermented seafood.

In summary, the diet of the Okinawans is very similar to the diet of the healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price. The longevity of the Okinawan people is further evidence of the benefits of the diet developed by Dr. Price.

Related Posts

Call It Medical, Not Mediterreanean

Who Was Weston A. Price?

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

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