I gave up eating meat in 1987 (go me!), so my habits haven’t changed. But for Spouse, Eating to Save the Planet involves a lot less meat than he is used to eating, especially as he doesn’t generally partake of chicken or fish. He’s a sausage and salami plus the occasional steak, Wiener Schnitzel, goulash, and Roulade eater and that’s all red meat. The EAT-Lancet guidelines suggest no more than 28 g of red meat per day.
Today being Friday, it was Spouse’s day to leave work early enough to get to our local organic animal farmer’s barn before its mobile butcher’s counter closes at 6 pm. (The farmer only sells meat from his farm two afternoons a week. The other afternoons their little refrigerated cart is away selling meat at weekly markets, which I suppose you’d call farmer’s markets back home.)
They’ve taken to giving him strange looks. One, he shows up with his own clean containers so he doesn’t have to bring home stuff wrapped up in single use plastics. Two, he asks for 100 grams of lunch meats and 100 grams of steak (which is larger than a postage stamp, in case you’re wondering), whereas all their other customers buy meat in these crazy multiple kilo quantities.
Over the last couple of years, Spouse has stopped buying meat anywhere else (such as the grocery store) because a- this organic meat is pretty tasty and b- because you can see these cows out in the fields and the pigs in their open air stalls (still not ideal, but light years better than the hellscape of foul, stinking, overcrowded, windowless barns which is the standard modern German pig-keeping style). You can also see the beautiful wheat and grass fields full of flowers and insects that the farmer grows here locally because that’s the most reliable way for him to have organic feed for his animals. (I don’t know why the conventional farmers aren’t ashamed of themselves for the starkly barren monocultures they create.)
As you can see from the receipt, organic meat is hella expensive.
Between 20 and 30 euros a kilo! Except that if you’re only going through 200 grams a week, it’s more than affordable. Spouse spends three times as much each week on beer (alcohol, yeah, conspicuously absent from the EAT-Lancet recommendations, which means Spouse probably shouldn’t be drinking any. But that was not open for discussion.).
One of the bonuses about organic meat straight from the farmer is that it isn’t full of water. So even after cooking, that 2 minute steak wasn’t the size of a postage stamp (although it did only take Spouse 5 bites to eat the whole thing).
So this was Spouse’s dinner tonight (I only eat breakfast and lunch because I’m weird, I guess. Also gastric reflux. It’s so much nicer to go to bed on a stomach that emptied itself half a day earlier.). Steak, fried mushrooms in a tomato sauce leftover from the whole wheat pizza with mushrooms, cheese, and olives Spouse had for yesterday’s dinner, and a gratin of rutabaga and homegrown potatoes.
I had to go out to the garage today to get more potatoes. Holy cow, it’s mid-February and we still have tons! We need to eat through them, EAT-Lancet’s 50 g limit per person per day be damned, before the weather warms up and they spoil.
Speaking of the weather warming up… what a difference one year makes, Last year, this was about the time that winter hit us in a bad way, plunging us into a deep freeze and biting wind that made us all miserable (including the poor frost bitten chickens) until mid April (although to be fair, it was only just below freezing from mid-March to mid-April, not -6C to -12C like it was from mid-Feb to mid-March). I literally (truly literally) almost died (okay, not because of the weather, but it certainly didn’t help). But today was gorgeous and sunny and warm! It got all the way up to 13C, which, okay, I would have never, in my past life, called warm. (Standards slide living here, alas.) Not only has the grass started growing and all the wood anemones (ages ago!) and snowdrops opened their blooms, our first two crocuses stuck out their whole heads.
If you’ve never lived someplace where there is actually winter, you have no idea how exciting it is to see flowers. In February!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!
Here they are again, out of focus but with the Big Fat Hairy Cat for scale.