Monday, November 1, 2010

Just Watch the Animals

Look at that glorious deep yellow of that bison suet (the fat around the kidneys). That fat is loaded with vitamins A&D and makes a delicious rendered fat to cook with.

I try to pay attention to my diet and look at areas that I may have let slip or ruts I may have inadvertently fallen into. I'm noticing that my attempts at including more organ meat into my diet have been pretty lame lately. I used to make pate a lot, now... meh, not so much.  We eat heart, but that's more of a protein than an organ isn't it? I mean, it's so similar to muscle meat that I don't count it. Tongue meat is yummalicious, but I want more variety. I'm looking for all of those other amazing nutrients found in the bits our ancestors would have coveted. The livers, yes, but also brain, kidneys, and marrow. Give me a slow roasted marrow bone over chocolate any day.

Chimo eating the eye from a bison while we skin and gut it outside, in the sunshine.

Last fall we herded ourselves up some bull calves to castrate them. It wasn't pretty, but we got the job done quickly. My little farming partner, Chimo the Wonderdog, sat by us patiently, waiting for us to throw him a testicle or two. He swallowed them with gusto. We kept a bowl for ourselves to fry up with dinner. There's a big difference between what we cooked up with raw butter and some fresh garlic and the monstrous testicles you see hanging from a mature bull. These testicles were tender and delicious.
Such concentration. Chimo wants those prairie oysters.

Chimo had it right. Anytime we would butcher an animal, we would watch as Chimo went straight for the eyes. With meat, blood and guts lying everywhere, it was the eyes that Chimo wanted. Obviously, there were nutrients in the eyes that Chimo inherently knew he needed. The pigs wanted the gut pile, full of an incredible amount of beneficial bacteria and microbes. What would be a mountain during the day would disappear into a blood stain on the grass by morning. The tissues, fat, and sinew, of one animal transformed into that of another that we would then eat. The turkeys delighted in trimmed fat and gristle from bison. The chickens lost their minds for lamb's fat and heads. A functional farm where everything is recycled the way nature intended.

Guts of a pastured bison. Healthy and quite miraculous really. The pigs loved it.

Back to the organs. We need to treat our bodies a little more like we treat a functional farm, where function trumps aesthetics. That means that liver beats t-bone steaks in my nutritional arsenal. Rendered tallow wins out over ghee every time regardless of how much I love that buttery goodness. I love good food, but I want to start incorporating more foods that address how our ancestors ate a little more closely. Surely there are nutritional benefits that we haven't even discovered yet that are attributable to all parts of the animals, not just the stuff we can grill to medium rare or that a commercial meat inspector deems worthy of our consumption. Yet another good reason to hunt or find a farmer that has a small abattoir on their farm.
Sorry, I couldn't resist. The. Best. Dog. Ever.


  1. My goodness, that bison suet is gorgeous!

    So is your dog! :)

  2. Sadly, he's not my dog, but I love him from afar. :) You would love him, too. He's just a giant ball of happiness, that silly dog.

    Yes, that suet is gorgeous AND it was super tasty too!

    p.s. I love your blog! Come baaaaaaack and write some more!

  3. Wauw, great blog- you're an inspiration, thank you.

    When I grow up I want to be like you! ;)

  4. Naomi, you're too kind. Thanks for the great compliment. When I grow up I want to be just like my farmers, with my own land, not just running amok on theirs :)

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. This is way late but I had to comment on your bit about how the turkeys ate the fat and the chickens loved the lamb.

    I laugh every time I read "vegetarian fed" on packages of eggs. Our ducks eat fish, snails, frogs, eggs, etc. That's a natural way of eating. No wonder vegetarian fed eggs (be it chicken, duck, whatever) have yellow yolks instead of orange.

    Our ducks are wonderful "composters". In goes apple cores, cabbage stems, you name it. Out comes fertilizer. ;)

  6. thanks for describing your unique experience for all of us out here so far removed from the farm and how it should be done. lucky dog! I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to find a source of scrap bones and meat for mine.