13 Jul2008


A “milk-fed” veal chop is possibly my favorite cut of meat, ever. I like it better than a superb aged steak, kobe beef or just about any other hunk of meat, pork included. It is tender and juicy, mildly flavored and with a texture that is unlike any other meat. Originally a European phenomenon, with the Dutch feeding their young calves the equivalent of milk/milk powder until they reached a particular size then slaughtering them for their delicious and pale meat, American farmers now raise millions of cows for veal each year, according this industry website. I didn’t know that most of the cows used for veal are males, with the females being saved to produce milk on diary farms. At any rate, I understand that there are some who won’t eat veal for various reasons, including animal rights related ones, but as I have said before, I am a carnivore, and I do enjoy my veal. I haven’t found a single supplier or store in Manila that carries large milk-fed veal chops like these ones, so it is an absolute treat whenever someone brings me some in their luggage…


House guests from New York arrived the other day bearing the meat equivalent of gold in their suitcases, 7 enormous veal chops cut from one whole veal roast. We headed out to the beach the next morning and for lunch, we immediately fired up a charcoal grill and simply added some good sea salt and cracked black pepper to the veal chops, and grilled them for a few minutes on each side. They were done in less than 8-10 minutes for a medium-rare doneness. The pale meat had a beautifully light crust of caramelized bits and darker grill marks. A little sprinkling of some more sea salt and they were ready to eat.


At about 1.5 inches thick and incredibly plump, these were a real treat… something I only manage to enjoy once a year or so. I finished an entire chop by myself. Had a little salad on the side, but really, this was simply about the meat. :)



  1. TPS says:

    *Wiping drool from the screen*

    Jul 13, 2008 | 10:08 pm


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  3. kurzhaar says:

    Oh dear, Marketman, I’ll have to differ just a touch here. I like veal (and those chops do look good), but very rarely eat it. I’m a confirmed omnivore, but veal is a iffy subject. MOST American veal is not (in my opinion) raised humanely, and I will not buy it (nor do I buy factory-raised chickens or eggs or pork) unless I know the source and how the animal was treated.

    I am lucky to be able to buy pastured poultry–including heirloom turkeys, chickens, or guinea fowl, pasture-raised pork (Tamworth reds, a slow-growing heirloom breed), and grass-fed beef that was never finished on grain. Not only does that support the local small farmers, but the meat is of excellent quality. Prices range from about the same as supermarket meat (ick!) to maybe 25% more for the same cut of meat. I don’t mind paying a premium if needed, since the quality is high, and knowing that the animal was raised humanely makes a HUGE difference for me. (Also, I don’t eat anywhere as much meat as the average American.)

    Whether or not the animal was raised humanely is important for me because I started hunting myself a decade ago (and continue to hunt today), and let me assure you, when YOU take the life of an animal, it makes a real impact–at least it did on me. I do not take meat or fish for granted nowadays, and when I cook meat, I try to treat it with respect. I think buying food–whether it be fresh tomatoes or anonymous packages of meat in the supermarket distances people from the source of that food.

    Jul 13, 2008 | 10:37 pm

  4. Myra P. says:

    kurzhaar, eloquently put. Reminds me of me fishing and wanting to throw back the gasping fish. Can’t even dunk a lobster in boiling water without being feeling guilty. I do eat meat, but nothing I’ve ever killed myself. If we had better options in Manila, and the money to pay a premium for the type of meat you have access to… But reality is that price is simply too prohibitive.

    Jul 13, 2008 | 11:13 pm

  5. Glecy says:

    Did you say ,you are a hunter and continue to do so? Is this a humane thing to do? It does not make sense when you say you want your meat raised humanely, but it’s okay to hunt. Just asking. Enjoy your meat.

    Jul 13, 2008 | 11:16 pm

  6. connieC says:

    Not being raised humanely means: the young calves are kept in stalls allowing hardly a movement , that is why the meat is so tender for lack of exercise and muscle use. As for the pale meat, anemia is actually induced from an iron deficient diet. I do eat meat but I stay away from veal. Sorry.

    Jul 13, 2008 | 11:45 pm

  7. Vanessa says:

    In some parts of the world (Germany is one example), hunting is not simply for sport but to control herds and populations, and is tightly sanctioned by authorities. A hunting license is incredibly difficult to get and is considered an immense responsibility, not merely a pastime.

    I believe Kurzhaar wanted to point out the seeming disconnect that many people have toward their food (meat specifically), no longer seeing the animal from which it came and scarcely caring about the conditions in which these were raised. A lot of the animals that make it to supermarkets these days (likely even in the Philippines) are raised exclusively to be slaughtered in absolutely horrifying and inhumane conditions. Animals in the hunt tend to be healthier and to have the opportunity to roam and graze and essentially live “fuller” lives. It also brings to mind the whole discussion about why free-range chicken tastes better than the entirely anonymous, hormone-hopped variety in many groceries.

    That said, I agree wholeheartedly with Myra P that it is also a matter of the kind of options that we have in our markets and access. I believe people, once they have greater awareness about this, will always choose to, or at least try harder to, make more responsible buying decisions. It’s about knowing where your food came from and honoring our connection with the source. :-)

    Jul 13, 2008 | 11:57 pm

  8. kurzhaar says:

    Yes, I do hunt. Before I killed my first game (a pheasant), I was very ambivalent about how I would feel about the whole experience. But I decided that as I ate meat, that I had to be honest with myself about where the meat came from. And I decided that if I could not stomach actually taking the life of an animal, that I would not be hypocritical about eating meat. For me, killing the pheasant, and having to pluck and clean it, was a real punch-in-the-gut experience…remember too how especially beautiful an animal a pheasant is!!! I do not “enjoy” the act of killing, it was and always is a sobering experience. But if you eat meat, that meat came from somewhere…whether it was a baby calf or a wild salmon or a factory-raised chicken.

    The thing about hunting wild game, is that the animals have lived a proper animal life. I’m not saying that life in the wild is easy (I am far from a romantic), but it is NATURAL. So a wild pheasant was born in the wild, survived the challenges of finding food and shelter, and lived a wild pheasant life. That is NATURAL.

    To me, it is far from natural or humane the way factory-raised chickens are treated…not just how they are raised (as feed-to-meat conversion machines, so they grow to market weight in 6 weeks), but how they are transported to the processing plants, and slaughtered. The numbers of living chickens that are crushed in transport, or have joints dislocated from rough handling while they are hung on conveyor belts before they are killed, is absolutely stomach-turning. Most people don’t think about it because the limit of their awareness of where the meat comes from is going to the supermarket and buying a nice tidy plastic-wrapped package of cut-up chicken. To me, it is FAR more humane to kill a wild pheasant or rabbit or duck with a single clean shot than to crowd half a million chickens in a metal pen under 24-hour light, pack them into crates for shipping to a processing plant an hour or more away, and turn them into KFC bits (YUCK!!!).

    I do not waste game that I’ve killed, I try to make a clean kill (which means shooting clays to become a better shot), and as I said, I have a very real feeling of respect for the game as meat. Since I started hunting, I cannot take any meat (domestically raised or wild game) for granted, which is one reason I don’t eat all that much meat. I raised my own hens (for eggs) in the past, and so I have a particularly soft spot for chickens…who DO have personalities. And as for pork, just think, pigs are about as smart as dogs.

    Same thing goes for other animal-sourced products…I buy eggs from a friend who has pastured hens, and cheese from local cheesemakers whose goats and sheep are well treated. It’s not easy to ensure animal products you use or consume are from humanely treated animals, but at least be aware of what you buy.

    I guess the bottom line for me is that, while I enjoy food immensely, I try not to forget where the food came from. Having raised hens, and continuing to hunt/fish/grow heirloom vegetables, I have become much more aware of what it takes to put a meal on the table.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 12:20 am

  9. fried-neurons says:

    Those veal chops look great, MM. How did your houseguests transport them? Were they frozen pre-flight? Packed in dry ice? In carry-on or checked luggage?

    Anyway, I also love veal. Most of my friends here will not eat it, but I do unapologetically. However, as fantastic as veal is, I’ll still teak an excellent dry-aged steak over it any day of the week. But that’s the beauty of food, right? To each his own. :)

    Jul 14, 2008 | 12:31 am

  10. kurzhaar says:

    Vanessa, you are quite right. It is the disconnect between where food comes from that I am trying to explain. I think everyone who enjoys this blog (as I do!) must enjoy food…I am just hoping that people become more aware of what it takes to produce that food, whether it be migrant workers harvesting those lovely grapes or the hundreds of chickens that got crushed in transport during production of those tidy anonymous packages of meat in the supermarket. Or the months of dog training and hours spent practicing on the trap range to have a well-trained hunting dog that brought that cleanly shot pheasant or rabbit to your hand.

    Responsible hunters do care a great deal for the game they kill and for the environment that supports that game. Yes, there are irresponsible hunters who waste meat, leave wounded game to die a slow death in the field, and toss beer cans out the window…but there are irresponsible people in every area.

    For me, going out in the wilderness with friends and well-trained dogs, spending the day in open air, watching the plants grow and change with the seasons, is much of the hunting experience. If I bring home a couple of pheasants (hopefully killed with a single clean shot), that is a bonus that I don’t take lightly.

    BTW, commercially raised chickens are not given hormones (you may be thinking of beef cattle), but they are generally raised with antibiotic-treated feed. Just remember that the liver is where most antibiotics are detoxified, so for heaven’s sake if you eat chicken liver, buy ORGANICALLY raised chicken liver! Another reason to buy pastured poultry.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 12:36 am

  11. thelma says:

    i agree with you, kurzhaar, and i understand your point…very well said.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 1:19 am

  12. sofia says:

    One thing I can not stomach is to even think of putting veal near my mouth, I just feel sorry for the way they raised and you know what next.But every people have there own preferences in life.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 4:38 am

  13. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM….they are sooo beautiful!!!!

    Jul 14, 2008 | 6:08 am

  14. Marketman says:

    Ah, I knew this would attract some controversy, but I am glad to see commenters with intelligent and thoughtful positions have weighed in so far. I see both sides of the coin, but as I have said, enjoy my veal, foie gras, etc.

    As for a lot of commercially raised meats, there is always something to be concerned about, be it hormones, or even once, a documentary on how some large chicken farms systematically blind their chickens so they don’t peck each other in tight pens. I too would love to buy all organic, nicely raised then humanely killed for food meats and fish, but the reality is efficient raising of animals is necessary to feed the world’s 6+ billion population.

    And as for grains and other vegetables and fruits, if we flinch at some of the things done to animals with brains, what about all the genetic engineering that is done to make grains far more efficient, does that mean many folks in the West will no longer eat the bread, cereal, baked goods, etc. made from genetically engineered wheat, corn, rice, etc.?

    Yes, it would be nice to be as close to the raising of the food that one eats, I completely agree, but just far too many folks do not realistically have that option. Now if only the animals were smart enough to cause a couple of billion people to get wiped out in a plague of some sorts, that would be a huge balancing factor of sorts…

    Jul 14, 2008 | 6:13 am

  15. Sister says:

    We eat veal once or twice a year and we go out of the way to buy organic, unpenned, meat or poultry whenever possible and it requires more of a trek to the source and certainly is more pricey when ordered from a vetted purveyor. I sympathize with the concern for animals but do not apologize for the occasional treat when balanced by other kindness such as providing good meals to housebound elderly neighbors regularly.
    I don’t recommend freezing meat or poultry and bear in mind any poultry at the grocery has already been chilled down at least once to 26 F as per Dep’t. of Agriculture guidelines.In other words frozen before it gets to that grocery case. So whatever I purchase is usually cooked within 24 hours.I know who raises the poultry, lamb, or pork we consume and veal and beef are purchased from a reliable resource as well. As for transporting meat a long distance I use a cooler or cool bags in a suitcase for airline trips as the temp. in the hold where your baggage is is about 40 F.
    If you haven’t had a grilled veal chop at the beach with your family you have missed one of life’s simple pleasures.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 7:10 am

  16. kurzhaar says:

    Marketman, I do actually like veal, and on the occasion that I can find humanely raised veal (yes, it exists–meat from an unrestrained calf raised in his mother’s company and on his mother’s milk, usually with some grazing on grass as well), I will eat it. It’s a pinker, firmer veal with a very mildly beefy flavour, and to me is far tastier than the very white and bland veal from calves that are restrained (no muscle development) and are fed antibiotic-laced formula. I loved the taste of foie gras, but nowadays limit myself to a normal goose or duck liver (honestly, that is pretty darn rich enough). There are so many good things to eat in this world that I don’t feel that is a loss.

    Feeding the world’s population does not require moving everyone to a meat-centric diet, either. I think one of the solutions is to simply eat less meat, and to thoroughly enjoy better quality (humanely raised) meat when you do. I’m not a vegetarian (by any stretch of the imagination!!!), but I’m not one of those who has to have meat at least once a day. Now, wine, on the other hand, is a daily pleasure!

    As for genetic engineering, you may be surprised to learn that I think there is a place for that as well, thoughtfully done. I am a biologist, and can say that there are new techniques that do not require expression of a gene from another species, but manipulate the plant’s own genes in pretty smart ways. Let’s not forget that horizontal gene transfer from one species to another has always happened, and the more genomes are sequenced, the more we realize this. Genetic engineering is not, per se, an “evil”. Intelligently done, it can be used to develop plant varieties that have nothing but their own genetic material, that can yield more under adverse conditions (such as drought or nutrient stress), be more resistant to pests like viruses, or improved in other ways (allergen-free peanuts, for example).

    Also, there are some crops that almost certainly will need some sort of genetic engineering simply because of their biology–bananas for one (kinda hard to breed a plant by conventional means when it doesn’t usually have seeds!), and you may know that virus-resistant varieties are urgently needed.

    Bottom line for me: there is rarely black and white in my world, so long as the arguments are intelligently made and based on fact, I’ll listen to both sides.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 7:32 am

  17. chrisb says:

    Having grown up in in the province, with our farm just a few kilometers away from where my family lived, I was always aware of where meat came from. I saw countless pigs, chickens, cows, sheep, deer, etc. being born, growing up, fattened up and then slaughtered. Honestly, I never felt bad for them at all. It was always clear to me that they were food, not friends or pets. I do understand however, how people may be repulsed by very bad conditions that some animals are forced to endure in large institutional farms. I do hope things get better in that regard but I’ll take up human welfare first before animal welfare, thanks. Some pastured chickens in the west have it better than garbage-picking humans in Manila’s dumps.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 9:11 am

  18. Lee says:

    nice… i love reading insightful comments.

    Well, i love the fun “silly lolo” types but serious stuff like the ones above are worth reading.

    Silly Lolo… I miss your comments.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 1:17 pm

  19. olga says:

    you don’t need to be at the beach to enjoy veal. aside from grilled, veal marsala is also muy delicioso…

    Jul 14, 2008 | 2:36 pm

  20. Joy says:

    >>I too would love to buy all organic, nicely raised then humanely killed for food meats and fish, but the reality is efficient raising of animals is necessary to feed the world’s 6+ billion population.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 3:23 pm

  21. DADD-F says:

    Actually chrisb,I think what the others are saying, particularly kurzhaar, is simply to develop a healthy respect for all creatures here on earth. And while it is quite natural for us to put human welfare first, the others simply meant that even as we need to slaughter animals for food, for example, because of a very natural need, we must also realise that they (other animals and plants) have as much right to be in this world as we have. So it would be a lot better if most of us, if not all, would strive to eat more consienciously and not be wasteful. And for those who raise and/or slaughter animals for food and sale, to be a little bit kinder while they still live and in finally preparing them…eventually, for everyone’s table. On the practical side, animals such as from the wild or organically grown and well-treated provide for better meat.

    Kurzhaar, this has always been a part of my philosophy and how I wish I can also buy organically grown and humanely treated animals all the time. But like the others said, not everywhere are such available and even when they are, not necessarily affordable. Same with the fishes. You are a biologist. I am a marine biologist by training. Am sure many in the Philippine country side for instance, or even among the urban poor, would choose legally caught fishes and other marine catch. Unfortunately, not everybody can afford to. And for those who are far from the process of actually procuring the goods they simply pick on the shelves of supermarkets, they do tend to be regrettably unaware and so act in a detached manner. But, of course, shifting mindsets, is another story.

    As for genetic engineering, admittedly, my views on it are a little bit more on the conservative side. But your point about manipulating a plant’s own genes is something to ponder on.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 4:44 pm

  22. Apicio says:

    I just hope that all the environmental costs not tallied in calcultating the so-called cheap industrially raised food come into play in a more accurate reckoning sooner than later. Meanwhile, being informed about how our food is raised (how for example environmentally considerate techniques and humane treatment actually result in better flavored wholesome products), and eating much less of the more prodigal resource-guzzlers such as animal meat is the healthy way to go about it. But fish caught in certain pools make me shudder too. I lack engagement with biology’s minutiae but this much I know, I prefer my nitrogen cycle in great broad circles rather that short-circuited as it is in the delicious fish swimming in the effluent that is Manila Bay.

    Btw, the enriching taste sensation (the fifth taste some say) that would be much later named umami was actually discovered first with veal stock.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 7:36 pm

  23. siopao says:

    I guess the best tasting stuff is usually the most politically-incorrect.

    aside from veal, MM mentioned foie gras… I’ll add in kobe beef, bluefin tuna, lechon de leche, shark’s fin, female crabs, beluga caviar and wild salmon.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 9:29 pm

  24. kurzhaar says:

    Apicio wrote >>I just hope that all the environmental costs not tallied in calcultating the so-called cheap industrially raised food come into play in a more accurate reckoning sooner than later. Meanwhile, being informed about how our food is raised (how for example environmentally considerate techniques and humane treatment actually result in better flavored wholesome products), and eating much less of the more prodigal resource-guzzlers such as animal meat is the healthy way to go about it.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 10:35 pm

  25. kurzhaar says:

    (for some reason the rest of my post got dropped)

    Apicio, I completely agree with you–the costs of industrially produced meat include such things as antibiotics (from animal wastes) contaminating soil and water and in at least some instances leading to antibiotic resistance in endemic bacterial populations…a potential risk because some types of antibiotic resistance are transferrable between bacteria.

    I don’t advocate vegetarianism myself (I *love* bacon!) BUT I do think a diet that is largely based on plants is more healthful for you as well as for the environment. Face it, it takes roughly a ten-fold amount of land to produce a meat product than it does an edible plant product of equivalent energy value.

    On the comments on human welfare…I am not sure how that entered the picture, but personally I do not believe that a good deed done on behalf of a human “cancels out” a knowing injustice to animals. If it is one thing I learned by the hunting experience, it is that eating ANY meat means taking a life, and that is not something that should be trivialized. The least we can do is to treat with respect the animal that gave up its life for our eating pleasure. I understand that far too many in this world do not have the economic means to worry about how their food was produced when just getting a meal is a challenge, but I’d wager that ALL of you on this blog do not have that problem.

    DADD-F, newer genetic techniques include working with non-protein-coding DNA (so there is no “foreign” protein produced in the plant and therefore no potential new allergen). It is now possible to produce genetically engineered organisms (plants and microorganisms, mainly) that don’t have ANY foreign genes at all–no antibiotic selection genes, nothing that is a “Frankenfood” issue.

    If you read up on some plants (the banana is a great example as most food varieties are grown asexually, i.e., they are clones of the mother plant), protecting the crop will include conventional (non-genetic engineered) selection…which means conserving a wide diversity of genotypes or cultivars from around the world. See http://www.bioversityinternational.org/ for great resources. BUT because of the plant’s biology (vegetative reproduction), genetic engineering is likely the only way to develop varieties resistant to things like Panama disease and banana wilt viruses. See http://www.africanews.com/site/list_messages/18802 as an example.

    I frankly find it irritating that so many people jump on the “anti-GMO” wagon without having a clue about what genetic engineering is about or how it can be done in a completely environmentally safe way. The sad thing is how a lot of these people are almost religious in their anti-GMO fervour…it is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to make this a black and white issue. Like many aspects of science, genetic engineering can be done with a sensible and environmentally sound outlook for the long-term. Neither is it the ONLY thing we should be doing–as I said, conservation of genetic resources is a key issue.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 10:37 pm

  26. chrisb says:

    Gee, thanks for the translation Dadd-F.

    I would like to add though that in our farm, all the animals were pastured, as kurzhaar would put it. Humane treatment all the way- I understand all of that. I just find it a bit strange when people start having “feelings” for their food.

    Anyway, I think it is safe to assume that most readers of this blog are intelligent and civilized people, and Marketman has always made clear his position on animal rights concerns about certain foods. We’re all on the same plane here when it comes to proper treatment of animals, with just a few degrees of variation in our beliefs. So I don’t think there’s a need to remind him and everyone else about it.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 10:53 pm

  27. kurzhaar says:

    I’ll have to disagree with chrisb who says “I don’t think there’s a need to remind him and everyone else about it.”

    Actually, I think it IS important to think about what resources we use, whether it is food or not. It is the NOT thinking that has led to so many problems in this world. As an American, I see probably the most thoughtless consumption of anywhere on this planet…it’s not something to be proud of!

    That is all I am after, that people be more thoughtful and aware of what they eat, and of what it takes to enjoy that. I am very far from being an extremist animal rights advocate, in fact I am at odds with much of the animal rights movement since I eat meat, have pets, and hunt. It is not “having feelings” if you mean getting teary-eyed and emotional (or I guess I’d be vegetarian). It is taking a hard look at what your consumption means.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 11:33 pm

  28. Vanessa says:

    Hmm…I didn’t get the impression that Kurzhaar was “reminding” anyone, and certainly not in any I’m-more-ethical-and-responsible-than-thou kind of way. I think it’s what’s called “discussion.” ;-) And it’s been very enlightening thus far.

    Jul 15, 2008 | 12:18 am

  29. chrisb says:

    kurzhaar, I have to agree with you about thoughtless consumption in America. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it and you are right to be ashamed of it. In a third world country like ours, we do think about our use of resources- not in the pause-and-ponder kind of way, we think hard about it everyday because resources are so limited. We’ll never come close to your average per person consumption of the world’s resources.

    Jul 15, 2008 | 12:21 am

  30. kurzhaar says:

    There is thoughtless consumption in just about every country that I’ve visited, which includes several developing or third world countries. I’m not excusing the fact that Americans use more resources on average than any other country (and much of that is due to the never-ending search for convenience…processed/packaged/disposable everything). But I have got to say that some of the most conspicuous consumption I’ve seen has been by wealthy people living in developing countries whether that be in Asia or South America or Africa. I guess it was even more jarring than usual when I saw what even by developed-world standards is an extravagant lifestyle…e. g., homes with marble floors and a dozen cars and couple dozen servants and name-brand clothes and all.

    Anyway…my point was just that I hope that everyone, especially those who can afford a choice in what they eat/drink/drive/wear/etc, be more thoughtful and aware of (and grateful) for what they choose to enjoy.

    Jul 15, 2008 | 12:49 am

  31. fried-neurons says:

    kurzhaar wrote:
    “But I have got to say that some of the most conspicuous consumption I’ve seen has been by wealthy people living in developing countries whether that be in Asia or South America or Africa. I guess it was even more jarring than usual when I saw what even by developed-world standards is an extravagant lifestyle…e. g., homes with marble floors and a dozen cars and couple dozen servants and name-brand clothes and all.”

    You are absolutely right. As the old saying goes, “Ain’t nuthin’ like being rich in a poor country.”

    As a whole, those of us in developed countries consume such a huge percentage of the world’s resources – both in terms of food and in terms of energy. It is absolutely true.

    However, I would argue that poor countries would consume just as much or almost as much (on a per-capita basis)if those countries’ populations had the financial muscle of the first world middle and upper classes. It is human nature to be acquisitive and profligate.

    It’s also true that the United States has taken consumption to a whole new level, though. Ours is so out of whack, even when compared to Western Europe or Japan.

    Jul 15, 2008 | 1:35 am

  32. Glecy says:

    Religion, politics and now organic food are brain teasers.Thanks for all the intellectual discussions.

    Jul 15, 2008 | 5:21 am

  33. Yuan says:


    Jul 15, 2008 | 9:22 am

  34. Naz says:

    Besides the food entries in this site, the conscious/intelligent inputs from readers makes it more a frequent-must-read-blog. I am with kurzhaar’s bet.

    Sister’s entry of ‘not re-freezing meat’ is enlightening for me. I shall start cleaning out my freezer. Thanks, sister.

    Jul 16, 2008 | 2:20 am

  35. Joy says:

    Most of my comment got wiped out earlier, so I’m back – bec. I know MM will have a response. :-)

    MM – I really have to call you on this comment you made earlier, in light of the fact that it is attached to a post on milk fed veal: ‘ I too would love to buy all organic, nicely raised then humanely killed for food meats and fish, but the reality is efficient raising of animals is necessary to feed the world’s 6+ billion population.’

    The way in which the calves were raised for this meal of yours has absolutely nothing to do with efficiency. They’re essentially locked in a crate for the duration of their lives to produce a meat of a certain culture and texture. In other words, they suffer purely for aesthetics. I’m sure you know that milk-fed veal is a specialty product that very few of ‘the world’s 6+ billion population’ will ever eat, even if they wanted to.

    Your friends have access to naturally raised veal. If they, and you, choose to go for milk-fed, it would be nice if, rather than cloaking your consumption of the meat in a sort of ‘Gee, I’d love to go for organic and humanely raised, but it’s out of my control …’ sentiment, just be honest. The honest thing to say here would be: I know that these animals suffer. And I know there is an alternative. But darn it, I just prefer to eat this milk-white meat so, their suffering be damned. It’s worth it for my tasty dinner.’

    Because you may not have access to humanely raised pork and chicken but in this case, you DO have a choice.

    By the way – a large portion of the world’s 6+ billion population that is served by the ‘efficient’ farming of animals doesn’t even eat meat. See India.

    And yes, I do eat meat. I eat veal. But I draw the line at milk-fed.

    Jul 16, 2008 | 9:06 am

  36. hiro says:

    certified veal lover here, too

    Jul 17, 2008 | 12:22 am

  37. kurzhaar says:

    I agree with Joy, who wrote “…a sort of ‘Gee, I’d love to go for organic and humanely raised, but it’s out of my control …’…”

    Generally speaking, it is ENTIRELY within one’s control (most certainly within the control of those posting on this blog) to choose what foods to spend their money on. And I don’t buy into the “but humanely raised meat is more expensive” excuse. If the humanely raised meat cost, say, 50% again as much as the factory-farmed meat, well, it is an easy thing to choose to purchase LESS meat but meat that is of better quality. Eat smaller portions or meat, or eat it less frequently, and appreciate what you have on your plate.

    I’m not advocating an abstentious lifestyle…good food has been my hobby for decades. I enjoy cooking, and hosting small dinner parties and wine tastings. The pleasure of eating good food, to me, includes an appreciation of what it took to grow/raise/catch that food, as well as its preparation and presentation. Try getting a bit more personally involved on the grow/raise/catch aspect of putting a good meal on the table, and I think you can’t help but feel the same way.

    Jul 18, 2008 | 4:32 am

  38. Apicio says:

    Yes abstentious seems a tad extreme. Abstemious will do us all good.

    Jul 18, 2008 | 7:07 am

  39. Cris T. says:

    kurzhaar, sir, please get over it! This has been dragging for so long, let us just respect MM’s blog. I believe he is not advocating that we buy veal (he often encourages that we buy organic and free range vegetables and livestock when possible), he simply is sharing his food adventures with people who would be interested. If this disturbs or rather, disgusts you that much then simply skip his blog.

    Jul 18, 2008 | 8:26 am

  40. kurzhaar says:

    Good one, Apicio! ;)

    Jul 18, 2008 | 9:39 am

  41. kurzhaar says:

    Cris T., I enjoy Marketman’s blog immensely (it is one of the nicest food blogs of the many out there) and so I have no intentions of skipping it. Blogs are a public forum and I don’t see why a civilised discussion bothers you.

    Marketman himself implied in his post that he did not know much about industrial (i. e., “milk-fed”) veal production. The link he provided is to an industry FAQ page that provides descriptions that are…let’s just say, VERY carefully worded in order to give a good impression. I myself once ate milk-fed veal before I knew any better.

    The reality is that “milk-fed veal” is meat from male calves individually confined in such a way that they can lie down but not turn around, which impedes muscle development and the normal formation of myoglobim (hence the very pale color of the meat). Each calf is tethered (the industry web page claims, “reducing the risk of calves harming themselves and each other”) and therefore unable to turn around or even groom itself past its shoulder, much less play or exhibit any NORMAL calf social behaviour. (Note that isolated/tethered veal production is already banned or in the process of being phased out as a legal requirement in EU countries, but not in the US…yet. Female heifer calves are housed in group pens, free to move about and interact much more normally with each other.) The veal calves are fed an artificial formula and routinely administered SUB-therapeutic levels of antibiotics, because these calves are NOT healthy. The administration of sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics is a practise that has led to antibiotic resistance in many parts of the world, and this is a practise now also banned in many countries.

    If the “milk-fed” veal practises do not disturb the intelligent consumer, I’m not sure what will. One of the reasons for discussion groups like this is informational. Similar “awareness” discussions are what helped the organic movement grow. You can no longer buy white veal (milk-fed) in England, for example, because British law forbids the type of animal husbandry needed to produce white veal. Pink veal is the acceptable alternative, but consumers must be educated about this for the market for pink veal to grow.

    Jul 19, 2008 | 3:36 am

  42. Apicio says:

    Market Manila as I gather from comments I have read over its life has attracted an astonishingly sophisticated group of people with fairly diverse interests. It has welcomed varied points of view and varying depths of thoughtfulness. Any reader can indulge one’s taste and engage one’s interest to the precise level of his or her own desired participation. As long as the comment appears not intent on offending or wounding, nobody is really compelled to read through any of it. No need to be snide at all, just step around any annoying entry for heaven’s sake and let the post’s natural half-life (from initial posting to eventual archiving) deal with it and let’s leave it to MM to lop off any abusive and unhinge comments that may require pruning. It seems to me as clear-cut as that.

    Jul 19, 2008 | 4:23 am

  43. Marketman says:

    Hi everyone. I am not ignoring this thread, I have just been extremely busy with house guests, board meetings and the like. I will have a separate post to address some of the issues raised. So hold on until I get to that post. Meanwhile, I will have to polish off any remaining beluga caviar from Iran… post on THAT in a week or two. :)

    Jul 19, 2008 | 5:50 am

  44. kurzhaar says:

    I stand corrected by a veterinarian friend in Sussex, who told me that you can with some effort still buy “white” veal in England (it takes some searching), but this is meat imported from the continent as its production is banned in the UK. The UK’s rules require more space per calf than in the rest of Europe, require feeding more forage (not just formula) and more iron, and ban tethering and slatted floors (uncomfortable for the animal). The EU rules prohibiting certain veal producing practises were passed a couple of years ago but it seems it is up to each member country to implement them (and some are slower than the rest). Also, humanely raised veal is getting a lot easier to find, you can buy it at the local Tesco or Marks & Sparks nowadays.

    Jul 19, 2008 | 11:49 am

  45. John says:

    To my HUMANE hunter friend.
    When you hunt a cow who has a newborn weanling calf or a bird who has newly hatched chicks in the nest, Do you think that those little helpless babies will starve to death without their mother feeding them ? Where is your humane(ity) in this ?
    My friend you are as humane as Al Gore is environmentalist.

    Oct 28, 2008 | 8:24 am

  46. emsy says:

    reading this whole thing is making me feel like a cold blooded, meat eating human. I only really have one boundary in meat, and it’s pretty simple, too. I will not eat endangered species and their eggs…offspring…whatever. the only rationale is, if they cannot reproduce quick enough to supply the demand, then it only means that those animals should not be eaten. why eat meat from something that produces one offspring every year or every other year?

    everything else, I treat as food. And I never feel great guilt over eating, cooking and slauthering what used to be living things. If I ever buy “ethically slaughtered” or free range, organic produce and meat, it’s because either they taste better or they’re healthier (lesser fat or little to no preservatives and without antibiotics).

    I think of it as a cycle of life (enter Lion King soundtrack). Yes, I eat meat and seafood but later on when I’m pushing up daisies and wild grass, I will eventually be eaten by the same things I ate.

    Nov 18, 2009 | 2:12 pm


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