Waste not want not, or eat only the best? You can’t have both

hot dogs

Mmm, snouts and jowls!

Actually, they had me windpipes and tails, so the snouts and jowls are just an extra treat.

A couple of thoughts come to mind regarding these sorts of graphics. First, what is a meat producer supposed to do with the parts that aren’t considered “prime,” which in the case of a pig would be, say, those that aren’t the ribs, shoulder or loin?

If they toss the less desirable parts of the animal into the refuse bin, there are those who will accuse them of being wasteful, particularly when there’s a sizeable segment of the world’s population that doesn’t have enough to eat.

Americans are already derided by many, and not necessarily incorrectly, for being adherents of a disposable society, where only the best is retained and all else is thrown away, rather than being used or reused.

But, in the case where animal products without attractive names such as “tenderloin” and “porkchop” are concerned, there are those who try to impart a “ick” factor by trotting out by name the parts being used, such as, yes, windpipes and snouts.

So pork processing companies are essentially damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Which, I suspect, is the ultimate aim of creations such as that above.

The other point one might make is that many of the same people who decry meat processors for making as much use of all parts of an animal as possible also hold the American Indian of past centuries in high regard for their purported ability to make use of nearly all parts of animals they killed.

“Tribes learned to use virtually every part of the animal, from horns to tail hairs,” according to one PBS article. “The Indian was frugal in the midst of plenty. When the buffalo roamed the plains in multitudes, (the Indian) slaughtered only what he could eat and these he used to the hair and bones.”

Yet, if a meat processor does the same, they’re effectively accused of attempting to taint consumers with sub-standard products.

Eat hot dogs, don’t eat hot dogs; the choice is yours. But for those of you who dislike “big pork” or any other big animal processing industry, don’t veil your biases behind some Internet meme – in this case a cute, freckle-face kid eating “carcass trimmings” – that makes you look like you’ve got the best interests of the common man at heart.

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11 thoughts on “Waste not want not, or eat only the best? You can’t have both

  1. Those trimmings used to go for dog food……but you are quite right, people have to make up their minds about the uses of the lesss than prime cuts.

    And jowls are great…liver and kidney likewise…hearts and spleens…how do you get a proper sausage without intestines?

    • Indeed, we have a delicacy down in the South called chitlings, made from the intestines. It’s what used to be classified as “soul food.” Try to serve that to some busybodies nowdays and you’d be accused of attempting to foist off the waste products.

    • All of which leaves me to the following conclusion: if the human race, particularly those members in first world nations, were a business, I’d have serious qualms about whether it would be able to continue much longer as “going concern.” Heaven help us when there is a genuine catastrophe to come to terms with.

  2. Eating organ meats is definitively linked to a higher rate of organ cancers. Interestingly, eating brains is linked to brain cancer–specifically, brains together with red wine. Eating two or more hot dogs daily places a child at high risk of leukemia. I believe eating chitlins habitually has been linked (pun perhaps intended) to colon cancer, but I’d have to research that one.

    I think a little goes a long way when it comes to these things, and there’s a reason humans eat them most when they are living in more desperate circumstances.

    • I don’t disagree that a steady diet of, say hot dogs probably isn’t going to do a body good over the long haul. Though I’m not sure if it’s what you’re eating or how it’s made that the problem. I have no way of knowing if ancient people, for example, who tended to eat most every part of an animal, had problems with higher rates of cancer. Of course, when the average life expectancy was, oh, 26 years, I guess it didn’t matter. 😉

      • That is a good point about how it’s made, I’m sure, with what we know now about everything except boiling and roasting, apparently, upping the cancer ante of meat–don’t want any nasty caramelizing or carbonizing deliciousness!

  3. My grandfather kept pigs for home consumption….nothing wasted there….I recall once being there at killing time and joining in the (female, needless to say) job of turning the intestines out in the stream and scraping the inners…and then there was pig’s fry….liver, spleen, and the fraize – the white frilly membrane containing the stomach area…a regular Saturday staple in my other grandmother’s house…
    I strongly suspect the harm comes, if it comes at all, in the preparation and conservation….

    • Yes, mix in enough chemicals, preservatives, etc., and the healthiest of foods can be bad for you.

      Can you imagine asking the typical youngster today to turn “the intestines out in the stream” and scrape out the inners, never mind have anything to do with “pig’s fry”? The retching and dry heaving would wake the dead.

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