Execution day is Feb. 19

This year, we’re buying one-quarter of a locally raised, hormone- and antibiotic- and cruelty-free steer.

Beef. From the hoof to our house via a local processor.

We’ll be investing a few hundred dollars (it comes out to around $2 a pound, a great price for beef raised on grass and locally raised organic grain in a non-feedlot environment) in enough meat to last us the better part of a year.

But the strange part is knowing that an animal will die to become our food — specifically, on Feb. 19.

We’re not huge meat eaters. We might have meat twice a week. Chances are good that this beef will be our main meat protein while it’s in our freezer. We have to place a cutting order with the processor, and we’re not asking for T-bones — we are most interested in chuck for stews, flank steak for Mr. Cheap’s carne asada, maybe oxtails and shin bones for stock, and I never turn up my nose at ribs.

When I was a vegetarian (which I was for 10 years), a large part of my reason was the cruel way animals are raised as fodder for our culture’s consumerist lifestyle — part of which is the thoughtlessness with which we consume meat. Later, I grew to believe that I should not eat any animal I felt I would be unable to kil myself — an inexact science, to be sure, that allowed me to consume fish and chicken.

This takes me one step closer to that ideal, although I still won’t be doing the work myself. If you want to see some shots of doing the actual work, check out Green as a Thistle’s post on the subject (and per her readers’ request, *caution* if you are disturbed by raw meat).

It’s a humbling process, but my goal is to appreciate it every step of the way.


7 thoughts on “Execution day is Feb. 19

  1. Sara says:

    Interesting! I’m a vegetarian right now too (been so for about 10 years) and have had thoughts about meat and animals along your lines. I had a friend that invested in 1/2 a cow once and he had nothing good to say about it. Though he never did it again because of the freezer space issue. That 1/2 cow fed his family of four for a year.

    If you take requests… please post more about this as I am very curious to hear about your experience with this.

    Thanks for this blog! I found it a few weeks ago. Also, why do you have a bottle of fish sauce in your blog header graphic?

  2. cheaplikeme says:

    Thanks for the feedback! But wait … do you mean he had nothing good to say, or nothing BUT good to say?

    And ha – the fish sauce: I had a garden photo up all summer, and when fall came around, I decided to change to a photo of the many jars of pickles that are filling my pantry. I snapped this one (bread-and-butter, dills and curry pickles) and the extra bottle of fish sauce had snuck its way in … so I left it. Which reminds me to “slaughter” (as I like to call it) one of our 8-pound butternut squash from the cellar for some Thai green curry.

  3. Sara says:

    Ah… oops. He had nothing BUT good to say.

    I don’t know what your arrangement will be like but he said the meat guy came to his house with what looked like a big moving trailer hitched to the back of his truck. Only, it wasn’t a moving trailer… DUM DUM DUM!

    It was a mobile butcherhouse/room. It was then and there that my friend was able to specify specific cuts. He was very positive about the experience, though the mobile meat room was a little strange!

  4. cheaplikeme says:

    Whoa, that is totally crazy.

    We have a professional meat cutter with a stationery shop. We have to go pick it up, aged and frozen. I think I’d feel less relaxed about a mobile butcher-trailer.

  5. TAM says:

    I would love to know who you are getting your meat from. I am in the Boulder area and that is a smoking deal! Could you please share your rancher? 🙂


  6. Cheap Like Me says:

    The rancher is Bender Natural Beef. We don’t have our meat yet (it’s aging at the processor in Windsor, Colo.) to vouch for the quality. E-mail me at cheaplikeme at gmail dot com and I’ll send you Bender’s e-mail address, if you are interested.

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