Sunday, August 8, 2010

Meatless Monday - a Great Day For Lard, Lardo and Bacon Grease

Chef Stockner formerly of Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer
with Mangalitsa lardo and whipped lard.

I've heard about a phenomenon, Meatless Monday. On Monday, the people participating don't eat meat.

People eschew meat for a variety of reasons. Some people avoid meat and dairy because they don't like supporting the exploitation of animals - but presumably, people taking such a principled approach would do it throughout the week and avoid all meat and dairy.

Hence, one presumes that the Meatless Monday followers are eating meat and dairy on non-Mondays, and just want to cut down on consumption. They aren't against raising and eating animals.

Meatless Monday appears to be human-centric. For example, Meatless Monday's homepage has human-health focused arguments. They talk about cancer, heart health, etc. I found nothing on their site against killing animals for food.

The fact that there's nothing on the Meatless Monday site against killing animals for food fits with the just-not-on-Monday approach of Meatless Monday.

Mulling it over more, I wondered, what is the Meatless Monday take on dairy products?

Dairy raises interesting ethical issues. For example, if you consume dairy products, you subsidize veal and ground beef, the byproducts of the dairy industry. When vegetarians buy cheese, even though they don't eat any beef, they make it a lot cheaper for others to eat beef and veal.

The dairy industry involves raising animals, which means impacts on water use, water quality, energy, fossil fuel use, etc. Dairies are resource-intensive, because to produce milk, cows need high quality feed like soybeans.

Interestingly, Meatless Monday approves of eating butter and cheese, and apparently, of dairy production in general.

That fits with them not being zealots. They don't say don't ever eat meat and dairy. They just say, "don't eat meat on Mondays. It is better for your body, because you'll eat less saturated fat."

Meatless Mondays is apparently about avoiding animal flesh, aka "meat". Butter and cheese are animal fats. Animal fats are OK on Meatless Monday.

So here's my advice for the Meatless Monday people. When you are cooking your Meatless Monday meal, and it includes butter or cheese, substitute Mangalitsa lard (for butter), Mangalitsa bacon grease (for butter) or Mangalitsa lardo (for cheese).

Lard, bacon grease and lardo are all animal fats, like butter and cheese. But they have more unsaturated fat, and as the Meatless Monday website says:
Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
Whoever wrote that ought to agree that if you can, you are better off avoiding butter and cheese, and sticking to lard and lardo, because they are lower in saturated fatty acids.

If you think Meatless Monday isn't OK with exploiting animals - something we obviously have to do to get the lard and lardo - think again. Meatless Monday is OK with dairy, and dairy necessarily involves exploiting animals.

Meatless Monday is not about "animal rights" - as evidenced by the fact that there's no animal rights rhetoric on the Meatless Monday site, and they support the consumption of dairy products.

Until Meatless Monday goes vegan, eschewing dairy in addition to meat, you should feel free to lard it up on your Meatless Mondays. Just take those Meatless Monday recipes calling for dairy and substitute Mangalitsa products like lard, lardo and bacon grease.

No comments: