Episode 82: Steer Clear

In the eighty-second episode of The Latest, we remove beef the American diet but keep the leather jacket. Dr. Eli Gigliotta, O.D., joins the program for this week’s O.J. Simpson Twitter Update.

The Latest with Greg Ott
The Latest with Greg Ott
Episode 82: Steer Clear


Those voices are discussing beef, the key inheritance passed down by Russian aristocrats of the Stroganoff family.

With bizarre debates over American meat consumption grabbing front-page headlines across the country, many across the country are beginning to ask themselves the same question: do you mind if I skip the A1?

On Monday, the foodie website Epicurious, which features articles such as “81 Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas” to simplify your decision to order Grubhub tonight, announced that it will no longer publish recipes that feature beef, in the body or the byline. 

The red meat revolt is due to its charbroiled impact on the environment, with Epicurious citing studies that link 15% of greenhouse gas emissions to livestock, 61% of livestock-related emissions to beef, and 100% of beef-related emissions to that chunk of meat Carl’s Jr. described as steakhouse-quality.

It’s worth noting that the site has no plans to remove its existing 30-day dry aged archive of beef recipes it’s already published, and the site will continue to release dishes that feature chicken, pork, and whatever low-food chain creature IKEA’s settled on for its meatballs. 

Epicurious’ curious decision to flip their chip from green to red at the Brazilian steakhouse coincides with another beef beef. On Earth Day last week, thanks for the present, President Biden announced that the U.S. would seek to cut carbon emissions by at least half by 2030, and in response, the Daily Mail cooked up some empty calories purporting that this plan would limit Americans to eating just one hamburger a month in an emasculating, government-dictated manstural cycle. 

The story appetizsed other right wing media outlets like Fox News, which claimed that Biden in fact proposed — when he hadn’t — that 90% of red meat is about to be cut from our collective diet, limiting Americans to a mere four pounds of beef per year instead of serving. 

Indeed, on Twitter, Don Jr. bragged that he ate four pounds of meat yesterday, Lauren Boebert urged Biden to “stay out of her kitchen,” and Marjorie Taylor Greene compared the President to the Hamburglar. Considering Republican hesitancy to taking the coronavirus vaccine remains a barrier to ending the pandemic, I guess it’s nice to know they at least care about something you put inside your body to stay alive.

For years, there’s been this bizarre fascination within the anti-22nd century caucus whenever food gets linked to climate change, balking at the gall of the Federal Waiter to suggest that we might want to start with a simple wedge salad when our hearts have long been set on the meatball skewers.

In 2019, pursuing support for the Green New Deal, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested that factory farming warrants greater scrutiny and Americans should stop eating so much of the “more” on the “Dollar Menu & More.” 

And naturally, former President Jughead Jones concluded that she was proposing that we permanently eliminate cows altogether, as if they had voting rights, as quarter-pounder-positive activists like Seb Gorka cried “hands off our burgers.” And even though the man chosen to ignore credible accusations of sexual assault against his former boss, at least he’s standing up for the unalienable culinary rights of Wendy.

Staying is a complicated situation, leaving is a complicated situation. But this concert’s been going on for a terribly long time and it’s not like we’ll be treated to “Freebird” if we stick around for the encore. 

With this cow emissions thing, all of the nuanced research and data behind the impact of the western diet on the environment has been ground down, balled up, and pounded into a search-engine optimized patty of “AOC cow fart burger Trump.” 

It’s easy to mock the fools suggesting that we stop eating the foods we enjoy in a free country, where it’s our god given right to consume a cow or become one. 

But these cultural debates over whether or not beef’s what’s for dinner obscure the fact that industrial livestock is often relegated within squalid capsule hotels, red meat is a major contributing factor to global obesity, and “well done” is an oxymoron.

Believe me, I don’t think anyone should waste a spare thought on the editorial guidance of the op-ed section on a recipe website.

But the reason these stories stick out to me is that they obscure the fact that there are really good alternatives to meat, and the technology that turns a handful of peas into a late night bar crawl craving is rapidly improving. 

Ages ago, I talked about the Impossible Whopper and how impressively unextraordinary the thing is — and the same thing goes for the Beyond Burger, the Unimaginable Burger, the Burger Off Into The Horizon. 

I find myself eating way less meat than I used to because the fake sausages, the fake meatballs, the fake meat burrito bowls, and the fake burgers are enough to make me pretend that replacing beef with soy but keeping the cheese, the fries, and the 16 oz beer is fake healthy. 

It’s only a matter of time until Peter Luger starts serving up 32oz 3D printed steaks for $200, because what else do you pair with an eighteen dollar half tomato and onion?

Maybe this is a generational thing, or maybe it really is a matter of taste; a ball of science muscle is no match for a steer who lives in Montana. 

But instead of getting all worked up over what you’re going to have for lunch tomorrow, maybe it’s better to remember the reason you visited some recipe website in the first place: to try something new.