Today it is my honor to post a blog by guest blogger Marissa Guggiana La Brecque .  Marissa is a food activist, writer, and fourth generation meat purveyor, who traveled the country to discover many of our most gifted butchers and share their favorite dishes, personal stories, and cooking techniques in her book Primal Cuts; Cooking with America’s Best Butchers.  She then went on to write Off the Menu where she spent months on the road, interviewing, travelling, photographing, and sharing staff (or family) meals at more than fifty of America’s top sustainable restaurants from coast to coast.   She is also the co-founder of The Butcher’s Guild a National Guild for sustainable butchers, of which The Local Butcher Shop is proud to be a member.

“I’m not going to try and convince you to eat insects. I’ll leave that to the UN and some charmingly arrogant chef coming to a town near you. Even if I wanted you to eat bugs, and really, I don’t care at all if you do, I would never try and convince you. It is like talking a child into wearing their not favorite shirt: escalation is inevitable.

But let’s roll around on our tongues the world of alternative proteins that already exist: petri dish meat, soy that bonds with animal protein to create an affordable tween-meat, ribeye steaks cut 1/8” thick to satisfy the dollar stores of the world, not to mention the barbaric efficiencies of factory farms. Less than 2.5% of imported meat is inspected by the FDA and such pillars of culinary respectability as Taco Bell and IKEA have been selling horse and rat meat (knowingly or unknowingly, I don’t knowing).

We are in a zero-sum era. Only so much land, so much air, so much water is left or left to be sullied. No amount of virtue will create limitless resources. That was always a myth, even if it was palpable. “Eat less meat!” is the sash of sustainability. But what does that even mean? You need protein, fish is an even murkier ethical bog than pork and cheese causes more environmental distress than meat agriculture. I, too, become a grumpier, sallower version of myself without proper proteining. Almond butter works, though almonds are a monocrop that dominates honeybee demand nationwide. Are eggs okay? I love eggs- fried, poached, floating in broth. Broth is good, making use of bones for intensive nourishment. If I only eat things that others think of as garbage, am I free from the guilt of gluttony?

The easiest way to eat meat with unfettered pleasure, (which I think, really, should be a primary goal, at least in regards to dinner, if not in regards to the full brunt of your existence), is to ask your whole animal butcher what they would like to get rid of. If they sell all, or most, of the parts of each animal as fresh meat, they will make more money and less animals will die to service the public’s desire for boring tenderloins.  We may still be eating cricket patties in ten years but at least we righteous few can feel good about our conduct. “