Friday, April 16, 2010

Beef Heart: It's what's for dinner

That's what I said, beef heart.

Yes, I am fearless when it comes to animal foods.  I take my relationship with them seriously, not only the value of their nutrition, but what I percieve as their spiritual value as well.  There are a few rules...

Rule #1  If you are going to eat meat, you should be able to kill an animal.  Reconnect with the food chain.

Rule #2  Though shalt not discard the bones!  I think we have covered that before.

Rule #3  Though shalt not discard/refuse the organ meats...and here we are.

Why did we let dietary recommendation steer us away from organ meats?  Prized in every culture but that of modern N. America, we find them disgusting, repulsive, exotic at best.  These are the organs of an animal, what gave it life.  So, after liver, I was drawn to heart.

I have been brought to tears just discussing the importance of eating the heart of an animal.  There was hesitation before slicing into the raw heart.  Not repulsion, but a feeling of unworthiness.  Yep, lot's of issues come up from consciously eating an animal.  Did I deserve this heart?  What had I done to earn it?  I paid for it with money, a tainted and perverse institution of trade.  Did I earn that money in an honorable way?  I did not kill THIS animal.  We never even met.  These are the complications with omnivery in an industrial society.  At least for me.

All of these feelings took only a moment to process.  I shed the feelings of shame, took a moment for thanks, and sliced right in.  I am a human animal.  I need nourishment.  Besides raising the cow myself, I took every step I could to insure that it led a healthy and natural life before it's death.  I know that it's death was humane. I am worthy of a heart.  It was difficult to process all of symbolism and cultural connections to the heart, but then...

 My children and I had one of the most delicious and nourishing meals of our lives.  I am still shedding a tear or two of thankfulness as I write this post.  I feel stronger and more grounded.  Consider the energy, the character, of a cow.  I can not think of a more grounded animal.  I need that desperately.  My heart holds grief, clings to pain, and I too often refer to it's "cracking open".  Can it not just sustain me, physiologically and energetically, by beating steadily ?  I need a little more cow energy :)

I feel I have shown the animal the greatest respect by cherishing and consuming it's heart, and it has given me it's most precious gift. 

  "I value you."   "I thank you."   "I deserve you."  "You are delicious."

And my liver-shunning kiddos gobbled it right up.  The texture is more firm, and the flavor less intense.  After a few bites they asked what kind of meat it was and where on the animal it came from (there is a lot of animal death talk over the dinner table these days...those kiddos are curious).  I saw a glimmer of surprise, of contemplation, when I told them it was heart.  And then they chewed their way through a heap of it.  I sliced it thin, dipped it in brown rice flour, and fried it in lard with plenty of garlic.  And it was SO good.


  1. Maybe we should have come for dinner...Sounds good!

  2. Wow! That sounds really good. I've bought all sorts of organs and bones and parts of various animals, but I've never actually eaten any of it as I give it to my dogs and cats. It's so nutritious for them compared to the junk commercial companies try to sell us. If I'm not going to eat it (not that I don't want to eat, I LOVE liver, in fact) they should get it. They need to eat too. Plus they love it so much.

  3. Your three rules have been a part of our family survival and culture long before I was ever concieved. Excellent post!

  4. Wonderful post! Our family feels that to waste any part of an animal is to dishonor it as well. Nice to find others that have respect.