(article, Culinate staff)
The winner of our Prose Contest is Rob Buckman. Buckman's entry compared meat, roller skates, and sports cars: h3. The hot rod p(blue smalltext). I first realized how much meat meant to me when I gave it up for a year in the late 1990’s. Eating meat can be an aesthetic experience that goes beyond taste. Of course, it can also be an exercise in summoning up the most apathetic indifference known to man. p(blue smalltext). If you think I'’m wrong, try one of those canned stews that contain “mechanically reclaimed meat.” Comparing that to a lovingly grilled steak is like comparing a pair of dodgy roller skates to a Ferrari Testarossa. p(blue smalltext). Some people swear by tofu. But while it can soak up flavor like a sponge, it's merely a blank canvas upon which other essences are imbued. Meat, on the other hand, takes on other flavors and translates them into a new taste phenomenon that is so much more than the sum of its parts. The other two finalist entries in the contest came from Warbin Kulchowsgi and Kathy Tosh, respectively: h3. The ritual p(red smalltext). Eating meat is ritual, or at least it's meant to be. p(red smalltext). Animals are an invaluable food resource, rich in proteins that yield strong beings. Instead of wasting bones, organs, polystyrene, and polypropylene, it's our duty to prepare and preserve our animals according to our nutritional and environmental ethics, maximizing function, longevity, and value. They say zero waste is the new recycling; I say it's the way to eat meat. p(red smalltext). Cook the entire animal, which means making broths, harvesting marrow and organs, and rendering fat. Savor succulent eyes and crispy skin, a new pair of gloves, rillettes, sausages, bacon, pickled knuckles. After bones are utilized for their nutrition and meat, grind them down and add them to soil for more carbon to grow more food for pastured animals to graze on. Buy animals from the farmer, reducing packaging and transportation costs while supporting a sustainable local economy. p(red smalltext). Appreciate the sanctity of living off the fat of the lamb. h3. The dinner companion p(green smalltext). You give my arm a gentle touch and cast a knowing glance at my plate. I’ve stuffed myself again, and the last of my steak steeps in a pool of succulent juice, a hunk of slightly charred bacon still attached. My carnal appetite has been satiated, but yours has not. p(green smalltext). “I can’t eat another bite,” I announce. “Too good to throw away, though, eh?” p(green smalltext). I slice through the piece of prime flesh, tender and pink, cutting it into smaller pieces. I start to take one last bite, but I can hear what you’re thinking: People may be starving in Africa, but certainly not here. I mean, jeez, have you looked in the mirror lately? p(green smalltext). You’re right, of course, so I refrain. Instead, I pick up my plate and scrape the savory bits into your bowl. You thank me with a heartfelt wag of your tail. h3. Along with a Culinate mug, the winner of the Prose Contest received: [%inlineImage pig width=100] [%inlineImage grill width=100] [%inlineImage barbecue width=100] [%inlineImage vegetarian width=100] Georgeanne Brennan's A Pig in Provence Andrew Schloss and David Joachim's Mastering the Grill Dan Huntley and Lisa Grace Lednicer's Extreme Barbecue and, for variety, Kathy Farrell-Kingsley's The Big Book of Vegetarian The Nueskes Applewood Bacon Sampler_ We thank the generous people at Chronicle Books and Nueskes who have provided prizes for this contest: four books for the winner, one book for each of the other finalists, and a Nueskes Applewood Bacon gift pack. The two runners-up each received a copy of the book of their choice from the Chronicle books listed above.