A friend writes:
At Whole Foods after Church Sunday I decided to spend some extra money on the Atlantic Salmon. Normally I just buy the cheap “Salmon” from the Kroger or Tom Thumb. Its really hard to fully describe the difference. This Salmon was delicate and sweet, melted in your mouth practically. A world apart from the cheap Salmon (fatty and fishy). I know I keep reading “eat less of a higher quality meat.” I don’t think its ever been as clearly demonstrated to me how big a difference it can make. I would forgo several nights of meat if I knew it meant getting to work with a higher quality fillet of Salmon. I don’t think I’ve ever had “organic” or “free-range” chicken, I’m always suspicious of it so I just go with whats cheapest. In my most recent copy of Cooks Illustrated they actually compared brands of whole chickens so now at least I have a starting point. (The cheapest brand being called “OK,” some found this broth-injected bird “spongy,” “wet,” and “bland beyond description.”” whereas the highest scoring chicken used descriptions I never would have expected with chicken like “clean,” “sweet,” “buttery,” “savory,” “chicken-y,” and “juicy,” with “richly flavored” dark meat that was “so moist” and “tender.” In sum: “Really perfect.”)
Before when I read about the need or suggestion or whatever you want to call it for eating less but buying a higher quality I understood it on an intellectual level. Now I get it though.
Yep. I’ve been there for a while. I eat less meat than I did before, but I eat better meat. It’s worth the sacrifice, I find. In 2003, not long after we moved to Dallas, we bought and baked a pasture-raised chicken from some folks at the farmer’s market. It was way more expensive than supermarket chicken, but I cannot begin to tell you how much more delicious it was. We served it at a small dinner party, and one of our guests raved, “This chicken tastes like chicken!”
It’s hard to explain this to people, but once you taste the difference, you get it, and like my friend (and myself), you may find it easier to go vegetarian more often so as to be able to afford good-quality meat.
With chicken, I’ve found that the farm-raised birds go even further than supermarket birds because you can make such a delicious stock from them. Because they really do taste more like chicken than factory-farmed birds, the stock you make from boiling down the carcass after you’ve picked it clean is especially good.
Any of you readers have any of these “proof is in the tasting” epiphanies?