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Meat And ‘Merica

Hour 2:        When European settlers arrived in North America, they quickly became the largest population of carnivores that the world had ever known. And they set up an America in which meat has pride of placement on the nation’s plates. We’ll learn more about how and why that happened this hour with Maureen Ogle, author of In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

  • Jessica

    awesome guest today! it’s good to finally hear some political diversity on KERA.

  • Rick Holden

    Fantastic interview! As an ovo-lacto vegetarian growing up in Texas, and a trained anthropologist, I thought I knew most of this stuff, but I learned a lot; and, I’m buying this book today. So many people wonder why we get cheap gas, cheap credit, and cheap meat in the U.S., and they assume it’s corporate greed, when in fact it’s mostly a factor of democracy and a market economy giving the public what it wants.

    A couple of added details would help, I think.

    First, the Marxist conception of Capital and Labor, the author spoke about; it’s true that the origin was Marx in a sense, but the idea of this kind of exploitation was really more developed by Lenin and later Soviets. It’s more closely related to the Lenin’s concept of Imperialism, than Marx’s, Capital -I think. Marx’s concept of exploitation was largely limited to actual labor, not so much the consuming public in general not tied to specific labor classes.
    The Soviets funded almost every leftist, academic organization in the ’60′s and ’70′s, either directly or indirectly, and the amount of influence they had over the development of leftist, radical ideologies is really a hidden history in America. The radical right is no better, but we have a better sense of Crony Capitalism in public understanding.

    Also, one detail in the interview that the author over simplified was when she discussed, “Pink Slim.” It is true that ammonia is a natural by product of meat, but only in the sense that it is a waste product of protein metabolism in the body, and a by product of protein breakdown in general. It’s been years since I had to learn all this as an undergrad, but it think a protein molecule is only one atom away from ammonia.
    So, the ammonia in the meat above the natural breakdown of the slaughtered animal’s own chemistry is correlated to the length of time it is decomposing before being eaten. This is actually why we can’t store protein the same way we can store energy (fat/carbs) in any form other than muscle and cell tissue needed for daily life, and why we crave and value high protein food sources as a species.
    The ammonia that’s constantly being produced is excreted in urine, which is the major function of urine. Again, this is all from memory, so the details might be off a bit.

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