The meat book is still about ten months away from publication, and already, thanks to Pink Slime, it’s another version of the beer book. Not that I’m surprised. Disheartened, but not surprised.
Let me explain: When the beer book came out, I was criticized by many in the craft beer community because I had not written an all-out attack on the “big” brewers. Critics assumed that I MUST be on the big brewers’ “side.” (As if there were sides to be taken….) And, worse, that I’d been paid by a big brewer to write the book. (Nothing could have been further from the truth.)
I didn’t write Ambitious Brew in order to “take sides.” I wrote the book because I thought the history of beer in America would enrich my understanding of what it means to be an American. Period. End of story. It never occurred to me to “take sides.”
So, too, the meat book: I wrote it because I didn’t know anything about meat, its place in American society, how it’s made or why. I spent researching the book, and, no surprise, I learned a great deal about meat and its place in American history and society.
When the Pink Slime uproar began, I thought that knowledge could add to our understanding of Pink Slime. In my mind, the PS uproar smacked of conclusion-jumping and fear-mongering, and I hoped that if people had some facts, they might slow down and rethink the conclusions to which they’d jumped.
Silly me. (Stupid me?) The pro-PS crowd immediately concluded I was “one of them,” and the anti-PS crowd concluded that I was a shill for Big Ag and Corporate America.
Neither is true — but the food “debate” is so mired in hostility that neutrality is (apparently) not an option.