The moment European settlers arrived in North America, they began transforming the land into a meat-eater’s paradise. Long before revolution turned colonies into nation, Americans were eating meat on a scale the old world could neither imagine nor provide: an average European was lucky to see meat once a week, while even a poor American man put away about two hundred pounds a year.
According to the catalog copy (ahem) (Is this plagiarism?) (I’m kidding!), the book leads readers from that colonial paradise to the urban meat-making factories of the nineteenth century to the hyperefficient packing plants of the late twentieth century. From Swift and Armour to Tyson, Cargill, and ConAgra. From the cattle bonanza of the 1880s to modern feedlots. From agribusiness to today’s “local” meat suppliers and organic countercuisine.
Along the way, it explains how Americans’ carnivorous demands shaped urban landscapes, midwestern prairies, and western ranges. How/when/why the American way of meat shifted from source of pride to axis of controversy.
Yeah, okay. Enough of the catalogish chatter. You get the picture, right? The rest is yada. But if you’ve a mind, take a gander at this SHORT explanation of how the meat history book idea found me. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
(But — cool! — it doubles as a historical record of my state of mind and brain c. summer, early autumn 2006. Weird days indeed, friends. [And chops to the digital age for making that piece of the historical record possible and for preserving it.])
Even better, read the entire Introduction of the book here. (Neato keeno, eh?)
THANK YOU FOR READING THIS. Readers rock. So do writers. You rock, I rock, we all rock.
Oops. Absurdity slip. Your prize for reading this far: Please regard this last wisp of blog entry as the true afterword of the book:
Author, recently finished with massive, seven-year project and trying to unwind, giggles at self, somewhat maniacally, on her own blog. [I believe commas in previous are correct. I dread the day on which complex comma-use expires, dodo-like, crushed by competitors in a tumultuous ecosystem.]