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Meat Me in the Middle

October 16, 2018

So Mrs. Fussy and I have been having an ongoing, but mostly minor disagreement on meat.

Let’s just say that she would like us to eat less meat. My position isn’t contrarian. I don’t think we should eat more meat. But I’m comfortable with the amount of meat that we’re eating. Which is the subject of another minor disagreement.

Because I say we’re really not eating much meat at all. To which, Mrs. Fussy will gladly list all the meals in which meat has played a role. However, I will counter with the fact that it played only a minor role as a flavoring agent, and not as the protein at the center of the plate.

All of this makes me insatiably curious… and hungry… but mostly curious. My hope is that you will be able to help us make some sense of all this. I know that this isn’t a statistically sound sample, nor is it particularly representative of anything beyond readers of this blog. However it will be a start.

If you’ll indulge me, I have a couple of questions, that I hope some people will answer.

The thing is that once upon a time, I used to actually have real market research for questions like this. And I remember that the most popular lunch in America was…

Anybody care to venture a guess?

Well, in this great American land of hot dogs, hamburgers, and such, the most popular lunch was the humble ham sandwich. Kids can bring them to school, you can pick one up at the corner deli, and construction workers can fill their lunch pails with a mess of these pink and salty morsels. It help that you can eat it with your hands, and it tastes good at room temperature, even it if may be better grilled with cheese and slathered with a bechamel sauce.

The ham sandwich question is oddly specific. But I am curious on average how many days a week you would say cold cuts play a role in your midday meal?

That could be a deli sandwich at a deli, one that you packed at home, or even some meaty slices that are chopped up into a salad. Just because you’re going gluten free or paleo doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little lunchmeat.

So let’s talk dinner, because that’s interesting too. Last night, once again, I made the family favorite pasta of infinite blandness. It’s actually starting to grow on me. But there’s no meat in there. A little pecorino and reggiano with plenty of aleppo chilis and black pepper keep it interesting for me. Soon I may start supplementing it with chicken broth, because we’re about to enter stock season.

But how how many days a week would you say your dinner involves a large piece of land-based meat in the center of the plate?

Seafood is a separate issue. It doesn’t matter if it’s in or out of the home. I’m curious about an average week. In this case large doesn’t have to mean something our Paleolithic ancestors might have consumed. I’m actually just talking large in terms of nutritionist-suggested serving sizes. For context that would mean a portion of meat the size of a deck of playing cards, or larger.

So two ounces of sausage crumbled into some winter squash soup doesn’t count. But a meatball on a pile of pasta most likely would. It’s hard to find small meatballs these days.

As long as we’re asking, how about breakfast meat? How many days a week do you enjoy a full portion of bacon, sausage, ham, corned beef hash, scrapple, pastrami, or other meaty goodness in the morning?

My hunch is that this is the lowest number, and that breakfast has taken a bigger hit than all the other meals as people are far busier these days than ever. Plus people are skipping breakfast.

Soon, Mrs. Fussy and I will report back our own weekly estimates. Or if she’s not willing to share, I will. But for me, it will be especially challenging since the foods I eat for work aren’t typical of my regular diet. However since those events happen with some regularity… maybe they are? I’ll have to check with a data scientist, or at least get Mrs. Fussy to buy in to the approach.

In the meantime, thanks for playing. I can’t wait to see if anyone comes forward to share. Please know, this isn’t about judgement. It’s about satisfying some curiosity.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2018 9:52 am

    We probably eat more meat than some people and definitely more than you guys.
    I like eating high protein, low carb and I’m not that into beans so that leaves meat.
    Last night’s portion was small because it was worked into chicken pot pies but the night before was roast chicken.
    Tonight’s dinner is Tuscan sausage, potato and white bean soup but it’s very sausage-y. I used 9 full links for one pot of soup (a gallon?).
    I’m not working and so I have time to Bahe a real breakfast and I’d say I have Applegate Farms turkey, chicken or pork sausage 3-4 times a week with my eggs. They’re relatively lean and not too high in calories and they boost my protein intake.
    We used to eat a lot of deli meat because my partner used to take sandwiches to work every day but I’ve switched him to salads with grilled chicken for lunch. We still get sandwiches from Roma’s or Putnam once a week or once every other week.

  2. October 16, 2018 10:44 am

    Yeah, Roma’s. If we didn’t have Roma’s my lunch estimates would be different. As it is:

    –we probably eat land based meat (I’ll include chicken, duck, ortolans etc, which are technically air-based because they have wings) 5 dinners a week; fish 1 dinner, pure veg 1 dinner. But the meat is a smaller piece than in olden days and is dwarfed by the size of the sides… it’s hardly in the center of the plate. Last night I grilled a 15 oz strip steak and cut it into three serving portions.

    –deli meat for me and my 2 boys probably 5 times a week, because we love deli meat. Their mom eats no meat at lunch.

    –we are not much into sit down breakfasts but when we do we like to throw in a bit of bacon or sausage or country ham. This happens 1-2 times a week.

  3. Ewan permalink
    October 16, 2018 11:09 am

    Breakfast: easy, never.
    Lunch would vary very widely by member of family. For me, 4 days per week (paleo salads from 9 Miles East, chicken each time). For others, anywhere zero to five.
    Dinner… 2-3 on average?

  4. -R. permalink
    October 16, 2018 11:12 am

    Cold cuts at lunch: perhaps once a week, infrequently twice.

    Dinner of land-based meats (including poultry but excluding fish): four nights per week, usually. One night of fish, one night of purely vegetable-based food, one night based around carbohydrates which could include vegetables, but not meat. All meat dishes served with a vegetable side and or salad, and a starch (rice, potato, etc) for her, but not me (generally).

    Breakfast meat: I usually have fruit for breakfast, but I consume breakfast meats in the morning only a few times a year. Now, breakfast meat (namely bacon) during lunch is a fairly regular occurrence, because really, who doesn’t love bacon?

    And a PS to Mr. Dave: stop being a moody spazz, and get back to making/eating weird stuff and writing about it. The RFSoUNYis a treasure trove of culinary oddity, and should be immortalized in the annals of the interwebs.

  5. Ryan H permalink
    October 16, 2018 12:08 pm

    Lunch coldcuts: Hardly ever. This used to be daily for me (I love a good sandwich) but I’ve given them up at lunch for leftovers or salads.

    Meat-based Dinner: Once a week, at most. I have been eating a lot of fish, but a piece of meat is a treat. Eggs are more common for me.

    Breakfast meat: Strangely, this might be most common for me. On Sunday (and sometimes Saturdays) my breakfast will usually include bacon or corned beef hash.

  6. albanylandlord permalink
    October 16, 2018 2:56 pm

    Cold cuts, I have cut way back to about once a week. Mmmm Liverwurst.

    Meat Dinner – We are big fans of hunks of meat. Though they are smaller, more varied, and somewhat less frequent than before this is still 4x / week. Whoops, only land based? Sausage, steak, giant meatballs… Probably twice a week.

    Breakfast Meat. I almost never have a “full portion”. That’s once every two weeks and usually at a diner. But I have a small serving of meat , like two pieces of bacon or a slice of ham or pepperoni probably 3x / week, usually on an egg sandwich.

  7. Matt permalink
    October 16, 2018 10:19 pm

    Lunch for me (42 year old cis man who works full time) is mostly leftovers but will include lunch meat once a weekish if I don’t bring anything from home and don’t get fried chicken or some other meat based lunch that’s not a sandwich. Dinner involves much more meat – probably at the center of the plate 5 days a week. Breakfast meats come up very rarely at home but always if we go out. Per week? Maybe .5 days a week? How’s that?

  8. October 19, 2018 2:52 am

    I really love meat. And lots of it too. Not into some kinds, but mostly anything any time.
    BUT I’ve been trying to live and eat more consciously. Step by step, changing my diet, slowly.
    I try to eat vegan for a day once or twice a week. When I eat meat, it’s clean and conscious. I buy a whole panceta (bacon) and some sausages and dry meats and pork fat and perhaps a chicken from a small butcher/farmer in Croatia that consciously feeds his animals.
    I stopped buying mass produced and supermarket meats. Herefor I don’t eat luncheon meats and (commercially produced) cold cuts anymore, I eat the panceta instead and lots of eggs.
    I also try to trick myself and it works! I use porkfat in a vegan dish, I taste the meat while it isn’t there (don’t worry, I don’t feed vegans with that, Just myself).
    So, dinner: from 6-7x a week I now eat a piece of meat 2-3x a week.
    Perhaps its an idea to compromis by only eating organic and “clean” meat? Meat that you actually know where iT comes from? No commercially made sausages, make your own?

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