Nose to Tail

foodonastumpSeptember 12, 2013

I almost blatantly hijacked cookie8's braising thread but fortunately caught myself just in time! My post was in response to dcarch's comment:

"We basically waste 1/2 of an animal each time we slaughter one."

Dcarch (or anyone), do you know that as a fact and/or do you know how our percentage compares with the rest of the world?

I tried to find these stats a while back, with no success. As just a guess, I find 50% or anything close very difficult to believe. Sure we may have limited cuts in our butcher case, but does that mean the rest isn't used in less obvious places? Off-hand I'm thinking of pet food, sausage, commercial stock/broth, exported to other nations (or even ethnic neighborhoods within our nation) where it might be more in demand, etc. I wouldn't consider any of these options a waste. And with these options I have a hard time believing the industry throws out much of what could be sold. It would be nice if more of it ended up in the meat case though.

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I'm in agreement with you, foas. If there is a market, it will be sold. I bet even the bones are ground and used in garden products, etc. I just did a quick Google and here is as close as I could come to a chart, from Alberta.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dressage Percentages

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 1:05PM
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I was surprised at how little waste there was when I bought a kid goat.

I watched as the butcher cut up the goat and packaged it for me. After all was said an done, there was probably less than a pound of scraps.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 1:37PM
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Ann, the head, hide, and hoofs probably weigh more than a pound. The head and hide were probably used though.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 2:07PM
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I'm sorry Tricia, I was referring to the waste of the usuable parts. The scraps that were cut off as the kid was cut into chops, roasts, racks, etc... I know that some will do something with the head, but not me. :-)


    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 3:34PM
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Well the 59% in the link isn't far from 50%. And I'd expect some of that 59% goes to waste, too. It doesn't say what portion of the 41% is really just thrown out. I'm not overly familiar with eating cow head, but at a minimum the tongue use used, right?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 3:36PM
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Ann - and that's a big part of my question: how much is waste - as in completely not used - in this country vs the rest of the world.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Ann, my German-Russian relatives routinely boiled down a pig's head for head cheese. I don't know if something similar is done with other animals but Annie will know when she see's this thread.

FOAS, the tongue is for sure used. I saw Guy on DD&D eating tongue at a deli. He didn't look happy but he was eating! hahaha I'm guessing the cheeks are also used in some US ethnic communities? Seems the hides also would not be waste? Doesn't the hoof contain gelatin? Probably used in dog foods?? I "think" the early western US settlers used the hooves for gelatin? Oops, just Googled Jello and they say the hoof does not contain collagen. Jello uses only hides and bones.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 3:59PM
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Just to give you an idea, parts of the animal used by many cultures:

Brains are used, intestines are used, marrow of course, tendons, spleen, lung, testicles, stomach, -------- everything, including blood.

We throw away everything except meat, we even throw away some cuts of meat.

Yes, I use all parts of the animal, not for moral or economic reasons, because they all taste good. I consider myself to be a very lucky person that I am not grossed out by anything that is edible.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 4:32PM
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While not on every American table as WFD the products you mentioned are used in the US...

Stomach (tripe - yes, used in the US)
Testicles (yes, Rocky Mountain Oysters)
Tendons (yes, commonly served in Cantonese restaurants and since we have a lot of Chinese restaurants in the US there must be some market)
Spleen (well, I've not eaten spleen but had no trouble finding recipes so somebody must)
Lung (yes, dog food)
Intestines (yes, sausage)
Blood (yes, blood sausage)


    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 5:37PM
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Tricia, My mom use to make head cheese. Wasn't my favourite.. She also cooked tongue. Again not one of my favourites. Although I've eaten both.

I do love sweetbreads.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 7:26PM
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I forgot, I also buy pork skin and make cracklins for snacks.

I posted a beef tendon dish here sometime ago and was told that it was disgusting and was not that much different from rabbit poop, and rotting dead birds. Too funny!

I post that because it was supposedly a folk remedy for arthritis and it was a delicious dish. I thought some members here might be interested.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Beef cheeks are slow braised
Intestines are used for sausage casing
Offal can be eaten "as is" or used in deli products (think hot dogs)
Hides can be tanned for leather
Pig ears and cow hooves are used as canine treats
Oxen and cow tails make wonderful stews
Chicken feet make great stock
Whole heads are roasted or cooked down for head cheese or a sulze.
Udders make haggis
Some cultures like the eyes too.
Bones make stock as well

Anyone know of a use for the teeth from animals?

If it is true that 50 % or there abouts is wasted, we are spoiled and wasteful.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:37PM
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I have eaten Chitterlings in restaurants and in places I had traveled to.

I am surprised to see that in Shoprite supermarket here. But I would not want to buy them and cook them. My neighborhood is not exactly an immigrant area. I am not sure if the chintterlings are actually meant for people who want to make their own cat food or dog food.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Oh, my, goodness! I grew up on a farm and we butchered our own cows and pigs. My mothered would make what we called pig's foot jelly/jello. She flavored it with chocolate! I loved that stuff. Now it makes me gag to even think about it! :). So what made the stuff congeal?
Nothing was wasted in our family!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:52PM
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I have a hard time believing that the organs, offal, connective tissue, and bones aren't ground up and used in pet food or fertilizer or commercial stock or other unglamorous applications.

In a world where it is profitable to pressure blast scraps and bits from skeletons to create "pink slime", how can it not be profitable to throw everything else into an industrial grinder?

Some googling turns up

"Gelatin is derived from pork skins, pork, horses, and cattle bones, or split cattle hides"

Animal by-product of every type is used for pet food and commercial animal feed

Bones (including fish) and feathers are used in fertilizers like bone meal and fish emulsion

I can well believe that in the US, people eat only half the cow or whatever, but I suspect that the great majority of the animal gets used for something.

This article says that cow by-products fetch 13 cents/lb, which if true means clearly it is used for something profitable.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 10:28PM
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"-----I can well believe that in the US, people eat only half the cow or whatever, but I suspect that the great majority of the animal gets used for something.---"

The point is, to use people food to feed dogs and cats is wasteful.

To kill twice as many cows so you can feed you dog? In areas where people eat most of the cow, their dogs are not starving for lack of cow meat.

Of course we can make food into fertilizer. Fish heads can be very tasty food or very good fertilizer. So using porterhouse steak for fertilizer is not wasteful?


This post was edited by dcarch on Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 23:13

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 10:46PM
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If we (Americans) ate more of the cow, as much as some other cultures, how much more would we be eating, in percent or in pounds? Heart, liver, tongue, etc - is that another 15 lb? The bones, hide, or hooves, aren't really edible, after all.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 1:50AM
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"The point is, to use people food to feed dogs and cats is wasteful."

You've made comments similar to this before. And, as then, it irritates me. What exactly would you feed your dog?

Dogs are carnivores. They eat meat. In the wild, a pack of dogs would take down a weakened cow or a calf same as a pack of wolves. Why is it somehow "wasteful" for them to eat beef they haven't killed themselves?

Our pets have always received a diet as nutritious as I could provide, same as other family members. I hope you are not a pet owner. :(


    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 7:30AM
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I think "wasteful" is a subjective term if used to mean anything other than that which could be used but is thrown out. Is it wasteful to make a leather wallet when that leather could be made into a coat to keep someone warm?

Ask any vet and they'll probably tell you the typical dog food does not contain enough meat for a healthy diet. If feeding dogs properly is wasteful, then is having pet dogs wasteful? That's not a position I would take, considering the psychological and physical benefits they bring billions of people.

The above are just examples to explain my definition of wasteful - I hope not to derail the conversation with debate over either point.

This post was edited by foodonastump on Fri, Sep 13, 13 at 8:00

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 7:46AM
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Actually I am very pleased with our eating habits in this country. I think we are doing very well. I am less of concern with meat wasting than with eating for good health. I am a firm believer that a diversified diet leads to good health, physically and mentally.

We are living longer because of better chemistry, not because of better health, and that is not a happy situation. Hospitals are very busy, drug stores are doing well. Even every supermarket now has a drug store.

I don't blame or insult anyone's poor eating habits. We eat the way our culture tells us, and what are commonly available in the stores. It is unreasonable to expect anyone to change hundreds of years of culture in one life time. But we have done very well, it was not too long ago that there was no chicken feet, tofu, bok choy, etc. in the stores.

With internet, blogs, food forums and TV food show so popular, we will see drastic changes soon.

Part answer to John's question:

"On average, a 1,000 pound steer will only weigh approximately 61% of itâÂÂs live weight once it makes it to the rail. This approximate 39% loss during the slaughter and dressing"


    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 8:26AM
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Tricia, "Dogs and cows" is just a symbolic example, I wasn't going to go into the heated discussion we had here regarding "pick Slime" which resulted in 15 million more cows needed to be killed every year, because the justification that "But it is not wasted, the pink slime can be used as dog food".

Let's not go too far into arguments which will lead to no where. Unless I am living on a different planet, it is my understanding, and perhaps we can agree, that it is a well known fact that we waste a lot of food.

Yes, we can agree that we each define "wasteful" differently.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 8:46AM
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It's hard to evaluate what any percentage means without knowing industry terms and exactly what it means. Does dressed weight include the hide - which is used - or not. Tricia's link specifically said it did not include the head, parts of which we know are used.

That's why I originally phrased my question as what percentage do we use versus other countries.

Dcarch - re pink slime: I believe a while back you discussed how stock made with just bones and no meat is flavorless. So I'm not sure why bones with some meat scrap on it is not sold for human consumption. (Or is it?) I know I would buy it. Bones fetch a decent price at the market, and I'd be inclined to buy more if there were some meat on them. I can't be alone. Commercial stock is typically of poor quality because of the low amount of meat used in production. Surely improving on that would not be wasteful?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 9:13AM
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FOAS, you are in NYC area like me. Just a few days ago, in Shoprite supermarket I saw Beef rib bones for $0.90 a lb.

I have never seen that before in any store. They are like short ribs, which are around $5.00 a lb, but with only about 1/2 the meat.

I bought 6 lbs, pressure cooked without water, got about 1 1/2 cup of pure gold liquid, the meat, which got very tender, was removed from the bones and made into absolutely delicious stew with home grown tomatoes.

The bones, with no meat, but had a lot of marrow, went back into the pressure cooker with a quart of water, and I had very nice beef stock.

The totally spent bones went into my garden shredder, and pulverized into my compost pile for next year's tomatoes.

Waste? :-)

i went back to the store, no more rib bones. Asked the manager; no they will not be getting anymore soon because no one buys them.

So I bought beef neck bones, $2.49 a lb? Plenty of meat to made what I did above.


This post was edited by dcarch on Fri, Sep 13, 13 at 10:41

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 9:41AM
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Interesting, could be a matter of the market. I wouldn't expect to find that at a normal chain supermarket, but on the other hand marrow bones, soup bones, chicken feet and carcasses are always available at Fairway so someone besides me must buy it. It's not particularly cheap, either. I get annoyed at how much I have to spend for chicken scraps.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 10:29AM
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I do find it a bit frustrating to see all the waste. Probably more in a middle/upper class type of market/deli decent fish monger/butcher. Not a chain market. Most of that comes from a big warehouse that does use everything as every penny counts. What we call waste is moved on for slime and other processed foods.
Silly and odd that a market like Fairway does not offer fish body for stock. When i asked they looked at me like i had two heads...he glanced into the garbage. I said i am still shopping and will stop back by for a head and back for stock and he shook his head. (?!) I cannot believe out of 500 or more thanksgiving shoppers that day that a dozen or so would not request such a thing.
My most delightful market that we frequent, while buying some shrimp, and i was watching a very large snapper being filleted, i asked for the body and he was delighted to pack it up...all 10lbs full of meats and giant head and made such good stock. Not many cook this way anymore i suppose.
My local International market shut down last year. A single family grocery is still hanging on but i fear it is suffering. Small outer edge frozen section unlike Stop-n-Shops and ShopRite with horrendous meat selection and massive frozen foods. (i would never buy from those places). In NY we have many options for honorable organic quality less and buy quality. We are losing an elder generation that wants the stock bones and the marrow and the hoofers. Keep asking, as i do. (though my freezer is full i can't believe so much is tossed).
I'm just happy to have the rich fish stock for the winter and veg and smoked stock.
-cut the tail off for stock and the head. The middle will have enough meat simmered 5 min for fish cakes. The bones are not pins like salmon. Easy to save for cakes or fish burgers. It falls off the in-tacked bone in minutes. To have a nice fillet for market a large part of the fillet needs to be removed that had a boney bit. A crap load of meat remains...from one fish, two fillets on a med size cod, a lb of meat is left behind. (it is free! tossed out) We pay, as consumer, to have a bone-free fillet.
The cod skin, no scales, cut into strips, twisted and dried in the oven is a healthy treat for pups eat better than most humans , : )
All fish body goes into the garden or compost. 150 years of potatoes in my front yard needs a boost for a future crop of greens.
Teach your kids and your neighbor kids real food. Composting. Why am i the only one in my neighborhood that composts? We have one tiny bag monday morn. We don't need twice a week pick-up. Our worm composter eats our fiber junk mail...and i am not a hippie!, lol.
Haha, off to start the grill from fallen storm branches to cook dinner. (off my high horse, lol)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 3:41PM
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It might come as a shock to realize that there is a segment of the US population who has never cooked chicken containing bones so I think that would be a good starting point.

I was thinking of this thread when I opened the restaurant page of a local newspaper today to see that multiple ads listed stuffed pig stomachs as their weekend special. That's a sure sign that Fall has arrived.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 4:37PM
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On topic article showed up on my Comcast homepage a few minutes ago.

The article notes the Japanese take shark fins and then toss the rest overboard.


Here is a link that might be useful: Food Banned in US

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 4:46PM
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Chinese, not Japanese. I'm glad you mentioned it. In a previous discussion it was noted that leaving the sharks to die in the water is no less cruel than leaving any fish to die in a cooler. But, incredibly, I never thought to enter waste into the conversation.

Sleevendog - I want to be you when (if) I grow up.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 5:14PM
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Some of you might enjoy this blogger's experience at Chris Cosentino's "Nose to Tail" annual dinner at Incanto restaurant in San Francisco:

Here is a link that might be useful: 2013 Annual Offal Dinner

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 5:54PM
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beachlily z9a

If I put vegetables or fish bones in the compost, the racoons would have a field day. Then they would trash the bromeliads, the daylilies, and dig in the yard. They are greedy. I don't want to do anything to attract them to my property--they come regularly anyway. I've sprayed with fish oil, and the damage that occurred that night convinced me never to do it again. I've put organic fertilizer in the daylily beds, and the next morning 3/4 of the plants have been dug up because the fertilizer had some sort of fish residue in it. I can't afford to feed the racoons.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 6:12PM
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I do agree that we are wasteful as a nation, and I know several young people who "don't eat chicken with bones". I'm told that everything must be handheld now so it doesn't interrupt texting. Ahem.

There is little waste when I slaughter animals. Chicken feet are used in stock, as are the hearts and gizzards. I enjoy chicken liver very much, so those are not wasted. Cheeks become stew meat if beef, jowl bacon if pork. The man who slaughters my animals takes the hides for tanning and I use the tongue and heart in sausage, the liver for dog food (although I no longer have a dog, both of my daughters have them, and so they are happy). I haven't figured out what to do with wet chicken feathers. Yet.

FOAS, I get the "soup bones" from my processor and they are always very meaty. I have the shanks cut (and the pork shanks get smoked) and all bones that are "trimmed" for hamburger get used to make stock which I can. There is usually enough meat on the bones to make a very substantial pot of soup or beef pot pie. I'm always astounded when I see bones with virtually no meat at all marketed as "soup bones".

I work too hard to grow my food to waste very much of it, I can find a use for nearly everything.

Our waste, though, isn't limited to animal products. How many people eat the tops of the beets? Make jelly from the apple peel and core? Throw the stale bread into the oven for croutons or the food processor for bread crumbs? Use that last bit of mashed potatoes to thicken soup? (OK, that's a stretch, there are NEVER leftover mashed potatoes in my house, I love 'em) Toss the vegetable scraps (or meat scraps/poultry carcasses) into the freezer for making stock later?

It does not appear that income level has any impact on our wasteful habits. Some of it may be cultural but my kids grew up arguing over who got the giblets from the Thanksgiving turkey and now neither of them would eat them, barring near starvation.

sleevendog, composting right now is very simple. All edible food scraps go into a bucket with a lid in the garage. Mama pig and her 10 babies love nearly everything, the chickens are always fighting for their share and even the apple peels that don't make it into jelly are fed to the cattle and horses, as well as things like corn husks and cobs, cores from lettuce heads, etc. Everything else compostable goes into the "pit", which is actually a big pile of cow manure. It gets added to, bulldozed over, moved around for about a year, then it gets used on fields and gardens. My neighbors regularly ask for a "bucket" full. That's a tractor bucket, not a hand held pail, LOL. So, although they are appreciative of my "black gold", only other farmers even think of composting, the rest do not.

As I cannot change society or even my own family, I can only do the best I can in my own life. That's all any of us can do, in spite of preaching or argument.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:21PM
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FOAS' "----it was noted that leaving the sharks to die in the water is no less cruel than leaving any fish to die in a cooler. ----"

That's why I like my position in the food chain relative to fish.

OTOH, we don't do too well relative to little germs. If only we can turn little germs into vegetarians.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:45PM
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This is a timely topic. Last weekend we hosted a pig roast and many of twenty and thirty something's refused to view the pig but ate the carved meat with gusto! There was very little waste as my cousins and I are frugal and harvested every bit of meat, bones and skin. The cheek meat was amazing!

We also compost, save bones and scraps for stock, use stale bread for croutons and bread crumbs, etc. I love making apple core and peel jelly. I often add mint from the garden for apple mint jelly.

Just recently we had apple slices leftover from the white sangria. They were soaked with sangria and made a marvelous apple crisp.

Waste not, want not....

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 11:04AM
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