It’s October, and what this month lacks in historical feasts and gift-giving holidays it makes up for many times over as autumn’s marrow. It’s apple picking season. It’s football season. It’s sweater and waxed canvas jacket season. It’s foliage season. And guess what else?
It’s beef season.
Modern genetic research suggests that the entire stock of modern beef cattle are the descendants of a small herd of approximately 80 wild cattle — domesticated in Iran 10,500 years ago.
Cattle sleep an average of four hours a day.
A 1,000-lb steer produces upwards of 10 tons of manure per year.
The average harvesting age of a beef steer? Two years old.
Cattle chew cud approximately eight hours every day. That’s about 3,000 hours of jawing per year.
Legend has it that Boston’s winding streets are the result of the city’s growth along cow paths.
Welcome to the Month of Beef (henceforth, “MoB”), an unprecedented GP initiative where we spend an entire month wrapping our heads around beef: how and where to buy it, interesting ways to prepare it at home, the best places in America to get a plate of it. Burgers, tartare, charred ribeyes. Bull shots and brodo. Jerky, dammit.
The obvious question is, Why MoB? The U.S. consumed 25.6 billion pounds of beef in 2011. That’s roughly 5 million Ford F-150s of beef by weight. If your basic NASA space shuttle at the time of liftoff were made of beef, we’d eat more than five of them per year in the U.S. It’s a staggering quantity, and we export less than 3 billion pounds of it. We produce and eat more beef in this country than anywhere else in the world (though our per capita consumption is less than Argentina, Luxembourg, and Australia… savages).
This here is beef country. We’re not saying you should go out and eat beef every day this month, or any month for that matter, but we’re going to — and from the ashes of gastroenterological distress we’ll emerge with a greater appreciation for man and animal alike. Each story in the MoB will be color-coded from “Black and Blue” to “Scorched,” indicating its degree of intensity, complexity, and general zealousness for life. Roughly.
We are your Virgil and your Beatrice: Welcome to the Month of Beef.