Grass-Fed Beef, the Shangri-La Diet, and the Future of Food

A recent Slate article compared beef from different sources. “We sampled rib-eye steaks from the best suppliers I could find. The meat was judged on flavor, juiciness, and tenderness and then assigned an overall preference.”

The winner: grass-fed beef, which was also the least expensive ($22/pound). The highly-convincing tasting notes:

Never have I witnessed a piece of meat so move grown men (and women). Every taster but one instantly proclaimed the grass-fed steak the winner, commending it for its “beautiful,” “fabu,” and “extra juicy” flavor (that “bursts out on every bite.” The lone holdout, who preferred the Niman Ranch steak, agreed that this steak tasted the best, but found it a tad chewy.

The grass-fed beef was probably the highest in omega-3, by the way. What the writer found wrong with grass-fed beef was lack of consistency:

One grass-fed rancher I spoke to refused to send me any steak for this article because, he said, it sometimes tastes like salmon. Restaurants and supermarkets don’t like grass-fed beef because like all slow food, grass-fed beef producers can’t guarantee consistency-it won’t look and taste exactly the same every time you buy it.

From the standpoint of the Shangri-La Diet, of course, variable flavor is a plus — a big one. I expect a similar result with other foods — the more variable foods taste better. As any engineer knows, the less you have to worry about keeping a variable (such as flavor) constant, the more you can do to maximize it.

Thanks to Clyde Adams for the link.

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