Mark Rhoades

Mark Rhoades

We’re in the middle of the best season of the year: Grilling season. So it was ironic that I came across an article about the need to move away from consuming animal meat, and how plant-based meat is the future. The no-meat believers have a list of reasons why real meat should go away. Among other things, they blame meat for heart disease, diabetes and cancer, but mostly they say it’s about solving climate change.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe climate change is happening. How much of it is man-made and how much is a natural cycle of nature is almost impossible to know. But I really can’t believe that a herd of cattle quietly grazing in a pasture in Nebraska is more damaging to the environment than the thousands of vehicles crowded bumper to bumper, pumping their exhaust into the atmosphere in downtown Los Angeles.

We’ve been having some fun here at the Enterprise with our first ever ugly grill contest. It’s been funny to see some of the dilapidated grills and associated comments that have been entered in the contest, in the hopes of winning a shiny new one to replace “old rusty.” But no matter what kind of grill you have, it just doesn’t seem right if you’re throwing something on the grill that’s made from peas, mung bean and rice — with beet juice to make it look like it bleeds — instead of a classic, Nebraska 100 percent real beef steak.

Of course, real beef isn’t cheap. The going rate for a good ribeye steak in our area is about $15 a pound. But, did you know that the ribeye price is actually less than half as expensive as beef jerky which goes for almost $36 a pound? Or if you’ve got Warren Buffett’s money, you may want to opt for a delicious out of this world expensive cut of Wagyu beef for a mere $150 a pound.

I’m not saying that people who like to go meatless are wrong. More power to them. I suppose it’s possible someday we all might be forced to take the no meat pledge. That would be a sad day indeed. I know several vegetarians and vegans, and while they are all great people, they really don’t seem to be that much healthier than those of us who partake in cow, pig and chicken.

The founder of Beyond Meat, Ethan Brown, who actually grew up on a farm, continues to try to duplicate everything about meat with plant substitutes. When asked about his own eating habits, he proudly says although he’s been a vegan for 16 years, he will still taste test meat, but then spits it out. What a waste.

But for me, there’s no dining experience much finer than throwing that nice thick ribeye on the grill, hearing the sizzle, inhaling the aroma, and giving it a slow chew to really enjoy the flavor. I have to admit, I haven’t tried the new no-meat burger, but I probably will some day. But for now, give me my steak. I’ll take it medium rare, and I guarantee I won’t spit it out.

Mark Rhoades is publisher of Enterprise Media Group.

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