Journal, Winter 2007, Children’s Health II

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Wise Traditions, Volume 8, Number 4

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President’s Message: A Tallow Story

by Sally Fallon Morell

I grew up in an era that preceded the widespread demonization of fatty beef, and it was my mother’s custom to prepare a rib roast of beef every so often for Sunday dinner. Biting into the layer of succulent fat that surrounded the roast—golden brown and generously rubbed with salt and pepper—stands out as one of my fondest childhood memories. The fat that dripped into the pan buoyed up the Yorkshire pudding and the hard white fat of cold roast beef, served on Monday evening, provided yet another taste treat for hungry palates.

Today the rib roasts at the meat counter are denuded of their delicious fat; at Whole Foods Market I have pleaded with the butcher to give me a roast clothed in a good quarter-to-half inch of tallow, but all I get is surprised looks and the following explanation: “The fat is cut off before the roasts get to the store.”

The farmer who supplies me with milk has been working on getting more fat into his pasture-raised beef, and he promised me suitably fat-covered four-ribber after the fall butchering. Imagine my dismay to unwrap the roast and find it covered with a mere film of fat. “The processing plant cut it off,” was the sheepish explanation, “I can’t get them to understand they need to leave the fat on the roast.”

The reason fat needs to be removed from the roast, say our nutritional gurus, is because it causes heart disease, cancer and many other unpleasant conditions—never mind the studies showing that the type of fat in beef lowers cholesterol and bolsters the immune system. But a short article in the November, 2007 issue of The Stockman Grassfarmer indicates that our fat-phobia may actually be generated by economic forces, not health concerns. Tallow is an essential ingredient in soap—not just the bar of soap on your bathroom counter, but also detergents and shampoos. And now, beef tallow is being used in the production of biodiesel—Tyson Foods recently announced that it plans to shift about a quarter of its animal fat output to the production of this alternative fuel, a move that is putting the financial squeeze on domestic soap manufacture.

The question we need to ask is, who benefits? Are the butchers who slice the fat off our roasts doing so out of concern for our health, or because they can get a better price for their tallow elsewhere? And are the sanctimonious lobbyists who have managed to remove whole milk from children’s lunches really trying to save our young people from disease, or are they marching to the tune of milk industry executives, who make a better profit from butter fat when they add it to ice cream?

Does the lowfat movement actually represent the sacrifice of our children on the altar of materialism? Something to ponder as we celebrate the holiday season.

One Response to Journal, Winter 2007, Children’s Health II

  1. Darcy Lane says:

    can I purchase a copy of this volume?

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© 2015 The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts.