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Squashing Beef: Epicurious And America’s Favorite Red Meat (Rebroadcast)

Cuts of beef are seen at Stachowski Market in the neighborhood of Georgetown in Washington, DC.
Cuts of beef are seen at Stachowski Market in the neighborhood of Georgetown in Washington, DC.

Epicurious, a major online food magazine, announced that it will no longer publish recipes including beef on its website in an effort to promote more sustainable cooking.

From the company’s written statement:

“Almost 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally come from livestock (and everything involved in raising it); 61 percent of those emissions can be traced back to beef. Cows are 20 times less efficient to raise than beans and roughly three times less efficient than poultry and pork. It might not feel like much, but cutting out just a single ingredient—beef—can have an outsize impact on making a person’s cooking more environmentally friendly.”

Fans of both beef and Epicurious have predictably pushed back against the company’s decision.

Washington Post columnist James Hohmann writes:

The editors noted “there are problems” with the production of virtually “every other ingredient,” including chicken and seafood, so “almost no choice is perfect.” But humans must eat. Blocking new recipes insults the intelligence of amateur chefs. Why not add a disclaimer explaining the potential climate impacts of beef consumption? Or run articles encouraging consumers to eat less beef? Or offer tips on buying more sustainable beef?

Epicurious is one organization. And American beef isn’t going anywhere. But what does this move — and the response — say about the red meat’s role in the U.S. diet and psyche?

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