The Social Experiment

This blog is about understanding and exploring what my Grandmothers experienced by living on the home front during World War II. I am going to be living, as best as I can, to the US rationing standards of 1945. This is a social experiment, not only to connect to my families past, but to explore new way to live environmentally and socially responsible. I hope to show, that by living as our grandparents did, we can reduce the amount of waste that our society throws out and live healthier and more simple lives.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mystery Meat

This January – I attempted to try different types of meat.  In the 1940’s meat was rationed and was hard to find.  To combat this – the government attempted to have people use less meat… and when looking at the ration points cost of meat – the unusual cuts of meat require many less points.  I felt I needed to do my part and try to eat the unusual cuts of meat to support the war effort.  How bad can it really be?

So in that mindset - I went to the story to purchase my first beef heart.  I was not sure what I would find when I went shopping.  Would there be a blood dripping pile of hearts in the meat case?  When I lived in Poland the stores had piles of fresh chicken hearts, livers, and other unidentifiable parts… but never any large animal organs.  Could I really ask at the counter, “pardon me, but do you have a heart?”

I was very surprised to find them in the frozen meat area.  They did hide them at the top of the freezer and when reaching for a heart I was almost knocked out by a frozen Kidney!  I picked out the smallest heart I could find and thought about it for a while.  I was surprised that the modern cost of Heart is half the price of ground beef… this might be the cheapest way to eat for a while.  I finally talked myself into buying it and went home.

The Heart...
I let it unthaw in the refrigerator, and prepared to cook it.  Growing up, I had eaten heart and liver when I went archery deer hunting with my dad.  I remember the heart being tender and tasting really good (I hated the liver – yuck all chalky and stuff!).  I wasn’t sure how different frozen cow heart would be.  I had a recipe to make stuffed cow heart and it looked pretty good.

Stuffed and ready to go...
I was not so confident when I took the thawed mess out of the refrigerator.  There was a muscle sitting in a bowl of blood.  The recipe said to wash out the heart and cut out all the veins and arteries.  Humm -- I should have paid more attention in science class.  I could not tell where the veins were so I cut out anything that looked hard.  I washed out the heart as best as I could then carve out space for the stuffing. 

The stuffing was similar to what I put in turkey and smelled good.  I stuffed as much stuffing as I could get into the heart then tied it shut with cooking twine.  I put it in a roasting pan and cooked it like a roast.  It smelled good as it cooked.
The Heart "Roast" done...

When it was done – I let it cool and cut medallions of meat and took them to work for lunch.  The meat looked weird and kind of smelled like a deer that has been hanging in the garage for a few days before butchering.  Even after cooking it still had that smell to it (I think it is the smell of old blood).  I ate it for two lunches then found me eating just crusts of bread for supper so I would not have to eat that heart.  It was awful!
The Medallions - I don't know how brave I am to eat it...

I am starting to realize why women are often shown working a meat grinder in cook books.  Theses mystery meats are not bad – but absolutely not good!  Next time I make heart – I will grind it up and add it to meatloaf or something to hide the flavor.  I can now say that I tried heart but I will stick to meatless Mondays instead.  That week – I did not eat any meat (the heart was my meat rations for the week) and I realized that I enjoy eating beans and peanut butter - they are much better then heart.

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