Where’s The Beef?

Oct 30

It’s right here, folks, and yours to enjoy—guilt free!

I guess by now you’ve heard the news: red meat may not be as bad for you as we were led to believe.

It may not be bad at all!

Hot off the presses, if not the grill, comes this announcement:

A new set of guidelines published Sept. 30 in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that many people may not actually need to reduce their consumption of red meat out of a concern for their health. 

“For most people who enjoy eating meat, the uncertain health benefits of cutting down are unlikely to be worth it,” said researcher Bradley C.  Johnston, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University and one of the authors of the recommendations.

Or as the headline in the New York Times stated:

“Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.”

Okay, the Times  doesn’t say that eating red meat is good for you, it just raises “questions about the longstanding dietary guidelines urging people to eat less red meat” and other dietary advice from the medical/quasi-medical professionals.

So as far as dietary no-nos go, another one bites the dust. Along with eggs, chocolate (at least the dark kind), coffee and numerous foods that we were told would kill us if we even thought about them.

This new pronouncement is a variation of that perfect line from Annie Hall where Woody (AKA Max) tells us that “Everything our parents said was good is bad. Sun, milk, red meat . . . college.”

And it wasn’t just our parents, it’s all those pesky “experts” who are bound and determined to take every last pleasure away from us— or at least make us feel guilty while indulging them.

A few years ago, my brother and I (who have deep and insightful discussions about the relative qualities of certain brands of ice dream) decided that although Edys Slow Churned mint chocolate chip was to die for (literally, we thought), it was packed with chemicals. So we turned to other sources, like Talenti, which is actually gelato, and has only basic ingredients like cream and sugar and nothing you can’t pronounce. Haagen Dazs is real too, except for the phony name which was meant to sound Danish by the founders who lived in Brooklyn. It’s also more expensive than Edys.

About a week ago I had a real jones for Edys, got some, ate a fair amount, and told a friend about my qualms. He said that at this point (we are both NOT in the flower of our youth, although still pretty cute, she said modestly) what difference does it make? Indeed. After all those years (no numbers please) of ingesting lord knows what, what harm will a little Edys do?

Okay, okay, I get it that if the younger folk among us, who will have many years of eating all those food-like substances rather than the real thing, want to go vegetarian or vegan, more power to them. I do buy organic eggs and free range chicken and all the other stuff that makes me feel virtuous—as long as it tastes good.

But for many years I have been perhaps overly careful about red meat. And the thing is that while my friendly neighborhood tavern, Molly’s, makes the best hamburgers in town (and this is a mighty big town), I often order something else. I have limited myself to burgers once every month, or sometimes every two weeks, or god forfend, once every week.

Now I’m wondering.


Why did I believe all those experts, not to mention the medical profession—you know, those wonderful people who once brought us leeches and blood letting.

All right, I have to admit that eating too many hamburgers, which usually come with French fries or onion rings (rather than salad or veggies), could be hazardous to your health—in the sense that they could make you fat. And fat ain’t good. Bad for your cholesterol level as well, if you have a problem with that. And for those of us in the aforementioned age category, red meat tends to be harder to digest than things like fish or chicken. You don’t need indigestion on top of your other ills. (See Medical Whack-a-Mole if you need reminding of what they might be.)

Anyway. I’m going to Molly’s tonight. And guess what I’m going to order. Although, if anyone else in Manhattan has heard the news, the place will be packed.

Lucky for me, I became a regular long before the news about red meat was a gleam in the eye of any food authority. I’ll get a seat, maybe even a booth. And, thanks to Bradley C. Johnson of Dalhousie University, wherever the hell that is, and other brave pioneers like himself, man, will I enjoy that burger. And the mint chocolate chip won’t be bad either.

I know, I know, no one is saying that sugar is good for you. Yet. But maybe someday, someone will tell me that, if only in heaven. Or in my dreams.

And I’d have no beef with that.





  1. When you get to be a certain age and start getting diseases ( some of which you haven’t even heard of) they keep giving you blood tests which depletes your iron level… and what’s the best way to combat that? RED MEAT. Last week after multiple procedures (don’t you just hate that word?) I was craving a big thick steak. So even before I read about the new findings I succumbed. I feel soo much better. If only I had some Edy’s to follow it up my evening would have been perfect.

    • I like the phrase “a certain age.” It’s so much better than “senior citizen” or god forfend, “old.” (Forget I even said that!) And doesn’t age, certain or not, give us a little leeway as to what we eat? Surely a little.

  2. Oh Chief
    I know I read this somewhere that the martini that you order as soon as you sit down at Mollys neutralizes the beef patty, fries, rings and sugar. I will swear by it and I’m sticking to it.

  3. Jennifer /

    Good post. Eggs and red meat (aka whole foods from nature) didn’t kill our forebears, they won’t kill us either. Now the GMO grains, sugar, hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup and and all those man made unpronounceable ingredients – different story. Eat defensively!

  4. Gary Fortunato /

    I agree with Jennifer…it’s the highly processed foods and chemicals in the foods we eat that are hurting us…read the labels before you buy something and if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is or if the list looks like it came from a chemistry set…don’t buy it!!!

    • You are so right. But what about Edys??? I guess I can only have that on special occasions. Like Wednesdays.

  5. I’m siding with Diana on this one 🙂

  6. Colleen /

    Ok, if we ever do get together –
    it’s going to be MOLLY’s!

    • It better be soon! They are ALREADY inundated with Holiday business. Last night my friend and I had to take a table in the back. Harrumph.

  7. Clare Rakshys /

    I had a bite of an Impossible Burger last night. So good to know I can enjoy the real thing without guilt.

    • An Impossible Burger? Sounds dreadful.I just read that it’s a plant based alternation to a beef burger. IMHO,if a person wants to avoid meat, avoid these too! There are other ways to get protein, or so I’m told.

  8. Louis R Ruvolo /

    Enjoyed reading your latest blog. I subscribe to “anything in moderation”. Enjoy your martini, burger and Edys.

    • Pat /

      As Dorothy (or someone of her ilk) has said, “Everything in moderation. Especially moderation.”

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