The joys of meat

Uninhibited convictions of a committed carnivore. In contrast with the creed of vegetarians and vegans

photo The Daily Beast

photo The Daily Beast

I love meat. I couldn’t live without it. Every time I admire a naked and beautiful tartare or a “tagliata” or any other kind of meat, necessarily rare, that arrives at my palate, my body is filled with desire as it responds to meat’s sensual proportions.

In the kitchen, as well as in the bedroom, I need substance. It’s no mystery that eating is not much different from making love. I wouldn’t be able to conceive a menu – a culinary or sexual one, that is – only using salads and cereals: nibbling gives me no satisfaction. Meticulously devouring something does. To conquer pleasure, you need time, patience and experience. To eat a Florentine steak you need commitment and dedication. You need to be ready, you need to want to do it, you need to enjoy the wait.

Marco Stabile's super-tartare. Stabile's chef at Ora d'Aria in Florence

Marco Stabile's super-tartare. Stabile's chef at Ora d'Aria in Florence

Meat is a vital nourishment which pleases the senses and puts you at peace with the world. It is the food equivalent of the ancestral fight between man and animal world. It is the triumph of pleasure, which once consumed leaves you with the same fullness you feel after a carnal action, the limbs awaiting the necessary rest, the mind invaded by an unusual and fugacious serenity.

I can already hear the monologues of vegetarians and vegans, who are gaining power over our tables, going on about the advantages of a diet that does not include meat products: “It’s not healthy. It’s not ethical. There’s no comparison with a nice plateful of vegetables, good for the soul and the cholesterol level. How can you not consider what’s behind all that...”. I can see them shaking their heads as a sign of disapproval in front of a lost meat eater. This superior attitude surprises me, because among the commandments the vegetarian always professes, there’s empathy towards the animal world, and respect for nature. And how about the respect for my choices? Who said vegetarians hold the absolute truth? Why, today, should those who declare they eat meat feel pointed at as though they were assassins by those who don’t eat it?

This open letter I’ve written has no intention of being an apology for meat, because there’s nothing to apologise for. This is a manifesto to my soft spot for meat and an invitation to embrace its sinful component. Yes, I confess it: meat provokes in me a physical pleasure, and I’m not only speaking in metaphors. The pleasure I feel when I plunge fork and knife in a rare Angus fillet, and I bring it to my mouth, where it softly melts, full of juice, upon contact with my tongue, releasing its strong flavoured and unmistakable liquids, is to me the closest thing there can be to an orgasm during intercourse.

I don’t know why, but this is it, and it doesn’t happen to me with any other ingredient: it’s something visceral, ancestral, intimate and immediate that pleasantly moves me. It happens and I don’t see why I should give it up. Of course I’m not speaking of the mere act of ingesting meat: being carnivorous becomes an ecstatic experience only if, just like with sex, you dedicate passion and curiosity to it, choosing quality over quantity. Vegetarians beware, meat can often be the perfect lover.



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