Welcome to the 9th day of September. It’s National Teddy Bear Day, National Care Bears Share Your Care Day, National Boss-Employee Exchange Day and National Wiener Schnitzel Day.
Now I know that our delicious Herb Pork Tenderloin doesn’t look anything like a Wiener Schnitzel. And you are right. Today is also National I Love Food Day. Really, who doesn’t love food? Not only is food necessary for life, but it’s also a pleasure on so many fronts. Appearances, textures, flavors, chemical reactions within the brain (such as chocolate). Food is also a gathering point, a community event or social occasion. With all that said, I do have political reasons for today’s recipe.
In California, things like bacon and pork tenderloins might soon be out of reach. Time will tell if the latest law, slated to go into effect on January 1, 2022, will stand up to the various law suits. Simply put, in 2018 California voters decided to pass a law requiring more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves. While veal and egg producers are optimistic they can meet the new standards, only 4% of hog operations nationwide currently comply with the new mandates. Unless the courts intervene or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold in the state, California will lose almost all of its pork supply, much of which comes from Iowa. Hog farmers who want to keep the California market will need to revamp their rearing practices. Not only would that cost breeders money, it would reduce their overall production and those high costs will be passed along to the consumer. The California law also requires slaughter houses to maintain strict records as to rearing practices of animals brought to slaughter and separate those not bred in compliance. God forbid that such an animal slip into the California food supply. (And for the record, this is breeding and birth, not rearing. Once born, it’s business as usual). Thus far the courts have sided with the new law and all attempts to overturn what the voters put into place has failed. Time will tell just how this will impact the food supply and prices to the average California consumer.
Yeah, not pretty. So between now and the end of the year, I fully intend to enjoy my bacon and all other cuts of pork while I still can still afford it. Come next Easter, we might be having Roast Beef instead of our traditional Smoked Ham.
And one more thing – before all you animal lovers string me up by my toes, I understand the compassion behind the law. Before Pops got too old to care for things, we had chickens and cows and pigs and even a sheep or two on the family farm. Those animals were treated like pets, right up until we ate them. And that’s the way most family farms are run. As it should be. Maybe we should encourage more family farms. Just a thought.
Herb Pork Tenderloin and Garlic Potato Skillet
1 lb Small Potatoes
1 head Garlic Cloves
4 tablespoons Butter, divided
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon Thyme Leaves or more to taste
1-1/4 lb Hormel Always Tender Herb Dry Rub Pork Tenderloin
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Scrub potatoes, cut into quarters and place in a large mixing bowl. Break apart garlic clove head, peel cloves and place whole cloves with the potatoes.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter. Drizzle over potato mixture. Season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Toss to coat well, set aside.
Melt remaining tablespoon of butter. Drizzle over the tenderloin. In 12-inch cast iron skillet, sear tenderloin over medium-high heat; cook 2 to 4 minutes or until browned on first side. Turn, and immediately remove skillet from heat. Add potato mixture to skillet around pork; transfer to oven, and roast 30 minutes or until pork reaches at least 140-degrees in center.
Remove skillet from oven; transfer pork to cutting board, and tent with foil.. Stir potato mixture, and return skillet to oven. Continue to roast 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.
Cut pork into 1/2-inch slices. Remove skillet from oven, stir potatoes one last time, pile potatoes to the sides, leaving center empty. Arrange sliced pork roast down the center of the skillet. Serve directly from the pan and enjoy.
This is delicious with simple Thyme-Dill Baby Carrots.
Looking for Wiener Schnitzel recipes to celebrate National Wiener Schnitzel Day? Here are two of my favorite from the past:
14 thoughts on “Politics and a Pork Tenderloin Supper”
It isn’t just the compassion aspect, although from what I’ve seen of many of these shameful factory pig farms that is indeed a big consideration, it is also the environmental impact (ask residents who live anywhere near one of these facilities), and the dangers of close factory farming of any animal or bird as their viruses jump to humans and we have no immunity to them, this we’ve seen inn, among others, swine flu, and most probably Covid. Yes, meat will be more expensive, but we’ve created a system that markets cheap meat at every meal and that is simply not sustainable.
It’s only the breeding pigs, not the males, and only while with piglets, so it’s not like an improvement in their overall quality of life. I know the smell well having lived on a farm. You cannot make food too expensive for people to buy. And it’s only California, not the rest of the country, so how does that improve anything? It’s just creating a black market for pork.
Someone has to lead the way. When California adopted its strict emissions regulations, after a long tangled road, the car manufacturers agreed to better controls or miss out on that huge market.
More states are adopting stiffer regulations on the mass pig farms. They are more than just smelly; they cause severe environmental and health problems for those living in the vacant. There is a lot of information available on-line as well as some good documentaries about the impacts.
We need our farms. And we cannot raise foods that are too expensive for the average person. There is a problem with obesity in this country in part because healthy foods are so expensive. There has to be a middle ground that will work for everyone.
We need to find that middle ground.
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Yes, that middle ground is so important, and we’ve strayed so far from it. Too many of our resources going to fast food that is not healthy for either body or planet. What I find really interesting is that currently, we spend far less of a percentage of our income on food than we did even 50 years ago. 1919, around 30%. 1960, 17.5%, and 2013, 9.9%. Fascinating!
People complain about the price of food, but in this day and age they are spending their resources on things other than food, hundreds of cable tv channels, and wifi, and internet, and cell phones, and satellite music, and that eats up a huge percentage of income!
I truly hear your point. I am concerned about the rising food prices because we eat “real” food most of the time, not fast processed foods that are cheap and in some cases deadly. The other issue in California is that a large percentage of the population is Mexican or Asian – and pork is very much a part of their cultural diet. I haven’t heard how the new law will impact programs such as 4-H as far as kids bringing their prized hogs to market.
I just don’t think this law was thought out. And it also bothers me that California only recently notified the hog farmers of a change we knew was coming. That is the biggest reason they say they won’t be in compliance.
Time will tell what this will do to the food chain. I just hope those opposed are wrong. Already good Bacon runs about 8 to 10 per pound, although we can find bacon that is more fat then meat and pumped with chemical additives for around 5 a pound. We need to figure out a way to get quality foods at reasonable prices. In the end, we all pay in higher health costs.
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You are so right about the higher health costs, that is the hidden in the over consumption of these foods.
I think it is so much a matter of quantity and quality, I’d rather buy my husband locally produced, sustainably raised organic bacon at $10 a pound and have it once in a while, than the cheaply produced inferior factory farm bacon with all its environmental impacts. Bacon, for instance, is constantly being advertised to us, usually atop some outrageously unhealthy fast food, and in general is used over and over again in so many recipes that it seems to be a sacred condiment to so many people without real thought to what they are putting in their bodies or how the food was produced. When I was a kid, bacon was somewhat of a treat, maybe a Sunday morning special, from a local farmer, and not a food that is for some folks today a daily necessity. The pork my mother put in her baked beans was barely there, and one frying chicken fed all seven of us with a piece left over for dad to take in his lunch box. Then, she made soup out of the bones. That’s where I get my need to not waste food, and to keep things in perspective – how much do we really need?
The problem is that those who can’t afford the healthier foods are also the same people who can’t afford good healthcare. So we all suffer.
For us, it was the ham steak that was a Sunday morning special treat. Another thing we need to bring back is home economics – teach young people about healthy choices and how to stretch their food dollar. I don’t think people know about a good stock from the bones of a roast chicken. I save the bones from our Christmas Ham to make beans that can feed us for a week if need be. Toward the end of the pot, we can add more liquid to create a nice ham and bean soup.
Once upon a time, a Sunday Roast was the norm because it made a good supper after church and fed you the rest of the week with leftovers in sandwiches. or stews or other dishes.
My mom’s Sunday roast was the same thing, it fed us well for days.
When I was first starting out, the last thing I could afford was meat so I learned how to make a lot of vegetarian dishes, and dishes that usually used meat but I substituted bulgar wheat, or rice, etc., and I managed to stay on a meager budget, and we ate really well. I totally agree that we need home economics again, but with an emphasis on the frugal use of those high food chain items, and liberal use of those wonderful vegetables our bodies need.
All complicated stuff, but we’ve let our food and cooking habits be taken over by the processed food industry, much to our detriment.
Here organically grown vegetables are twice or three times the price of mass produced vegetables, and that’s another problem. I think we also need to sponsor community gardens in vacant lots. It is a complexed problem indeed.
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The organics are not that much different in price here, but we buy most directly from the farm stands and farmers markets. I have noted that in the last five years, even the supermarkets are offering more organic, and at good prices.
Consumers have to demand better, that’s the solution. If there is demand, then there will be the supply, and the prices go down.
Community gardens are a great component in all this, not everyone has a back yard where they can grow food. But it is also amazing how much can be grown in a small space, so community education is also part of this.
I know I’m a bit spoiled here in Vermont, we’ve always had so much of our culture remain farm to table, our seasons are marked by mud and maple and corn and tomatoes. And we’ve worked hard for the last three decades to support farmers markets and farm to table programs. It can be one, but it needs people demanding it and putting their dollars where their desires are.
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Whenever possible, we buy direct from the local farmer’s markets, too. Much better than anything offered in the grocery stores. In California, labeling has a lot to do with pricing. If it’s chic, such as Organic or Free Range, the price goes up.
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That’s pretty much everywhere I think!
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