How to Survive America’s Meat Shortage

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We can get through this. Photo: Nakhorn Yuangkratoke / EyeEm/Getty Images

The country’s carnivores are panicking: Every day brings more news about disruption in the nation’s meat supply. This feels like a problem since Americans famously love cheeseburgers. But this is probably not a thing to actually be anxious about (there are, after all, plenty of other problems to feel anxious about right now). Instead, since you likely have some added time on your hands and are cooking more for yourself anyway, it’s probably just a time to adjust and eat fewer animal products. It is extremely simple, but for anyone still struggling to curb their meat-eating ways, Grub Street has assembled this handy FAQ:

Help! There’s no more meat! I don’t want to starve!
There is plenty of meat.

Bro — Wendy’s is out of burgers.
So what?

That’s bad! Costco says I can only buy three kinds of meat at once!
That is still a lot of meat.

My Memorial Day cookout is going to suck.
You’re having … a cookout?

Don’t worry, bud. We’re totally going to social distance. I’ve got a pretty sweet face mask, too. But what am I supposed to cook?
Grub Street is not here to preach the benefits of vegetarianism, but you could probably just eat less meat.

You mean like ordering single Shackburgers instead of double Shackburgers?
I mean eating a diet that is mostly not meat, instead of treating meat as the main event of each meal.

Sounds pretty un-American. In this country, we. Eat. Steak.
You can still eat steak. But — considering the brutal environmental toll of beef production, and the dire circumstances confronting the underpaid, exceptionally vulnerable workers who have to make most of America’s steak — it’s not a bad idea to eat mostly other things.

So I should be eating more pork?
Well … not really.

Chicken?
That’s still meat.

What about Impossible Burgers? Aren’t those made out of plants?
Sure, but you can also just eat vegetables that look and taste like vegetables.

Sounds gross.
It’s not. How about starting with this recipe for bean chili? Super easy, and it will basically taste like meat. Or a stir fry that’s literally just a whole bunch of green vegetables? Or go nuts and roast a whole head of cauliflower.

Dude, it’s almost summer. I need a burger.
Why not try making Superiority Burgers at home? You have the time, and they’re fucking delicious.

I will try these fancy quinoa burgs, but I can’t promise to like them. You are not going to turn me into a vegan.
It isn’t, like, hard to be more thoughtful about meat consumption. Cook recipes that call for less of it, and be mindful about the places where you do buy it. That’s it. If a pack of pork chops costs something like $2.99 a pound, you can be sure that whoever made it is harming the earth and exploiting their workers. Go eat some beans instead.

Here we go with the beans again.
Beans are so good. You can even cook them with a little bit of bacon — just make sure you use the good stuff.

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