Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf by Peter Lovenheim
Four years ago, journalist Peter Lovenheim was standing in a long line at McDonald's to buy a Happy Meal for his little daughter, which would come with a much-desired Teenie Beanie Baby--either a black-and-white cow named "Daisy" or an adorable red bull named "Snort." Finding it rather strange that young children were being offered cuddly toy cows one minute and eating the grilled remains of real ones the next, Lovenheim suddenly saw clearly the great disconnect between what we eat and our knowledge of where it comes from. Determined to understand the process by which living animals become food, Lovenheim did the only thing he could think of: He bought a calf--make that twin calves, number 7 and number 8--from the dairy farm where they were born and asked for permission to spend as much time as necessary hanging around and observing everything that happened in the lives of these farm animals. Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf is the provocative true story of Peter Lovenheim's hands-on journey into the dairy and beef industries as he follows his calves from conception to possible consumption. In the process, he gets to know the good, hard-working people who raise our cattle and make milk products, beef, and veal available to consumers like you and me. He supplies us with a "fly on the wall" view of how these animals are used to put food on America's very abundant tables. Constantly vigilant about wanting to be an observer who never interferes, Lovenheim allows the reader to see every aspect of a cow's life, without passing judgment. Reading this book will forever change the way you think about food and the people and animals who provide it for us.