04/21/2015 12:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Meat as a Seasoning

The South has a long tradition of using cheap cuts of meat often cured and smoked to season dishes. A couple of ham hocks will flavor a big pot of beans, smoked turkey butts make collard greens a wonderful dish.


With all the talk about a vegan diet being the best, carnivores are rebelling. They are clinging to meat with a white hot passion.

Here is the fact: Meat tastes good.

Say what you will about health benefits -- I doubt we will ever be a vegan planet, however maybe a compromise can be reached.

Meat as a seasoning, meat on the side.

Maybe even the dedicated carnivores can make meat less important; we don't have to give up the flavor and the satisfaction to eat a few more vegetables.

Soup is one way we can use the bones and scraps to have a full meat flavor with a mass of vegetables in the bowl.

Asian style stir-fry is another way to thinly slice an ounce of meat, use a mass of fresh crisp vegetables and get that flavor to permeate the dish.

Pasta and noodle dishes take well to that touch of flavor. Try a simple spaghetti with garlic and oil, using both the fat and the crumbles of one slice of bacon for two servings. Bacon-y goodness.

Amatriciana is a delicious Italian meat as a seasoning sauce. Carbonara is another.

Look for ways to reduce the amount of meat, without reducing the flavor of the dish. Do your health and the planet this flavor.