I think I've mentioned before that I grew up on a cattle ranch, which my family still operates. This means that I grew up eating beef. LOTS of it. I don't think many people made a really decent living at it, but one does eat well, and there's a lot to be said for knowing where one's food is coming from.
However, there are things that are very, very different living this way. For one thing, one doesn't just "order up" food as one would like it. One deals with things as they come. For instance, if a cow gets hit by a car, one calls out the mobile butcher and gets 700+ pounds of very lean ground beef. It's either that or take a $1000 loss, which would be silly. However, it's a rather big adjustment to suddenly have a whole bunch of meat one didn't expect and wasn't planning on. As you can imagine, my family owns some REALLY big freezers.
This year when selling the steers, 11 of them got turned back for improper marking. That was a bit of a surprise. The ranch has started keeping a few steers to sell directly to consumers, but 2-3 is a lot different than 11. Since there are 4 kids from the ranch (my sister and I and two cousins), the ranch very generously gave us each a side of beef (one half an animal) and we just had to pay for the cutting and wrapping. This is a fantastic deal, but the ranch didn't have adequate feed set aside for 11 1000-pound animals which it wasn't expecting, so there was a time crunch involved. I had been diligently cleaning out space in our freezers and had waited as long as we could before picking up our meat, but when I picked it up on Monday and brought it home, we discovered it was MUCH more than we expected. I spent the rest of Monday cleaning out the freezers, digging out things we could use immediately, and improvising a "frozen vegetable du jour" crock pot soup (which turned out REALLY well, I might add), and rearranging everything. I found room for everything except 4 big 4-pound packages of soup bones, so:
ulia Child says.
After a two day process (one to make the broth, overnight to cool, then canning the next day), we have beef broth!
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