Home » Is beef canceled? Popular cooking site nixes new recipes to help the environment

Is beef canceled? Popular cooking site nixes new recipes to help the environment

Carnivorous cooks who enjoy finding new recipes for steak, burgers, brisket and tenderloin will have to scratch Epicurious from their search lists.

The food and cooking website is boycotting beef in its coverage moving forward, to help the planet and “envision a more sustainable way to cook.”

“We’ve cut out beef,” Epicurious said in a statement — actually, more of an environmental manifesto — posted Monday on the site. “Beef won’t appear in new Epicurious recipes, articles or newsletters. It will not show up on our homepage. It will be absent from our Instagram feed.”

The statement, titled “The Planet on the Plate: Why Epicurious Left Beef Behind,” makes it clear that the site isn’t scrubbing beef entirely. Epicurious will continue to host beef recipes posted through 2019. (Here’s one, for example, with the blueprint for steak stroganoff. And here’s a collection of “Our 51 best burger recipes.”)

But such recipes have been placed on the back burner, in favor of content that focuses on other ingredients. That means chicken, seafood, pork, soy, plant-based meat substitutes, vegetables, fruits and more.

This isn’t a new idea for Epicurous, evidently, but the website is making its position — and its reasoning — abundantly clear.

“We actually pulled the plug on beef well over a year ago, and our readers have rallied around the recipes we published in beef’s place,” the statement says. “For every burger recipe we didn’t publish, we put a vegetarian recipe into the world instead; rather than articles about ground beef, we talked about alt-meats from brands like Lightlife. … And last summer, when America’s annual grilling holiday rolled around, we set our fires on cauliflower and mushrooms, not steaks and hot dogs.”

Epicurious says eliminating beef from our diet is one way to nurture the planet and help to slow climate change. Farming beef cattle contributes to climate change in several ways, the website says: via methane emissions from livestock burps and flatulence, cattle feeds that contain pesticides and fertilizers, cow manure that releases greenhouses gasses and more.

“We know that some people might assume that this decision signals some sort of vendetta against cows — or the people who eat them,” Epicurious says. “But this decision was not made because we hate hamburgers (we don’t!). Instead, our shift is solely about sustainability, about not giving airtime to one of the world’s worst climate offenders. We think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet.”

If you disagree with that position — or if the prospect of no more beef makes your stomach ache with sadness — there are plenty of websites that include new recipes for your favorite red meat. Epicurious says it hopes to spur other cooking sites into a no-beef stance, but right now, this particular protein is firmly entrenched in our food culture.

Want proof? The average consumer in the United States was expected to eat 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If data like that leaves you cold, just head to a restaurant in your hometown and grab the menu. Beef: It’s what’s for dinner — in many cases, at least.

A recent report by the Daily Mail, claiming that President Joe Biden’s climate plan would cut 90 percent of red meat from Americans’ diets by 2030, proved to be untrue. But the report raised a ruckus fueled by right-wing celebs and left some folks seeing red on Earth Day and beyond.

Will you follow the lead of Epicurious and forego Mom’s meatloaf? Or maybe mix in an alt-meat substitute with the breadcrumbs, garlic and ketchup?

The cooking site admits that nixing beef from its new recipes is far from a cure-all for climate change, but calls the policy a step in the right direction.

“When it comes to the planet, eschewing beef is not a silver bullet,” Epicurious says. “All ruminant animals (like sheep and goats) have significant environmental costs, and there are problems with chicken, seafood, soy and almost every other ingredient. In a food system so broken, almost no choice is perfect. … Epi’s agenda is the same as it has always been: to inspire home cooks to be better, smarter, and happier in the kitchen. The only change is that we now believe that part of getting better means cooking with the planet in mind. If we don’t, we’ll end up with no planet at all.”