So, I'm one of the few people around who's actually seen a chicken running around with its head cut off. My grandmother would position the bird's little noggin on a block of wood between two nails. Her husband would hold the body as she swung the ax high. And damn if it didn't race around the yard for a good

30 seconds before it fell limp to the grass. Being a kid who grew up in a small town in South Dakota, this didn't surprise or bother me one bit. Where I come from, schoolmates brought fresh pig hearts to class for show and tell. Every fall, young bulls were hauled off to the vet to be castrated. Blind kittens were bagged with rocks and dropped into the river.

When my relatives look at a pig, they don't see Wilbur. They see bacon. And so do I. Sure, sometimes meat-eating backfires. I mean, I can't claim that any of my farm-raised kin are thin, or even merely pleasantly plump. But they're happy -- livin' off the land, and picking their teeth (as well as the next furry animal they'll be eating).

That's sort of how it is around The Stranger, where even the staff members who aren't on Dr. Atkins' fabulous all-meat diet continuously chomp down on tender slabs of lamb, barbecued pork, and pastrami. A person hears a lot of blathering about the horrors of meat (and yes, one Stranger editor did get E. coli last month), but the simple truth is, it's delicious. There's just nothing that compares to it when it comes to flavor, texture, or staying power; especially not plastic little "not dogs," "phony baloney," or "fakin' bacon." I mean, if tofu's so great, why are manufacturers always trying to make it seem like meat? If we're supposed to eat nothing but snap peas, why do we have incisors? Huh? Why?

We at The Stranger have accepted our meat-eating natures (along with the need for elastic waistbands), and offer this cookbook in tribute. Mock duck and tofurky eaters shield your eyes. -- Jennifer Vogel

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