In Meat We Trust: America's Historic Relationship with Meat

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It's impossible to talk about Americans' relationship with food without talking about meat.

Nutrition recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggest that an American eating 2,000-calories per day consume a little less than 4 ounces of meat, poultry, and eggs—an amount that adds up to 85 pounds per year. In reality, Americans consume about 275 lbs meat per person—that's more than three times the global average.

A big part of why Americans love eating meat so much has to do with this country's history.

In her new book, “In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America,” author Maureen Ogle traces Americans' relationship with meat through the ages—from the days when early settlers used livestock to claim land to the 20th century, to the rise of big producers like Tyson and Purdue and present day calls for a return to locally-sourced, organic meat.

In the story of mass-meat production and big-agricultural corporations, she says there are no clear good guys and bad guys—just a lot of complicated players with a long history of competing to supply a hungry American populace. She joins The Takeaway to discuss the historical underpinnings of meat-eating and the future of meat-eating in America.