Why is eating veal discouraged in Portland? Back in New York, Italian restaurants featured fabulous veal dishes—scallopine, cutlets, ossobuco, stuffed breasts, legs, etc. Here I've only found veal in one store, and at an outrageous price to boot. Why is this? —Charles S.
Veal? In Portland? Are you trying to get us both killed? Better you should say, "I was thinking of having a Black Mass and was wondering where's the best place to get a human baby—New Seasons? Should I brine it first? How many people will that serve?"
There are plenty of folks here in the Rose City who will give you the stink eye for eating beef from a fully grown cow. Veal is a whole new level. It's like the difference between being a regular murderer—which, let's face it, we can all relate to from time to time—and someone who kills children.
Unlike regular beef, which comes from an animal we vaguely imagine had a long, happy life playing Mario Bros. and texting its friends up till the very end, veal is made from a baby cow (actually, a baby bull) that is, basically, tortured its entire life for your epicurean pleasure.
Sure, it's not like cows are endangered—strictly speaking, the worst thing that could happen to the world's cow population would be for humanity to go vegan—but there's something about immobilizing a newborn mammal in a box and deliberately feeding it an anemia–inducing diet that comes across as kind of a dick move.
Moreover, this is Portland we're talking about. Back in the days when we didn't have as many things to protest as we do now, restaurants in Portland were occasionally picketed for serving pâté de fois gras, another ethically questionable dish. (One chant went—I'm not kidding—"Force-fed ducks! Foie gras sucks!")
And that was just for ducks, which—let's be honest—are kind of assholes. Baby cows are adorable. I say give an animal time to come to hate life on its own terms before you eat it. Better yet, stick with the Black Mass idea, you'll make more friends.