I was cleaning up my knives after a presentation at the Texas Mother Earth News Fair when an elderly man approached the stage. He smiled up at me and said, “Nobody’s ever going to do the stuff you’re telling them. They’re too lazy.” I remembered his face from the audience, smiling and nodding as I butchered half an animal from nose to tail, explaining the workings of the muscles, the different types of fat, and the value of the bones, feet, and organs.

He went on to tell me, “When I was a boy, we were in the meat club. Once every month, somebody would slaughter a beef. After it was cut, everyone in the club would take a piece or two. There was a record of what you had received every month to make sure you got a little of everything before the year was over.

Everyone shared, everyone worked, and everything got eaten. But nobody thinks about it like that anymore.”

I told

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