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FOOD:Ostrich and buffalo come to the table

ALL ABOUT

March 23, 2007

A man pulls into the Husky Boy in North Laguna, steps up to the window and orders. "Gimmee the special cheeseburger with pastrami, fries and two ostrich burgers or maybe just one ostrich burger and one buffalo burger."

No, this is not the set-up for a joke, or some scenario from the world of the future! It actually happened the other day — in fact, Terry had her first ostrich burger and thought it was really good. She also had several bites of a buffalo burger and would have eaten more but she was already stuffed.

With your eyes closed, you probably could not tell the difference between hamburger, buffalo and ostrich because they are so similar in flavor. Even with your eyes open, you probably couldn't tell because they look the same.

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Terry thought that the ostrich was the best — meaty and juicy like hamburgers used to taste, which is amazing since it is unusually low in fat. Oh, the sacrifices we make in the interests of research.

This column might well be titled "The New Red Meats." It was prompted by an interesting article sent to us by one of our readers concerning the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe and its attempt to restore buffalo to their tribal lands and bring back environmental and economic prosperity to the Lakota people form the sale of the meat. They recently acquired 20,000 more acres for this project.

So, why have these new meats recently appeared at Husky Boy? When asked, Jay Carpelo, president of the company, said that his customers had been asking for some healthier choices. After a great deal of research, he decided to feature buffalo and ostrich burgers and switch to frying oil without trans-fats.

We did some research on our own, in addition to eating burgers, and discovered that indeed both of these are much healthier than beef.

Three ounces of lean beef has 240 calories, 15 grams of fat and 77 mg. of cholesterol. Compare this to skinless chicken breast at 140 calories, 3 grams of fat and 73 mg. of cholesterol; ostrich has 97 calories, 2 grams of fat and 58 mg. of cholesterol and buffalo has only 85 calories, 2 grams of fat and 49 mg. of cholesterol.

Furthermore, ostrich is high in iron and protein and due to its ideal pH balance, the meat does not attract harmful bacteria like E. coli or salmonella, making it safe to eat rare or even raw, and it tastes remarkably similar to prime beef. Ostrich meat is also naturally tender and is red in color.

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