- Epicurious will stop publishing recipes with beef to encourage sustainable cooking.
- The move was announced on Monday, but the food site has been cutting beef recipes since 2020.
- Readers and chefs called cutting beef “drastic,” with some people un-following the platform because of the decision.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Food website Epicurious announced on Monday that it is cutting beef from its content, eliciting a mix of responses from its reader base.
In an Instagram post, the site announced that beef-related information would not appear in recipes, articles, newsletters, or on social media.
“We know that some people might assume that this decision signals some sort of vendetta against cows — or the people who eat them. But this decision was not made because we hate hamburgers (we don’t!). It’s about sustainability and being pro-planet,” Epicurious wrote in the post.
It added that its mission would remain the same, to inspire home cooks to be “better, smarter, and happier in the kitchen.”
Epicurious senior editor Maggie Hoffman and former digital director David Tamarkin explained the move in an article on Monday, saying that while “eschewing beef is not a silver bullet,” the decision was about “not giving airtime to one of the world’s worst climate offenders.”
Hoffman and Tamarkin said Epicurious has been steadily scaling back on its beef-related recipes since 2019, and quietly cut beef-related content “well over a year ago.” They decided to formally announce the decision now to make a “contribution” to the conversation about sustainable cooking.
Old posts and recipes including beef will remain on the site, but will not be featured on the Epicurious homepage.
Hoffman and Tamarkin mentioned in their post that the production of beef is said to be fueling the climate crisis.
According to the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, cattle, sheep, and goats produced 178 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2018. More than six pounds of carbon are generated for each serving of beef produced.
“Abstaining from beef means we can use our resources to focus our recipes on more climate-friendly foods,” the editors wrote. “Our hope is that the more sustainable we make our coverage, the more sustainable American cooking will become.”
Epicurious did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Beefing over beef
The Instagram announcement attracted the ire of New York chef and restaurateur Angie Mar, who owns and operates the Beatrice Inn. She called it “short-sighted” and “idiotic.”
“Not using your platform to educate people on sustainable farming versus industrial farming, the impact that we have on small, local, farming communities, and the chefs that support them and the ecosystem that those small farms are a part of… (this is) a disservice to consumers who are looking to you for guidance,” Mar wrote in an Instagram comment on the Epicurious announcement.
Many commenters said they were “un-following” the platform, with others asking Epicurious to consider a more “moderate” approach.
Beef has in the last week become a flashpoint in a discussion on sustainability and how best to address the impending climate emergency. In the wake of US president Joe Biden’s pledge to halve America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, conservative lawmakers expressed their deep unhappiness at the suggestion that they should cut meat from their diets — despite no one asking them to do so.
Larry Kudlow, a Fox Business host and former Trump economic advisor, also railed against the concept of “plant-based beer” on his Friday night show, falsely claiming that President Joe Biden’s climate plan would require Americans to give up meat. The network has since walked back on Kudlow’s claim, saying that the host was actually referring to a study from the University of Michigan, and wrongly linked Biden’s plans to mitigate the climate crisis.