Gigantic, magical fermentation chambers
The gigantic, magical fermentation chambers that give a ruminant the ability to eat grasses that feed its microbiota that then metabolize, respirate, move through their life cycles and provide said ruminant with the proteins and fats it needs to grow big and strong. These microbes also produce vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrients that animal, and us animals, need to thrive.
Ain’t that something? Cattle aren’t really vegetarians at all. In fact, they absorb more saturated fat from microbe metabolism than a single stomach animal does. They feed the grasses to their gut bacteria and get the good stuff in return. Just like we do only we don’t have their intricate digestive systems to break down all that plant matter. Best to let them do all that digestion for us and delight in the delicious, nutrient dense foods they provide.
Now, with that basic introduction to cattle digestion, can you guess how dramatically feeding this high octane system is affected by adding grain? Those microbes change dramatically and thereto follows a cascade of issues. Do read more on microbes and cattle when grain is added to the mix.
And would you get a load of the apparatus necessary to digest and assimilate all that cellulose into nutrient dense food for us?! Man, the brilliance of creation brings me to tears.
What you see here is the beautiful caul fat wrapped like a protective web around the different stomach chambers. I use that caul to wrap around terrines and roasts. Kinda’ like a crust but made of good, fatty stuff instead of poopy flour.
Inside that caul there’s the rumen (a rumen can hold 50 gallons of grass!), the reticulum, the omasum, and the abomasum. Each serving a different purpose. If interested, I encourage you to learn more about this. It’s fascinating stuff.
A few of you asked what the green picture was in my last post (last photo). That was a picture of the omasum. Many cultures eat all of the different types of tripe, each a different shape or with a different characteristic depending on where it derived from. Honeycomb tripe is what is usually found in Asian markets, but book leaf and others are common throughout the world.
Yes, we eat that tripe. Yes, it’s delicious. Yes, it’s a ludicrous amount of work. For now, it’s frozen. I will show you how I add this nutritive food to our diets in the fall when the crush of farming wanes and I return to my beloved kitchen to start my big time food cooking, preservation, and culturing.