For starters, if we eat meat it really should be fatty, despite the nonsense we’ve all been told. It’s high protein, not high meat diets per se which are the problem, and pre-industrial high-meat diet communities would always choose fatty meat over lean, knowing that a high ratio of fat to protein was essential for good health. So salami scores high there.
Meat might be at its healthiest without the carcinogens which some research links to high heat and browning during cooking. While no studies have actually established a clear causal link, there’s room for some doubt, so raw or fermented doesn’t seem like the worst idea. Salami scores again!
Then too, the actual process of fermenting, which encourages the growth of ‘good’ bacteria (ie those which our digestive systems like and need) is one which every good hipster welcomes when it comes to sauerkraut and kombucha. And rightly so. Our environments are far too antispectic, and a dose of good bacteria is often what we lack. Score!
Now, I want to stress again that I’m talking here only about salami made from properly raised pigs. That is, pigs which live outside, in family groups, antibiotic free, and without the tortuous farrowing crates, or the anaesthetic-free tail docking and tooth extraction which are a default back-story of almost all pork products found on supermarket shelves, and in virtually all restaurants, delis and butcheries (the word artisanal, by the way, indicates bugger all about the farming conditions).
So let me rephrase: most salami is as terrible as most other meat out there. But good salami is - dare I employ the usually not-to-be-trusted term - a super-food!
BEHIND THE SALAMI CURTAIN:
• Find out more if you’d like to start your own sausage making at The Meadow.
WATCH | Homemade salami with Steve Lamb: