The New York Times DC Bureau climbed in their rocketship and sped to a nearby planet, a place others would call “Jon Tester’s DC Apartment”, to report back on the exotic foods consumed by the dwellers therein:
As it turns out, lugging meat from Montana is not much harder than taking some extra suits, and is a lot easier than, say, carrying contraband raw-milk cheeses from France. Their neighbors in Big Sandy raise and feed the only Black Angus cow the Testers currently own, plus two hogs. Though the Testers are not raising livestock themselves now, they still slaughter their own animals and cut the meat, sometimes in 20-below temperatures in the processing facility on their property.
“Jon shoots it and guts it, and we both bone it, and I do all the wrapping,” Mrs. Tester explained.
Senator Tester (or sometimes Mrs. Tester, depending on their travel schedules) then gathers 40 pounds for the trip to Washington. There, it stays in their home freezer until Mrs. Tester comes to visit. (The senator does not cook.)
Is that “raw-milk cheeses” reference a nod to the supposedly superior palate of the reporter, the reader, or both? Because I would wager that the Tester’s beef is probably some of the best you can get in the world, certainly the equal in its own way to raw-milk French cheese. If they’re like some ranchers I know in that same general area, I would guess that the Tester’s cows are the hand-picked best of the herd, fed on grass for a good long time, fattened up on grain but not given so much grain that they need antibiotics, not given hormonal implants, and slaughtered in an immaculately clean facility with a degree of care far beyond the average slaughterhouse. Look at the perfect marbling in the picture of Mrs. Tester cutting the beef – it’s gorgeous. If beef of this quality were served in a restaurant in New York, the Times would be writing twenty graph rhapsodies about its quality and taste.
The reason Testers haul beef from Montana is not because they are quaint and backwards, it’s because they raise good meat. I don’t know why this story needed to be written in the first place, but it sure wasn’t the Times’ DC bureau’s best day.