Mass Consumption

I wrote the entry on braising this morning because I made braised lamb shanks the other night. Looking over this weblog, you’d think we eat lamb every night. I guess I’m just on a kick. According to the US Department of Agriculture, I’m apparently making up for the rest of America. (It’s really hard to find precise numbers. Even USDA reports from the same year vary in exact quantities.)

Americans only eat an average of .8 pounds of lamb per year, and that number didn’t vary by much between 1998 and 2005. In England, the number rises to 13 pounds, but we’re all wimps compared to the Kiwis (New Zealanders), who pack away 50 pounds of lamb and mutton per year!

According to USDA statistics, the average American consumes 110 pounds of red meat, including lamb, but beef makes up most of that amount, at 62½ pounds per year. (And animal activists, take heart : we eat less than half a pound of veal, annually.) Americans consume the same amount of chicken per year as pork (46½ lbs.). And we consume only 16 pounds of fish and shellfish a year.

But those numbers are dwarfed by the quantity of fruit and vegetables Americans eat… 687 pounds per person, per year. (It breaks down to about 272 pounds of fruit and 415 pounds of vegetables.)

According to the USDA, Americans consume 1,965 pounds of food per year, or about 9/10ths of a metric ton of food. That’s 5.4 pounds per day, 1.8 pounds per meal. 1,965 pounds is exactly what this Lotus Elise sports car weighs.

(Source, source, source.)