Register Monday | September 26 | 2022
Rinse and Repeat Illustration by Jenna Andersen  

Rinse and Repeat

Washing meat is tradition in Black homes, writes Jody Anderson. The practice shouldn’t need defending.

The first step of preparing a meal for loved ones in most Black households is washing the meat in a mix of water and lemon, lime or vinegar. I like to watch my mom rub half of a citrus against a whole chicken while she tightly grips the leg, her motions precise and natural. There’s something purifying about the process. The act of cleaning meat summons a rustic connection to food, evoking a time when meat came from the farm and we felt its feathers and skin between our fingers as we prepared it to be seasoned and cooked. For many people who still buy their meat from markets and directly from farms, that’s still the case. 

This practice is hard for white food and health scientists to accept. To them, washing meat remains an unnecessary step because when chicken comes from factories, it’s cleared of any ...

Subscription Required!

Already have a subscription? Try logging in.