Food - Drink
You’ll Probably Never Guess What Albany Beef Actually Is
By LAUREN ROTHMAN
There are many types of beef, from free-range and grass-fed to Prime, Choice, and Select, but have you ever heard of Albany beef? Albany beef was a tongue-in-cheek nickname given to a meal that was popular in New York’s Hudson River Valley in the 1800s, and it wasn’t actually beef.
Albany beef was the cheeky name given to giant sturgeon fish that were so plentiful in the Hudson River at the time that they appeared on dinner plates as often as beef. Sturgeon can grow to be more than 20 feet long and live up to 60 years, and you might recognize sturgeon today for their top-shelf caviar, which fetches up to $172 per teaspoon.
According to a 1927 New York Times article, sturgeon was considered a staple food for poorer families, and a common household meal for those living near the river. In fact, sturgeon was so plentiful that their caviar was given away for free in saloons. However, by 1920 overfishing posed a severe threat to sturgeon, and today they are considered critically endangered.