Its an interesting situation. Within kosher circles, meat consumption is associated with a certain idea of toughness (ie machismo). Its a topic used for bonding. Since everyone is supposed to be friends but most personal topics are taboo, it stands in for the conversations that would usually revolve around sports or culture or family. The topic becomes more relevant to Jews once you introduce kashrut and the gender identity questions that go along with diet and observance. Due to the transient nature of work in the 21st century, a religious community is often a place where total strangers are thrown into an intense group dynamic together. It is rarer than before to see multiple generations of the same family in a single synagogue. Its a bit like military training. In the Officer School I roomed with a Mormon, we didn’t discuss religion or politics but rather details of the uniforms. We knew each of us had a partner but nothing about each other’s family life. Re: religious communities: I know nothing about most of my kosher friend’s political views, what their marriages or relationships are like, and they probably don’t know what kind of music I listen too (as it would highlight the inter-generational and regional divides between us). Since I’m ordained Reform, my friends in the Orthodox and Conservative worlds gently side step the topic entirely. They don’t want to bring up my affiliation as a fight might ensue. Better to talk about the weather or what kind of meat is in the chili. We have talked about meat endlessly. Its a safe topic and allows the classes to harmlessly subdivide into two groups (meat eaters and vegetarians) and gently mock each other at no risk of actually offending each other.
Meanwhile, my meat consumption (although I still do eat is) has dropped off considerably. Whereas I used to eat chicken or red meat at least twice a day (sometimes three times), I now eat it occasionally.