Remember that 60 Minutes exposé about grocery stores engaged in underhanded commerce? It showed them doing things like marinating meat that is past its prime in teriyaki or other flavorings to disguise the off taste.
Maybe it was another national news mag like 20/20.
Or maybe it was a local news report.
If you remember it, too, then it was national.
Anyway, ever since that report aired many years ago, I’ve been leery of the pre-made kabobs and other marinated offerings from the meat counter.
But yesterday, while shopping at a high-end market, I spotted a package of two lovely salmon patties – salmon, spinach, feta, panko, etc. – in front of the seafood counter.
The hub and I are trying to eat more fish so I threw it in my cart.
Then – and here’s where the remorse comes in – while one of the butchers was grinding me some grass-fed beef, I asked his young assistant about their pre-made offerings.
I said (and I’m cringing right now), “You guys aren’t disguising less-than-fresh meat or using up scraps of fish in your pre-made items are you?
The young man looked confused. He was too young to know anything about the exposé.
“Pre-made? You mean like the chicken, spinach and feta patties?”
“Yeah, but more specifically the salmon, spinach and feta patties ‘cuz those are the ones I just threw in my cart.”
The head butcher looked up from his task.
“They’re all good recipes,” he said.
He was old enough to have seen the 60 Minutes piece, but clearly he didn’t.
And then his expression changed.
And I think it dawned on him.
I was stupid for two reasons:
- If he really was disguising old meat or using salmon scraps, he certainly wasn’t going to admit it.
- He’s always been a good, decent and helpful butcher.
Oh and one more:
3. You’re supposed to flirt with your butcher, not insult him.
Next time I shop I’ll make a sincere apology.
“The salmon patties are really good,” the young butcher-in-training said as I walked away with my meat, “I’ve tried them.”
They were good – on light, airy brioche buns with a thick slab of heirloom tomato and a big spoonful of tzatziki sauce.