Pink slime won’t turn me off beef

You won't catch me out in the pasture grazing for nutrients when there's a bovine that can do it for me.

That's right, when that little old lady in the Wendy's commercial uttered "Where's the beef," several decades ago, I answered, "Right here on my plate."

You would think that after nearly 30 years of marriage my wife would understand that I'm an avowed meat-eater. She messes up on occasion though, and puts a lasagna or spaghetti sauce on the table without meat in it. When I notice this I tease her and ask if she left the meat out on the counter and the dog ran out the door with it.

I grew up with my mom removing a white package of beef or pork from a freezer a several hours before supper. If it wasn't our own beef or hog it came from someone we knew who would sell or trade a half beef or some sausage.

It was mostly Holstein calves that had been fattened carefully before slaughter and the steaks and ground beef had enough fat in it that it would fry up good without burning. Properly marbled steaks and roasts also had better flavor.

Somewhere along the road of life we moved away from the farm and began buying meat at the grocery store packaged in plastic. Fat became a bad thing (probably about the time we all stopped doing farm work) and the desirable cut became the one that was the leanest.

The way I understand the current state of the beef market that desire for leaner, safer meat for our kids led us to come up with what has become known lately as pink slime. The product is made from meat trimmings that have had much of the fat removed through a process that heats the beef and spins it to remove the fat. The pink color comes from ammonia injected into the beef to keep it safe from food-borne diseases.

We asked for it and we got it.

The last few years we've split a full beef among extended family and so my freezer is full of local beef grown by someone I know. The taste is great, the ground beef makes a good burrito, enchilada, spaghetti sauce or burger. The steaks have lots of flavor and treated right I can have a better steak than anything I can buy in a restaurant.

It's like I remember growing up right down to the white butcher paper. I had to pop for the entire year's worth of beef at one time but otherwise the price is comparable to even buying it on sale at the grocery store.

Don't get me wrong, I love vegetables, especially nestled alongside a juicy ribeye, but protein is important too. If I need to get that protein from pink slime it won't slow me down for a second.

I've butchered wild game myself and so I'm not squeamish about the process of turning an ungulate into food. Watching fresh beef being processed would probably turn off the same folks that have a problem with pink slime.

Veggie burgers are grown and processed, real burgers are raised and butchered. If you can't stomach the fat and the blood, stick to soy.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

karlterry@yucca.net

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