For several years I’ve been buying meat that has been marked down because the “use by” date was fast approaching. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this meat and the only reason it is marked down and labeled “Manager’s Special” is to cover the store’s potential liabilities.
In the 1950s I worked in my uncle’s store in South Carolina and I don’t ever remember him either marking anything down or tossing anything out. He had a large walk-in fridge and there would be sides of beef and pork hanging in there for several weeks waiting to be sold. Matter of fact, the nation’s best steak houses routinely age beef for several weeks before serving it. Old beef has better flavor and is more tender than new beef.
Anyway, last week I’m standing in front of what I call the “used meat” section of a major grocery looking at the various offerings. There were some pretty good slabs of t-bone, porterhouse, pork ribs, and ground beef. All had at least one more remaining before the “use by” alarm sounded.
While looking things over a fellow came along and joined in the search for a bargain. He flipped through the various stacks of Styrofoam trays and then pronounced he wouldn’t even feed this stuff to his dogs. Ignoring him and his comments I secretly smiled to myself as I recalled the fantastic filet mignon my wife and I had enjoyed the evening before. It was about an inch and a half thick, grilled up a perfect medium, was both flavorful and tender, and cost a mere $3.33. Since we shared the steak and had a side of sweet corn a neighbor had given us, the entire meal only cost $1.17 per person. Compare that to the $25 filet at most run of the mill steak joints.
To cut to the chase, after Mr. I’m Too Proud parted the scene I grabbed several packs of Western ribs and ground beef and headed for the checkout line. As soon as I got home it all went into the freezer and since then we’ve enjoyed some smoked ribs and yesterday evening the grand kids and us partook of grilled hamburgers on toasted “day-old” whole wheat buns and a few ears of locally grown silver queen sweetcorn.
Don’t think you’d ever convince anyone around here they were eating dog food. Arf! Arf!