Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 28, 2013

04/28/2013 — Lee Ward: Let’s really simplify meat and leave names alone

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — A lot of people and organizations are getting excited about grilling season. Summer cookbooks are being published and sales of lawn and garden equipment are being advertised.

And tastebuds are turning to meat on the grill.

Two meat associations, the National Pork Board and Beef Checkoff Program, proposed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture a change in the way cuts of meat are named. The USDA gave the go-ahead to change the way 350 cuts of meat are named, supposedly making buying meat easier for the consumer. The new names could be seen in grocery stores this summer.

“One of our biggest challenges has been the general belief among consumers that a pork chop is a pork chop,” a National Pork Board representative said. “But not all pork chops are equal, and not all pork chops are priced equally.”

A pork chop will become a ribeye chop or a porterhouse chop, while a pork butt could be known as a Boston roast. A boneless shoulder top blade steak will become a flatiron steak and a beef under blade boneless steak will become a Denver Steak. Ground beef will still be ground beef. Thank goodness for small miracles.

I’m not sure how it’s supposed to help the consumer to change the names of cuts of meat after we’ve  learned the names of cuts of meat. It’s like switching recipes to the metric system after I’ve already learned how much a cup is.

The groups said new labels will help guide consumers through the confusion that will be buying a pork chop, prime grilling time for these meats. The labels will indicate which part of the animal’s body the meat comes from and good ways to cook it.

Maybe I’m just squeamish, but I’m not going to think there is a good way to cook a piece of meat after I’ve been reminded that meat comes from animal body parts.

If you’re going to wreck our system for choosing a steak or a chop, you’ve got to give us some guidance and help us adapt and maybe that’s the best way it can be done.

It’s not the first time names have been changed to alter eating habits.

Orange roughy was originally called slimehead; fish formerly known as rat-tails witch are now referred to as the more dignified and perhaps more appetizing grenadier and Torbay sole. Which leads me to a revelation for summer: grilled seafood.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.