Meat Glue and Other Delights

Well, pink slime has gone viral and perhaps is experiencing a little push-back, but we recognize that few people will eat in a restaurant that advertises “We Proudly Serve Pink Slime” but will they know they are eating pink slime if no one tells them?

It seems that recipes are being tested by food establishments that are using transglutaminase to create unusual or misleading new cuts of meat.

From article by Jim Hightower

Transglutaminase is an enzyme made by the fermentation of bacteria which is added to meat pieces to make them stick together. The result is that a pile of cheap stew meat can be glued together and formed into a filet minion:  add a little Sauce Bernaise and a couple of mushroom caps and you’ll gladly pay big bucks for that succulent steak. True, it isn’t going to be as tender as the tenderloin but think of all the extra chewing time you will get to justify spending $30 on $2 worth of meat. Do you know if you’re eating meat glue?

The Green Prophet has several articles on meat glue:  try this one to start and don’t forget the related links.

Jim Hightower has an article on this current tendency to redesign our food, usually leading to a less-than-welcome twist to the American diet and a fun path to obesity. Pizza Hut is mentioned:  sewing a long looping frankfurter in the stuffed crust of one pizza and ringing the edge of another with mini-cheeseburgers. I wonder if you can get a combo … think of it … pizza, hot dogs, and hamburgers all in one bite. Add a cashier in a revealing outfit and 95% of American men will consider Pizza Hut paradise on earth … the mind boggles!

My daughter, also known as The Kid, has again gone the vegetarian route but she’s not militant about it:  fish, eggs, even meat, may show up on her dish, but when possible she’s sticking with the vegetables and tofu. Knowing that I eat a lot of eggs (diabetic) she recently led me to a site that showed the depth of chicken crap that accumulates beneath the cages in the big egg processing plants. Of course, there are also rats and grubs digging around in the muck so it’s not a very pleasant sight and I understand it smells really bad. I don’t know if she continues to frown on my egg eating, but I have switched back to open-range eggs (with the hard-to-crack brown shells). But I still have the eggs with a couple of slices of grilled Spam for an extra-tasty breakfast.

Which brings up a point:  gluing food together is nothing new (Spam is re-formed meat) and adding enzymes to meat to change its structure isn’t new either (look at meat tenderizer) but when it is served in a restaurant, there is no label to tell us it is a manufactured product and not natural. Hightower makes the point and I second it:  food facts belong not only on the food labels but also on the menu of foods that are cooked and served with a nice sauce and strategically placed asparagus to hide the artificial seams.

But consider one last question:  is red meat or fake meat killing us?

What are your thoughts on this?

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