Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's all in a Name

Tom and I took lambs to the processor's yesterday. Processor is another word for butcher…one that is slightly less disturbing to the customers. Depending on which one of our customers you talked to…you would either get a “oh, poor lambies!” or a “oh goodie, goodie! Can’t wait for lambchops!”

That made me think about the term “lamb”. The word lamb makes one think of little Bo-Peep and Mary had a little lamb. Cute, woolly, lovable lambs.
Like George…

Don’t worry, George didn’t grace anyone’s dinner table. George died of natural causes. In some ways, this was far worse. But, that is a story for another time.

When the lambs go off to the processor, they are not cute and cuddly. They are well over 100 pounds of muscle and wool. They have long since passed the “cute” stage. They are big, cantankerous, eating machines. They are not interested in being friendly;

their attitude says “ just give me the food and get out of the way, woman!”

For the record, sheep aren’t even nice to pet. Their wool is like greasy steel wool, and the lanolin in it sticks with you for a long time after handling them. No, they wouldn’t make good pets. It is their place, their destiny, if you will, to end up on a dinner plate somewhere.

It occurred to me that we don’t refer to a lot of our other meat choices by the animal name. For instance, you don’t go get a cow burger…it’s ground beef. Baby cow or calf never makes it to a menu…it’s veal. Goat sounds exotic when it’s called chevon. Pig meat is pork.

It seems there should be another word to use for this type of meat. Don’t try to use the term “mutton”…that means OLD sheep meat, and believe me, it’s not comparable to our lamb products…not by a longshot! If you’re wondering, mutton tastes like tough, soapy beef with hard bits of lanolin-tasting fat in it. Blech!

I just read an article about a farmer trying to find another name for "horsemeat” as the term is alienating customers when they consider eating the noble beast. It bothers some folks to think that anyone would eat a HORSE,despite the fact that it is perfectly acceptable in many areas of the world. That seems to be the problem on occasion with lamb. The mental image is a definite obstacle. Guess it really is a matter of semantics. There must be a better word choice, there just must be! This may need some serious consideration.

In the meantime, our more carnivorous customers will enjoy lamb in its many forms. Chops, roasts, sausage, ground, and shanks all made my list for the butcher. If everything goes according to plan, we should be fully stocked with lamb for the Market by July 1st.

Oh, now I can’t wait for those **chops! We'll just concentrate on enjoying them...maybe a new name for marketing purposes will occur to us after a meal.

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