While perusing the grocery store, I had noticed a small stack of deli-wrapped trays in the refrigerator isle labeled “meat ends”. Apparently the deli department would gradually grind down a large hunk of, say, ham and would eventually end up with a little warn down nub of meat that couldn’t be safely sliced anymore. So rather than throw it away, they threw a few of them into a tray and marked it for cheap.
To me, this was an amazing revelation. No longer was I restricted to only large hunks or paper-thin slices of my dead animal product. No, these pieces were the size of large crackers, and with a squirt of mustard could be made into instant meat-snacks. And they were cheap as well — three or four pieces for only $1! Excited, I bought a stack of them.
I had a grin on my face as I tore open the first package, selected a small piece of what appeared to be turkey, but with the dark, grid-shaped pattern on the back of the slab. I realized that the outside of the meat was something I’d never tasted before, and although it wasn’t exactly what I would call “good,” it wasn’t bad per se. The excitement wore off after the second bite, whereupon I realized that these meat hunks had clearly been left poorly wrapped in a refrigerator together for too long, and their flavors had blended together to create something of a “generic luncheon waste product” flavor, common among all the meats no matter the animal of origin.
Additionally, certain fattier meats, clearly not intended to be consumed in hunks, had oozed a clear, gelatinous substance that clung to the shrink wrap and the tray. Running the meat under the faucet wouldn’t get it off, so I ended up having to wipe it off with a paper towel. I ate the piece of ham anyway, and then, glancing at the paper towel (that now was covered in this fatty mucus-like substance) I realized just what I was doing.
Saving money is great. Not being wasteful is great. Having snack sized bits of meat around? Fantastic in concept. Meat ends? A mistake. A horrible, horrible mistake.