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Another UK wrong meat story

Harters Mar 11, 2013 09:16 AM

Now it's beef being substituted for lamb.

Even worse than the horsemeat scandal, IMO


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  1. coll RE: Harters Mar 11, 2013 09:22 AM

    That would make me mad, lamb is at least twice as much as beef, and I'm sure they're charging accordingly. But even beef has its levels, so if they're so cheap that they're subbing you can be sure it's cow meat or something from the shoulder or even worse, not filet mignon. I'm glad I cook so much at home nowadays.

    Here in the good ol' USA, I know sandwich places that always, always sub pork or beef for veal; veal parm is a very popular dish where I live. Buyer beware when the price is cheap.

    1. 4
      4X4 RE: Harters Mar 11, 2013 09:33 AM


      1. paulj RE: Harters Mar 11, 2013 11:43 AM

        Americans have been making this substitution for a century (in hachis parmentier).

        6 Replies
        1. re: paulj
          sunshine842 RE: paulj Mar 11, 2013 11:50 AM


          Not many Americans call it hachis parmentier. It would be interesting, indeed, to walk down a street in middle America and see how many had any idea what it even is....and hachis is made with beef (well, the box says beef, anyway....) all over France.

          Lots of Americans do call it shepherd's pie which is technically made with lamb, not beef...but that's a topic for another day (which always ends up being hotly argued).

          There are plenty of us who call it "cottage pie" when it's made with beef.

          1. re: sunshine842
            Harters RE: sunshine842 Mar 11, 2013 12:14 PM

            Oh no. Not the cottage/shepherds pie thing again :-)

            I recall the last time. Vividly.

            I think that, then, there was eventually a consensus that, for we Britons, it is always correctly shepherds with lamb and cottage with beef. But that, for foreigners who have adopted our dishes, they may call everything shepherds, whatever is in it. Personally, I don't care what folk call it in their own country- so long as foreigners don't come to Britain and order shepherds pie and then be upset that it's lamb ( I know many Americans don't like lamb because they say its "gamey" - not a description I recognise, but there you go). Although they would have a "beef" if it was horse.

            Isnt hachis parmetier usually beef in France?

            1. re: Harters
              paulj RE: Harters Mar 11, 2013 01:01 PM


              You might be surprised to find horse meat hiding under a frilly layer of potato. British-style cottage pies, with gravy, beef and carrots under the smashed spuds, have been withdrawn from scores of school cafeterias in England, Wales and Scotland after DNA tests found horse meat inside. France made similar discoveries in its potato-topped pie called hachis Parmentier."

              The article includes a picture of frozen hachis in a French grocery.

              1. re: paulj
                sunshine842 RE: paulj Mar 11, 2013 01:50 PM

                yes, but that means that "oh, they have a dish called hachis parmentier" -- it really doesn't give any clue to what it is, other than something with meat and topped with potato.

                You and I know from having spent time in France that hachis is more or less the same thing as cottage pie, but it's absolutely not clearly stated in that article.

                (the Findus product is so awful as to nearly be considered a crime against humanity, regardless of what the ingredients are.)

                1. re: sunshine842
                  paulj RE: sunshine842 Mar 11, 2013 01:53 PM

                  Current Findus packaging adds 'pur bœuf'


                  Parmentier de viande de cheval

                  1. re: paulj
                    sunshine842 RE: paulj Mar 11, 2013 01:55 PM

                    seriously, I'd head for McDo before I'd ever buy another box of Findus - we tried it a few years ago -- we had already established what hachis is and we like cottage pie -- but man, that stuff is *nasty*

        2. r
          Rasam RE: Harters Mar 11, 2013 12:13 PM

          The article said that this was a practice common in Indian takeaways. Of all the irony! Beef is eaten in many Indian communities, but I wonder how many of their customer base are practising Hindus, to whom lamb would be acceptable but beef never.

          1. gingershelley RE: Harters Mar 11, 2013 04:55 PM

            I don't understand how people could not TASTE the difference? To me beef and lamb are, well, entirely different - er - animals - in flavor as well as actually:)

            7 Replies
            1. re: gingershelley
              Harters RE: gingershelley Mar 12, 2013 10:18 AM

              GS - I sense from your remarks that you've never experienced food from a British high street curry house :-0

              It is not sophisticated food and the very predominent spice is chilli. Most times, I'd reckon you'd be hard pushed to be able to taste anything you're eating, let alone distinguish between meats. Sad but true.

              When asian food is done well in the UK, then it is done very well. But it's a rarity.

              1. re: Harters
                sunshine842 RE: Harters Mar 12, 2013 11:52 AM

                and the average blood alcohol of a typical patron at said curry house, especially late in the evening....

                1. re: sunshine842
                  Harters RE: sunshine842 Mar 12, 2013 12:18 PM

                  Used to be the case that they were late night venues after a heavy session in the pub (and I plead very guilty as charged) but it's much more mainstream dining these days.

                  But I will offer you "Going for a English" which may resonate

                  1. re: Harters
                    Paprikaboy RE: Harters Mar 12, 2013 12:33 PM

                    Very true H.
                    Before they changed the licencing laws they were one of the few places you could get a beer after the pubs have shut.
                    I haven't been to an old school curry house for quite a while, though I did go with some friends after the pub for old times sake the other week but we were in the curry house by 9 which means I must be getting old.

                    1. re: Paprikaboy
                      Harters RE: Paprikaboy Mar 12, 2013 03:59 PM

                      It used to be Manchester's Chinatown for the late drinking, PB. Usually open till 4am.

                      Back in the day, you could start at noon and carry on till 3pm. Then you had to make sure you could get into the Press Club as that had a "private members" licence which would keep you topped up till the pubs re-opened at 5.

                      I never managed to get into the early opening boozers round the wholesale market. I think they started about 6am.

                    2. re: Harters
                      drongo RE: Harters Mar 12, 2013 06:36 PM

                      LOL. I'd be happy to "go for an English" after a few beers... but sadly there are few English restaurants around here (New Joisey, USA). I'll have to go for an Italian-American... but I'm sure I can be just as obnoxious.........

                    3. re: sunshine842
                      paulj RE: sunshine842 Mar 21, 2013 12:19 PM

                      Rowan Atkinson Live : Drunk English in Indian Restaurant

                2. j
                  Jerseygirl111 RE: Harters Mar 12, 2013 12:28 PM

                  Just read an article yesterday that said some pork suppliers are offering pig bung as an alternative for calamari. The author had his sister (who is a chef) fry each up. None of the taste testers could tell the difference. Now that is scary.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Jerseygirl111
                    paulj RE: Jerseygirl111 Mar 12, 2013 12:40 PM

                    Where did this appear? We discussed this thoroughly a while back. The story first appeared on a NPR radio show, one that is known more for interesting stories than investigative journalism. Those of us who have seen or eaten bung think the claim in bunk. Yes, it could be cut into similar size rings, but that's about as close as the similarity goes. Bung is not cheaper than calamari.

                    1. re: paulj
                      babette feasts RE: paulj Mar 12, 2013 06:29 PM

                      Also, on the NPR show, the sister-chef did some serious braising or boiling or other prep (I don't recall precisely) to rid the bung of odor. The extra labor required to make lower intestine as clean and mild tasting as calamari would really cut into any savings.

                      With the UK story, I'm curious at which level the deception is happening. Are the restaurants knowingly buying beef and passing it off as lamb, or are they being duped by their purveyors?

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