More Food Words

Courtesy of The Double-Tongue Dictionary

break beef v. phr. Every Friday, he picks up a carcass or two from Redwood Meat, then brings the meat back to the store and cuts it into rib-eyes, prime rib, filet mignon—just about every cut you can think of. What’s not used in the cuts is turned into ground beef. And what’s not used for ground beef—including some of the internal organs—goes into Reed’s side business: A line of grass-fed beef products for cats and dogs called “Heartfelt Foods.” ”We use the whole cow,” Reed said. This process—called “breaking beef”—isn’t easy. ”It’s physically demanding,” Reed said. “I don’t think the average person knows what it takes to get that little steak.” Reed was taught how to break beef by Nick Stiles, the previous meat cutter at the Co-op, who was responsible for getting the store’s grass-fed beef program started.

buddy adj. Syrup made from trees that have already started to open their buds is referred to as “buddy” syrup and it tastes pretty awful!

meez n. Literally “put in place,” mise en place is the kitchen term for your set up, the gathering and preparation of all the tools and food you need to complete the task at hand; mise en place can refer to a cook’s organization on the line before the evening’s service (line cooks often refer to it simply as “meez” and can be extremely territorial about their own); mise en place can refer to the wooden spoon, wine, stock, rice, and salt you gather before starting a risotto.

hardbone n. It didn’t take long to see that the rib tips of one carcass had turned from cartilage to bone—indicating the animal was at least 4 years old, a “hardbone” in meat-locker parlance.

food desert n. Health experts have taken to calling low-income neighborhoods “food deserts,” and it is easy to see why. Supermarkets are usually in short supply and specialty produce and health-food stores are even rarer. Residents are often forced to do their food shopping in small grocery stores that carry few fresh fruits and vegetables.

banana-box grocer n. Some reclamation centers then sell these goods to brokers, which hawk them to small salvage stores. The goods are typically contained in boxes that once carried bananas, so these smaller operations are often called banana-box grocers. Some food-industry experts say one drawback to the banana-box stores is that fewer damaged goods are being distributed to food banks, which have reported steep inventory declines over the past year.