They Thought I Was Crazy.

Melissa SandfortAgricultural Anthropology

I sat down at the lunch table one Monday noon (when I was 33 years old, not 12), pulled out my ground meat (not PB&J) and the “kids” at my table thought I was crazy. Ground meat? I guess to them it looked slimy and unfit for human consumption, but I on the other hand was looking forward to a very tasty meal with it smothered over mashed potatoes.

Ever seen one of these? It’s a hand-crank meat patented in 1920. Families would butcher their own beef and hogs then cut the meat in small enough portions to grind it. The ground meat was put into jars and canned and I must say, it’s delicious.

*Note: To spare you the details of how hogs were butchered, you can read “Everything but the squeal” here.

Let’s just say the process consisted of hot water, a hair scraper and a butchering table.

‘nuf said.

Today we have meat cutting guides and charts and butchers have perfected their cutting methods to result in lean and tender cuts of beef and pork. There aren’t many butchers around who practice making canned meat anymore, and I have to admit that it was one of the oddest Christmas gifts I’ve ever seen someone give, but it is fabulous!

I have two words for you: slap chop. Or rather scrape grind.

I didn’t mind the lunchtime heckling from my friends. It was much better than PB&J.

Until our next history lesson …