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#1
Old 11-12-2013, 04:50 PM
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Why no roast pork in American delis?

Of course, I generalize. I'm sure there's a deli out there somewhere that has roast pork. But in this area, if you go to the deli counter at any local supermarket, you'll find roast turkey, roast chicken, roast beef, and numerous varieties of ham, but no roast pork. Indeed, looking at the Boar's Head product list confirms that the most prominent deli meat producer doesn't even make it. Closest thing they have is porketta.

I love a good Cuban sandwich, but I can only make them when I have roast pork leftovers because it seems the only way to get roast pork is to make your own.

What's the deal? Not enough demand? Too difficult to make a good product with a decent shelf life? Why no roast pork in the deli?
#2
Old 11-12-2013, 05:00 PM
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My market, a St. Louis chain, has it on occasion. But it's not a standard item in their deli case. I also like Cuban sandwiches. :-)
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#3
Old 11-12-2013, 05:07 PM
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I see they have an uncured ham, maybe that would work?
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#4
Old 11-12-2013, 05:21 PM
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It seems that it's a meat that never got adapted into lunchmeat status. I wonder if the texture of roast pork doesn't lend itself to being sliced thinly?
#5
Old 11-12-2013, 05:26 PM
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How much effect do we think the Jewish delis of the the world have had on delis in general? Do the delis you've looked in have a reasonable selection of other pork products? I'm assuming you're not looking for roast pork in a kosher deli...

Last edited by Ethilrist; 11-12-2013 at 05:27 PM. Reason: I like string
#6
Old 11-12-2013, 05:28 PM
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We have roast pork here. It's not super common, but I'm pretty sure at least once grocery store carries it regularly. It's not the pressed, formed stuff, either; it looks like an actually pork roast they cut up.
#7
Old 11-12-2013, 06:14 PM
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The pork I see in the deli department of grocery stores is pretty much confined to prepared ribs or a pork loin that's been roasted and cut into half-inch slices. I don't think I've ever seen pork lunchmeat other than ham.

Last edited by Chefguy; 11-12-2013 at 06:14 PM.
#8
Old 11-12-2013, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
How much effect do we think the Jewish delis of the the world have had on delis in general? Do the delis you've looked in have a reasonable selection of other pork products? I'm assuming you're not looking for roast pork in a kosher deli...
Every non-Kosher deli I have been in had several types of ham, as well as having cheese in the same area as the meat.
#9
Old 11-12-2013, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
I see they have an uncured ham, maybe that would work?
I'll give it a try. I've never noticed that at the counter around here, but I've never explicitly asked for it either. Maybe it's there, but just not advertised on the pricing list, or maybe I never noticed it. Now I can start looking and asking for it. Thanks for the suggestion.

Part of the reason I started this thread was that I was hoping someone would tell me, "Of course they have roast pork. It's just called blah-de-blah. Get that; it's just like homemade roast pork."
#10
Old 11-12-2013, 06:52 PM
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Publix carries it here, as Cuban sandwiches are fairly popular.
#11
Old 11-12-2013, 07:30 PM
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Try a Latino market if you have one near.
#12
Old 11-12-2013, 07:52 PM
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A Polish/Eastern European deli will also be a good bet.
#13
Old 11-12-2013, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
I see they have an uncured ham, maybe that would work?
Schnucks or Dierbergs??

Go Blues...
#14
Old 11-12-2013, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
How much effect do we think the Jewish delis of the the world have had on delis in general? Do the delis you've looked in have a reasonable selection of other pork products? I'm assuming you're not looking for roast pork in a kosher deli...
That was my immediate reaction. I wonder if it's a regional thing; i.e., Jewish deli traditions are weaker outside of the Northeast.
#15
Old 11-13-2013, 02:12 AM
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"Uncured" ham is the same thing as cured ham. If you look closely at the package, it says it contains no added nitrates except for that from celery juice (or celery powder). Celery has sodium nitrate in it, and they use this as a "natural" curing agent. In other words, they're trying to slip one past you. "Uncured" ham looks, tastes and smells like cured ham because that's what it is.

Boar's Head porketta is close to what you're looking for. Columbus also makes a roasted pork loin.
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#16
Old 11-13-2013, 03:14 AM
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Schnucks or Dierbergs??

Go Blues...
Dierbergs? Does he come off that snooty?
#17
Old 11-13-2013, 04:05 AM
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I think it's just that American tend to be very conservative in their meat choices. We tend to only want a very short list of meat items and avoid anything that isn't on the list.
#18
Old 11-13-2013, 07:15 AM
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They might call it "fresh ham".
#19
Old 11-13-2013, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
It seems that it's a meat that never got adapted into lunchmeat status. I wonder if the texture of roast pork doesn't lend itself to being sliced thinly?
Nah, it's very common here in the UK (supermarket sample). It sounds like a US thing. Is it true you guys also don't eat much lamb?
#20
Old 11-13-2013, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
It sounds like a US thing. Is it true you guys also don't eat much lamb?
Yes. We pretty eat only four meats: chicken, beef, pork, and turkey. The average American eats about 110 pounds of meat in a year and less than eight ounces of it is lamb (and that's an average - the reality is most Americans don't eat any lamb). To put it in perspective, the average American annual consumption of lamb is lower than the average Israeli annual consumption of pork.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 11-13-2013 at 07:36 AM.
#21
Old 11-13-2013, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Yes. We pretty eat only four meats: chicken, beef, pork, and turkey. The average American eats about 110 pounds of meat in a year and less than eight ounces of it is lamb (and that's an average - the reality is most Americans don't eat any lamb). To put it in perspective, the average American annual consumption of lamb is lower than the average Israeli annual consumption of pork.
I've always found that quite surprising and didn't know if it was true, as lamb is so popular in many countries, including the UK and Italy where many Americans can trace their heritage. They also don't eat much lamb in Germany – I wonder if German immigrants have influenced US cuisine to that extent?

Many British people have fairly conservative meat likes too (chicken/beef/lamb/pork), but other meats are readily available in even mainstream supermarkets (duck, turkey, pheasant, grouse, venison etc).

Last edited by SanVito; 11-13-2013 at 07:43 AM.
#22
Old 11-13-2013, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
How much effect do we think the Jewish delis of the the world have had on delis in general? Do the delis you've looked in have a reasonable selection of other pork products? I'm assuming you're not looking for roast pork in a kosher deli...
For some reason, I'm having a helluva time finding halal carnitas.
#23
Old 11-13-2013, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
I've always found that quite surprising and didn't know if it was true, as lamb is so popular in many countries, including the UK and Italy where many Americans can trace their heritage. They also don't eat much lamb in Germany – I wonder if German immigrants have influenced US cuisine to that extent?

Many British people have fairly conservative meat likes too (chicken/beef/lamb/pork), but other meats are readily available in even mainstream supermarkets (duck, turkey, pheasant, grouse, venison etc).
Lamb is, indeed, not very often eaten here, but more often than not, supermarkets, at least around here, will carry at least lamb chops. Stuff like duck, goose, rabbit, etc., will usually take a bit of digging. There's a good chance you'll be able to find some bison these days, too, at least in ground/minced form. As for pheasant and venison (I don't think there's much grouse around here)? I would have to research where to find those at retail. I've only gotten the raw meat from hunters in the past.

The pork thing is curious, though. Pretty much every deli here will have ham, roast beef, and roast turkey. So we eat roasts as deli meats very commonly, and it's not really a kosher thing, as most delis carry ham (unless, of course, you're specifically at a kosher or halal deli). But roast pork is generally found in ethnic delis. I have no idea why it hasn't caught on in the mainstream.

Last edited by pulykamell; 11-13-2013 at 12:02 PM.
#24
Old 11-13-2013, 01:42 PM
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If you want game meats like venison or pheasant, you have to look for a specialty butcher. Any reasonably large city should have one. There's one near me (suburbs north of Seattle) that even carries ostrich and alligator along with the more obvious options like bison, elk, deer.

In regards to lamb, I'm an American who loves it, but it's so expensive here. At my Costco, a rack of lamb is $16/lb. I can get lobster for $20/lb! Meanwhile, even the boneless leg of lamb is $6/lb. Ribeye steaks are only $8/lb and a roast like tri-tip is $6/lb. Compare all this to pork at about $2.50/lb and chicken at $1.20/lb. So lamb is something I get when I want something nice, but it has a lot of competition in the nice category. In the end, I only eat lamb about a dozen times a year.

Going back to roast pork... I do roast pork sandwiches when I have leftovers from dinner. It's OK... but only OK. It has all the potential for dryness as turkey and even less inherent flavor. You can always add flavor to pork... but I'm pretty sure that's what I call ham. So color me as an American who would never even think to order roast pork from a deli.
#25
Old 11-13-2013, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
In regards to lamb, I'm an American who loves it, but it's so expensive here. At my Costco, a rack of lamb is $16/lb. I can get lobster for $20/lb! Meanwhile, even the boneless leg of lamb is $6/lb.
If you have a Middle Eastern or South Asian (Indo-Pak) part of town, you might get have better luck with prices. I don't know what rack goes for, as I generally buy the slow-cooking cuts, but shoulder goes for about $2.50-$3/lb around here.
#26
Old 11-13-2013, 02:41 PM
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If you have a Middle Eastern or South Asian (Indo-Pak) part of town, you might get have better luck with prices. I don't know what rack goes for, as I generally buy the slow-cooking cuts, but shoulder goes for about $2.50-$3/lb around here.
I'll have to look into that. I don't know of anything off the top of my head, but the guy down the hall at my office building is always trying to get us to try Indian foods. He would certainly know.
#27
Old 11-13-2013, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Yes. We pretty eat only four meats: chicken, beef, pork, and turkey. The average American eats about 110 pounds of meat in a year and less than eight ounces of it is lamb (and that's an average - the reality is most Americans don't eat any lamb). To put it in perspective, the average American annual consumption of lamb is lower than the average Israeli annual consumption of pork.
More lamb for me Though yes it is a pain in the ass to find lamb, though one time you will find it is around Easter.
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
If you want game meats like venison or pheasant, you have to look for a specialty butcher. Any reasonably large city should have one. There's one near me (suburbs north of Seattle) that even carries ostrich and alligator along with the more obvious options like bison, elk, deer.

Going back to roast pork... I do roast pork sandwiches when I have leftovers from dinner. It's OK... but only OK. It has all the potential for dryness as turkey and even less inherent flavor. You can always add flavor to pork... but I'm pretty sure that's what I call ham. So color me as an American who would never even think to order roast pork from a deli.
And for some damned reason there really isn't a butcher shop around that carries game anywhere short of either Boston or NY, I am in the desert between them. Anything other than the basic boring 4 is fairly expensive.

And thank the morons who are breeding low fat pork for the dryness. If you luck out and can get some of the heirloom fatty pigs, you can still get moist pork, although not cooking it into well done leather helps the moistness - the FDA has actually determined that you can have rare or medium pork ...
#28
Old 11-13-2013, 06:11 PM
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I just bought some sliced pork loin in a deli, not a week ago. I don't know the brand, but it was pork loin (not a solid 'white' but white and a darker piece), tightly packed in a long round roll and sliced thin. It's not common, like the dozens of hams, salamis, pastramis, bolognas, chicken and turkey, etc. but it's in the deli case. This was in a big grocery store deli.
#29
Old 11-13-2013, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
If you want game meats like venison or pheasant, you have to look for a specialty butcher. Any reasonably large city should have one. There's one near me (suburbs north of Seattle) that even carries ostrich and alligator along with the more obvious options like bison, elk, deer.
.
Minneapolis has a big Somali population. Within three miles of me I can get camel and goat.

I suspect part of the deal in the U.S. Is that there it is such a melting pot. Mainstream grocers can't carry everything, so they pick what sells. In a large city specialty markets will meet the need for camel.
#30
Old 11-13-2013, 07:17 PM
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Minneapolis has a big Somali population. Within three miles of me I can get camel and goat.
No kidding? Didn't realize camel got sold in the US. Goat I can find relatively easily (although a lot of it isn't--apparently--really goat, but mutton. However when you go to the grocery and see the big goat head there for sale, you figure it's legit. ETA: Actually, to be precise, I should say what is sold under the name "chivo," which means "goat" in Spanish, is sometimes actually mutton.) Wonder what camel is like.

Last edited by pulykamell; 11-13-2013 at 07:19 PM.
#31
Old 11-13-2013, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
I've always found that quite surprising and didn't know if it was true, as lamb is so popular in many countries, including the UK and Italy where many Americans can trace their heritage. They also don't eat much lamb in Germany – I wonder if German immigrants have influenced US cuisine to that extent?
. Nope, the anti-lamb thing goes back to WWII when many U.S troops were in the South Pacific and got sick of mutton. Vile, not like lamb.

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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Lamb is, indeed, not very often eaten here, but more often than not, supermarkets, at least around here, will carry at least lamb chops.
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
In regards to lamb, I'm an American who loves it, but it's so expensive here. At my Costco, a rack of lamb is $16/lb. I can get lobster for $20/lb! Meanwhile, even the boneless leg of lamb is $6/lb. Ribeye steaks are only $8/lb and a roast like tri-tip is $6/lb. Compare all this to pork at about $2.50/lb and chicken at $1.20/lb. So lamb is something I get when I want something nice, but it has a lot of competition in the nice category. In the end, I only eat lamb about a dozen times a year.
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Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
More lamb for me Though yes it is a pain in the ass to find lamb, though one time you will find it is around Easter.
I'm pretty sure I'm telling you mainstream info on the availability of lamb in mainstream U.S.

I live in Akron Ohio, about typical mainstream. I can go out to my two mainstream groceries(Giant Eagle and Acme) and get, on any given day, ground lamb, lamb chops for sure, leg of lamb, shoulder chops, sometimes sirloin chops(a bargain) and rack of lamb. Rack of lamb is almost always from New Zealand, as are the other cuts. This is the cheapest lamb in the US. Lamb that is from Colorado and points West is more expensive than imported NZ lamb. But, worth it. NZ rack is $16 US. Domestic rack is $22-25/lb. Worth every penny.
#32
Old 11-13-2013, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
I live in Akron Ohio, about typical mainstream. I can go out to my two mainstream groceries(Giant Eagle and Acme) and get, on any given day, ground lamb, lamb chops for sure, leg of lamb, shoulder chops, sometimes sirloin chops(a bargain) and rack of lamb.
That actually is pretty impressive. I'm in Chicago, and I have to know where to go to get most of that. I wish my local grocery had ground lamb always.
#33
Old 11-14-2013, 04:17 AM
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That actually is pretty impressive. I'm in Chicago, and I have to know where to go to get most of that. I wish my local grocery had ground lamb always.
Can't make a shepherd's pie without it! Of course, you could always grind your own. I use one of those manual meat grinders you attach to your kitchen work surface.
#34
Old 11-14-2013, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Kyrie Eleison View Post
Of course, I generalize. I'm sure there's a deli out there somewhere that has roast pork. But in this area, if you go to the deli counter at any local supermarket, you'll find roast turkey, roast chicken, roast beef, and numerous varieties of ham, but no roast pork. Indeed, looking at the Boar's Head product list confirms that the most prominent deli meat producer doesn't even make it. Closest thing they have is porketta.

I love a good Cuban sandwich, but I can only make them when I have roast pork leftovers because it seems the only way to get roast pork is to make your own.

What's the deal? Not enough demand? Too difficult to make a good product with a decent shelf life? Why no roast pork in the deli?
When I moved from NYC/NJ to NC I also had trouble finding roast pork for Cuban sandwiches. My local grocery now offers a chunk of roasted pork loin a few days each week in the hot section of the deli, along with the rotisserie chicken. I've found that makes fantastic Cuban sandwiches.


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Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
Nah, it's very common here in the UK (supermarket sample). It sounds like a US thing. Is it true you guys also don't eat much lamb?
I never had lamb growing up in NJ. It was just not a meat my parents ate. My ex-wife's family is originally from Spain and they eat a lot of lamb, so I have grown to really appreciate it. My kids love it too. They prefer burgers made with ground lamb to ground beef. It is pricey here though.
#35
Old 11-14-2013, 07:46 AM
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I never had lamb growing up in NJ. It was just not a meat my parents ate. My ex-wife's family is originally from Spain and they eat a lot of lamb, so I have grown to really appreciate it. My kids love it too. They prefer burgers made with ground lamb to ground beef. It is pricey here though.
It's roughly equivalent in price to beef in the UK (depending on the cut of course). Pork and chicken are a lot cheaper.
#36
Old 11-14-2013, 07:51 AM
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My ground lamb in Akron costs $6.99 lb. U.S.
#37
Old 11-14-2013, 08:10 AM
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My ground lamb in Akron costs $6.99 lb. U.S.
I pay roughly $5.40 for ground lamb.
#38
Old 11-14-2013, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post

I'm pretty sure I'm telling you mainstream info on the availability of lamb in mainstream U.S.

I live in Akron Ohio, about typical mainstream. I can go out to my two mainstream groceries(Giant Eagle and Acme) and get, on any given day, ground lamb, lamb chops for sure, leg of lamb, shoulder chops, sometimes sirloin chops(a bargain) and rack of lamb. Rack of lamb is almost always from New Zealand, as are the other cuts. This is the cheapest lamb in the US. Lamb that is from Colorado and points West is more expensive than imported NZ lamb. But, worth it. NZ rack is $16 US. Domestic rack is $22-25/lb. Worth every penny.
Same here. Well, I'm not sure about prices, but lamb is very easy to find in Atlanta grocery stores.
#39
Old 11-14-2013, 09:58 AM
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$7.99 for a shrink-wrapped 1lb. package here.
#40
Old 11-14-2013, 10:16 AM
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Can't make a shepherd's pie without it! Of course, you could always grind your own. I use one of those manual meat grinders you attach to your kitchen work surface.
You're one of those "cottage pie" people aren't you? (That is, shepherd's pie isn't shepherd's pie unless it has lamb. With beef, it's cottage pie.) I'll take it either way, but I certainly prefer it with lamb.

Grinding would be fine if most of the groceries carried good cuts to grind. Mostly, if I see lamb, it's just chops and possibly leg around Easter. (I mean, if I don't go to the Middle Eastern neighborhood or the Halal butcher a few miles from my house--then you can even find whole lamb carcasses if you want them.)

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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
My ground lamb in Akron costs $6.99 lb. U.S.
Holy crap. It's like $3/lb here when I find it. (ETA: I should add that when I find it, it's typically at the places that sell all sorts of lamb. No idea what it goes for at a regular supermarket, as I don't see it often there.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 11-14-2013 at 10:17 AM.
#41
Old 11-14-2013, 11:38 AM
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You're one of those "cottage pie" people aren't you? (That is, shepherd's pie isn't shepherd's pie unless it has lamb. With beef, it's cottage pie.) I'll take it either way, but I certainly prefer it with lamb.
Quite right Sir! Clue's in the name, after all.

Actually, I didn't know you lot 'did' shepherd's & cottage pie. Ignorance fought yet again!
#42
Old 11-14-2013, 11:47 AM
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Growing up this was probably my sole exposure to lamb as a food until the Seinfeld "Mutton" episode came along...

I actually recall my Mom saying she liked lamb but never made it at home. Either too expensive or Dad didn't like it, I don't know.
#43
Old 11-14-2013, 11:49 AM
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Schnucks or Dierbergs??

Go Blues...
Dierbergs of course!
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#44
Old 11-14-2013, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
Quite right Sir! Clue's in the name, after all.

Actually, I didn't know you lot 'did' shepherd's & cottage pie. Ignorance fought yet again!
Shepherd's pie is pretty common around here, and Irish pubs that serve food are a dime a dozen and will certainly have shepherd's pie. It is usually made from beef here, though. In my experience, very few people have heard of "cottage pie." It's not the usual name for the meat dish with mashed potato topping.

I've researched the issue of shepherd's vs cottage pie before, and there doesn't seem to be universal agreement that shepherd's pie means it must be lamb, and some sources make the distinction between shepherd's and cottage based on how the potatoes are prepared (I seem to recall one source saying cottage pie has something like tiles of sliced potatoes on it, resembling a cottage, instead of the mashed potatoes of shepherd's pie.)
The 19th century cookbooks I've looked through mostly seem to say to take leftover meat of any kind.

For example, here's a book from the 1850s published in Edinburgh that calls for "cold dressed meat of any kind." Here's a cookbook from 1887 published in New York that calls for roast beef. Here's one from London in 1890. That one calls for "1/2 pound cold meat (any scraps will do)."

I'm not cherry picking, either. Those are the first three Google books results I looked at. I suppose you can argue that the Scots, the English, and the Americans don't know what they're talking about (I haven't tried digging to specifically find Irish sources), but I don't think the distinction is agreed upon.
#45
Old 11-14-2013, 12:45 PM
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I suspect you're right, it's one of those things we could debate ad infinitum. So I'll stick with my 'shepherd's = lamb' thing, as it's what my mother taught me and my mother is Always Right TM.

Perhaps Shepherd's vs Cottage is a regional difference more than a meat difference?
#46
Old 11-14-2013, 01:01 PM
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I always heard that Shepherd's pie was made with anything other than lamb, as the shepherds couldn't afford to eat the lambs they were looking after. I'm sure that's just nonsense, but it was an intersting explanation.

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 11-14-2013 at 01:02 PM.
#47
Old 11-14-2013, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
I suspect you're right, it's one of those things we could debate ad infinitum. So I'll stick with my 'shepherd's = lamb' thing, as it's what my mother taught me and my mother is Always Right TM.

Perhaps Shepherd's vs Cottage is a regional difference more than a meat difference?
Could very well be. I used to be in the "shepherd's" = lamb camp, myself. Food is very regional, so it would not surprise me if the meanings differ. While looking up "cottage pie" in 19th century sources, I do see that the word was often used in the same way as "shepherd's pie," just asking for any kind of meat and topping it potatoes. I did find one cookbook with recipes for both shepherd's and cottage pies, and shepherd's pie is the familiar version of meat and mashed potatoes, while cottage pie is a layered potato casserole (alternating layers of sliced boiled potatoes and meat.)

If I search the first two decades of the 20th century, it seems the words are used interchangeably by some sources, then another calls "cottage pie" a crusted meat pie of some sort.

It could also be that the distinction is more recent and didn't start being made until the 20th century, too. And also that it's regional.
#48
Old 11-14-2013, 01:14 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 41,711
Quote:
Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
I always heard that Shepherd's pie was made with anything other than lamb, as the shepherds couldn't afford to eat the lambs they were looking after. I'm sure that's just nonsense, but it was an intersting explanation.
I've heard that one, too.

I guess in the end it doesn't matter. If where you live there is commonly a distinction made between "shepherd's pie" and "cottage pie" that involves what meat it's made from, that's fine by me. I'll just say that that's not as commonly understood here in the US, and it looks like that distinction wasn't always made historically.
#49
Old 11-14-2013, 05:47 PM
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Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Liverpool NY USA
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I was so inspired (and so not cooking this week) I went out and did get half a pound of thin sliced "Columbus fire roasted pork loin" from the deli. Shockingly expensive, but it smells wonderful! On pumpernickle, with lettuce, tomato, onion,and mayo.
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