My sister Dianne and I had an interesting exchange once pink slime hit the media headlines — its front page status in an odd way proving "If it bleeds it leads."
Eew! I know. But just how can one be pretty when talking about eating connective tissue laced with parasites, blood vessels and cartilage — topped off with a bit of ammonia hydroxide, as reported by Dr. Michael Greger on the Huffington Post.
Well Dianne, a nurse in Mississippi, accustomed to all sorts of things others might find disgusting, had an unexpected response when I brought up the pink concoction, which we will get to. But first a little background.
My exchange with her started because once the news came out, I was worried about her family. I knew well their propensity for all things meat. In their teens, my nephews ate two vegetables — potatoes and lettuce, that's it — not making this up.
After years of coaxing and educational instruction by my sister, their vegetable repertoire remained potatoes and lettuce.
At that point, I realized when volumes of wisdom weren't working, the smartest thing to do might be something stupid. So I did my auntly duty and bribed my nephews — offering $50 bucks for each vegetable they added to their plates and ate twice a week for six weeks.
I know this flies smack in the face of psychology. But hey, one nephew permanently added corn, the other lima beans and broccoli — and all for a mere $150. A bargain as I see it.
Although, according to the Cleveland Clinic pathologists' study that Greger cited in his article, pink slime has some meat in it — 2.1 percent to 14.8 percent — I was still concerned about its remaining cacophony of ingredients.
So when fear of my sister and her family wolfing down massive volumes of it struck, I texted her.
"Stay away from pink slime. Seriously — Google it."
Her response was, "Already know about it from public radio. Ahll have your pink slime, I love it! Ahll have pink, pink, pink, baked beans and pink slime... pinkity pink wonderful pink!"
For those of you who don't recognize anything familiar in my sister's reference, maybe this rings a few bells?
"Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!"
How about, "What do you mean? An African or European swallow?"
Still not getting it? Think Monty Python and spam. The original goes something like this:
The husband of a woman who hates spam and refuses to eat it, says, "I'll have your spam. I love it. I'm having spam spam spam spam spam spam spam beaked beans spam spam spam and spam!"
In the background a chorus of Vikings sing, "Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!"
It's much more involved, so check out the video, and it may make more sense — or not. Even if you don't get it, for those of us over 30, okay maybe more, ahem, it still evokes a grin.
Whether or not my sister was serious, I'll leave to your imagination. She's on a liquid shake diet right now. Perhaps anything she can actually chew on tops drinking her dinner.
As for me, a lot of the hamburger sold in stores has struck me as strange for years. I wasn't sure of the chemical, but I knew when I whiffed it, it wasn't a meat smell that rose first.
I eventually resorted to picking out cheap but good steaks and asking the butcher to grind them into hamburger for me. Sometimes they'd pause for a second. But usually they were polite and brought something back that looked and smelled far better than what came pre-packaged.
So if you want my pink slime, or my spam for that matter — all yours — Ahll even throw in the baked beans!