February 19th, 2020

Where’s the beef?

By Letter to the Editor on May 15, 2019.

Do we have a conspiracy unfolding before our very eyes? I have noted over the last year that local supermarkets appear to be bringing in things that appear to look like meat, are advertised as meat – i.e. pork, beef, chicken – but strangely have no taste. No matter what you pay, it all seems to taste like tofu, and I have never tasted tofu!

Whatever happened to AAA or Blue Brand beef that had an actual taste? I have talked to butchers that insist they cannot get the best of beef in Alberta any more or it’s very hard to get. It appears our best Alberta beef/pork/chicken is being shipped out of the province and the local buyers are forced to take inferior meat products.

Is the plan by food stores in Lethbridge to provide “no taste meats”? (Has a ring to it.) Perhaps it’s a planetary conspiracy and the radical planet lovers give the grocers the “secret signal,” and the move to a plant-based chicken begins seamlessly.

If I was a meat producer in Alberta, I would be very concerned that someone or some group in Lethbridge (can’t speak for Alberta) is rifling off all the good meat to be sent off elsewhere so Albertans just keep chewing on the “$16 rubber” they are getting now and flip to a plant burger (sacrilegious, I know) because “it just can’t be that bad”!

Here is a tongue-in-cheek theory: the stores are using a buyer who buys animals that had a primary purpose of pulling a semi-trailer around the acreage. Then to ensure you don’t boycott the store for its bad meat, they bring in one prized bull/pig/chicken a year and “if,” like the lottery, you get lucky, you think they have changed their buying habits.

I will be watching for a chicken pulling a semi-trailer; you do the same. As the granny on the Wendy’s advertisement used to say, “Where’s the beef … and chicken and pork?”

Dennis Bremner


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14 Responses to “Where’s the beef?”

  1. h2ofield says:

    Well, Mr. ‘Spare time’, maybe you should see your doctor..or it’s a sign of old age that your taste buds are failing you. I had a couple of steaks last weekend with nothing on them and they tasted great.

  2. Resolute says:

    I hear that one’s sense of taste diminishes with age so that may be contributory. It is disheartening to learn our best beef is shipping out, similar to what our premium lumber has been doing for decades – pursuing the higher foreign price. Maybe you could start a cattle urban! Here bossy! Or… TBone!

  3. biff says:

    speaking only about beef: it should be concerning that even prime cuts require needling to tenderise them; to what do we owe this gross mechanical service? is it stress, due to the likes of filthy feedlots – that exist to serve a middle man and ensure we pay only the highest prices?; is it the transportation process, that treats the creatures as though they were inanimate objects like cars?; is it the bloody and wicked mass slaughter, that might be humane only if that being lined up for the kill were politicians and ceos?
    then we come to the exorbitant prices for beef. besides the meddling middlemen that pack the creatures into cramped and fetid lots, where they are stuffed with corn – a product that is not natural to their diets (and let us never forget where they also were fed beef products, then came mad cow, then came a bunch of whining sadists asking for massive govt handouts to remedy their greedy and savage “error”.
    and, were we not supposed to be seeing far cheaper beef prices, as per a report that is now close to a year old? meanwhile, when most of the beef is penned into cramped spaces to live among excrement for weeks and even months at a time, what should one expect alberta beef to taste like?

    • Dennis Bremner says:

      Good points biff. In the end, I think feed lots are the stepping stone to the eventual demise of the famed “Alberta Beef”. The name used to have meaning and Clout…now you might as well chew on a piece of tarred marlin and save yourself some money. Its not always like this. Sometimes you go into a store pick up a nice cut of beef or pork, and think my god I should have bought the store out and froze it, other times you wonder how they can call it meat. Its a lottery.

  4. snoutspot4 says:

    If one cannot tell the difference between beef, pork, chicken or what the person imagines tofu to taste of, then age-related decline in both olfactory and gustatory receptors most likely account for loss of taste and smell. Another pertinent variable in aging, is whether the person has full dentures. When I am cooking I have to take my top plate out to get all of the taste and smell. But you can’t chew anything without that top plate in. It also depends on previous occupations and exposure to noxious fumes without adequate safety equipment. As conspiracy theories go… corporation makes money by selling the top product to the person willing to pay the most. That’s called, business as usual.

  5. biff says:

    dennis – i feel you are quite right: we get fed a quality product just enough to keep us thinking it will always be good thereafter…and the other 15 times it is crap. kind of the way people get roped into vlt gaming.

  6. Seth Anthony says:

    It’s definitely become a hit and miss these days, but mostly miss. One thing I’ve really noticed is the lack of quality in the ground beef. Frying it up smells like it came from a very old and diseased cow. Yuck.

    Ditto on the animal conditions biff. They’re extraordinarily appalling. The argument of course is that doing it any other way would require massive amounts of land that are now used for agriculture, and it would also cause the cost of meat to be so high, that almost all wouldn’t be able to afford it.

  7. biff says:

    seth – re ground beef. years ago i switched over to buying ground beef from small producers that raise free range and grass fed. my favourite, which is raised in yak, bc., works out to about 8 bucks for 1.2 pounds. not cheap, but very, very tasty, and supports a more ethical model (never red outside, brown inside). i was once able to afford premium cuts from such producers, but life has changed. however, the cost of quality grass fed and free range rib, top sirloin, strip/tenderloin, tbone beef is now about as expensive as they are in big chains when the chains are not having a sale. and let us face it: when chains have sales, unless you get in there within a short time of the doors opening on the first sale day, you will usually end up with the very worst quality meat.

  8. Seth Anthony says:


    You’re as cynical as I am, so are you swallowing said marketing statements as free range, grass fed, organic, etc?

    I’m thinking all those terms are legally ambiguous and don’t mean what the average person think they do.

    Anyway….good for a laugh:


  9. Dennis Bremner says:

    I note some cattle associations are challenging the term meat on these plant based “thingies”. I would suggest that some of the meat that the cattle association is marketing as meat should also be contested!

  10. biff says:

    seth – while i am also cynical, upsides can be found to many things. here is a link that provides some true alternatives. while things can get expensive – do what one afford – it does provide opportunities to be the change one wants to see.

  11. Seth Anthony says:

    Biff, why are you not a vegan?

  12. biff says:

    there appears ample evidence that my brain is 100% vegan

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