Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shopping for Meat

Sometimes it seems even the simplest things are more difficult in a foreign language.  Today I walked to the store to buy a cut of beef for the steak sandwiches we're making tonight.  I needed a 12-ounce beef strip steak.  I'm not actually all that confident with choosing cuts of beef in the States, either, so I looked up what that is. I decided sirloin could work, too, so I looked that up on and found Filet or Lende.  On the way to the store I realized I did not remember how much beef I'd need.  This would not be a disaster except that I would need to guess in grams rather than pounds or ounces, and I have not yet learned the conversion equations. I also don't have a sense of how much a gram is, which makes estimating tough.

I went first to the cookbook section of the store to search for a beef steak recipe.  I found one for roast beef for 4 persons calling for 1 kg of roast beef. I'd need enough meat for two persons.  Ok, on to the meat department.

Although I was hoping for little signs next to the cuts of meat so I could be sure I was asking for what looked like the strip steak I needed, the signs are all lined up in the front part of the window. Those identify what they have and how much it costs, but not which cut of meat in the cabinet belongs with each sign. I'm sure they're assuming that shoppers know what the heck they need.  Hm.  I saw advertisement signs also - near to the cut that looked promising - for "irisches Beef," or Irish beef. Wait. That's not going to be corned beef, is it? Isn't that only sold around St. Patrick's Day? It  could, and probably does, just mean the cow was a former resident of Ireland.  But I don't want to take chances here. Beef is expensive.

So I said to the kind butcher "Ich hätte gern 500 gram Rinderfilet [I'd like 500 grams of the Rinderfilet]." Rind is beef, and told me Filet is a word for sirloin.  What he reached for was not strip steak or sirloin.  I recognize that cut - it's tenderloin!  NO!! Wait!  Not the...oh never mind. He hacked the tenderloin in half and weighed it - just about 500 grams. I can do these sandwiches with tenderloin, right?  I held my breath while he printed the ticket for the beef -  20.57 ($26.43). 

Maybe Martin would prefer to grill our dinner tonight.

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