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What’s in a name?

March 30, 2012
By Wes Burns , Times-Republican

"That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet."

Yep, Shakespeare quote. So obviously I'm talking about burgers.

Hear anything in the news lately about this "pink slime"?

While the professionally offended have spent the last few days railing against this great meat conspiracy against the American public a few of us have taken a step back, looked at our now infamous meat filler product and said "so"?

Is it gross? Sure. Its mechanically separated meat product, nothing about any of those words makes me want to watch the process happen. Then again, there are a lot of things I?don't want to see get made.

Members of the recent and seemingly all powerful Great American Food Police will say "Oh, it's terrible what they do with that meat! And then they try to sell it to us without our knowledge!"

Let me guess: You were complaining about this to your friends on your iPhone.

You want to see how one of those gets made?

But maybe it isn't the meat that's the problem. Maybe it's the process. Not the mechanical separation part; it may be off putting put spinning something really fast doesn't sound harmful to me.

People seem to be most concerned with the blast of ammonia gas to cleanse the meat.

Yeah, that does sound kind of horrible. Most people think of ammonia as something kept under the sink, not in our food.

After a little research I?found that this "pink slime" isn't the only disgusting food product that more than one Iowan has eaten.

Ever heard of Nixtamalizated corn?

Not wanting the beef industry to be the only secretive, destructive agribusiness in the state our corn producers have been selling us this nixtamalated corn for years!

What they do is take corn kernels and wash them in a mix of water and CALCIUM HYDROXIDE (used for sewage treatment and in the manufacture of brake pads) to make the corn softer and easier to eat. Then they drain it, can it, and serve it to an unsuspecting public.

For shame, corn industry!

They take a staple of our Iowa diet and turn it into some disgusting, processed food that no one would eat if they knew the process behind making it.

The beef industry couldn't get away with it, so why does the corn industry get a free pass?

Whereas the beef industry has its "pink slime" the corn industry hid their wretched processed food product with a nonsense name; they call it "hominy."

Quick! To the blogosphere! People must know!

Ok, I guess they already know about hominy. Apparently people have been eating it for years, pre-Columbian Americans made it. It's also quite popular in the southern United States, where they also eat chittlins.

So, hominy is just regular food that sounds strange if you create some lame nickname for it and describe the preparation process in full detail. And the people castigating the "pink slime" are just caught up in yet another passing food fad perpetrated by people who believe the word "plate" is a verb.

I think I need a burger.


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Friday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or



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