Deli Counter Horror


Last night I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things for the week, including some lunchmeat for G’s sandwiches. He is pretty simple, turkey and chicken, sliced for sandwiches. Great.

But, while I was there, omg, you guys… I cannot even describe my face of HORROR…. Head cheese. Yup, I saw a vacuum-sealed deli meat container of head cheese.


What is head cheese, you ask? (And you should ask. If you know, I am worried about your eating habits). According to our friend Wikipedia:

Head cheese … is a cold cut that originated in Europe… Head cheese is not a dairy cheese, but a terrine or meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig, or less commonly a sheep or cow, and often set in aspic. The parts of the head used vary, but the brain, eyes, and ears are usually removed. The tongue, and sometimes even the feet and heart, may be included.


I just feel like this is not ok. In a world where we have such delicacies as… real food…. Why would we eat gelatinized head juice of pig?

I am not a huge delimeat person, anyway, as the processing and the vacuum sealing of meat pieces does not appeal to me. Eating poor quality deli meat makes me feel…. questionable.   Katie has a thing about “sweaty” meat, which describes deli meat that has clearly been out for a while, might not be the freshest, and usually has a sheen and a sliminess to it….


So I looked it up. And essentially, there are 3 types of deli meats.

  1. Fresh Cooked – Basically cooked with spices, sliced, and served
  2. Moderately Processed – Excess meat removed from bone, ground together; “once ground, they are emulsified into a soft cake-like batter where flavors, additives, and binders are added so that they can form a mold.”
  3. Very Processed – Similar process as above, but can be a mixture of different types of meat, “mixture of meats (like beef, veal, turkey, chicken) that are ground together to the right consistency, blended to a paste, vacuumed to remove excess air and protect from bacterial growth, emulsified, added with preservatives and sugars to begin fermentation process, and cased into its shape (usually cylindrical).” Then aged, cooked, and sliced and served.

I don’t know about you, but that really upsets me. I mean, we haven’t even talked about free-raged chicken, or the corn-fed beef, or anything, we are just talking about emulsified” meat blends. VOMIT!!!!

And then there are the preservatives pumped into the blend. I don’t even recognize most of these words (see this article for details), but I am pretttttty sure they’re not good for us.

So, my friends, choose wisely at the deli. Cheese is cheese, but meat is not always meat. Go natural. Go organic.  And for god’s sake, no head cheese!


And just because I couldn’t resist:

Blood Tongue Sausage:
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