Shopping Discussion

Creating a Grocery Meat Cheat Sheet

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  • Apr 23rd, 2017 11:19 pm
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natalka wrote:
Apr 12th, 2017 5:32 am
No luck getting a Cook's ham - they didn't get them in on the weekend.
What is so attractive for you guys namely in that particular brand? It sits on the shelves without notable movement usually for another 2 weeks in nearby supermarkets priced at $0.97/lb on holidays and not changed thereafter, but not many folks are impressed enough to rush buying it. Its usually greatly under cooked and has enormous amounts of sodium and preservatives as most US produced meat products. In fact they say on packaging "Fully cooked", but then add right below "Heat 20 min" or so. So why you say its so good for you - just because of the price point? To be honest, it shows to me the US makers don't know what "ham" is and how to make it - just taste some German and Italian brands to compare. Keep in mind, their prices are higher mostly due to sufficient time dedicated to cook the product at factory resulting in lower residual weight, flights delivery across the ocean, and protectionist Customs Tariffs on food in North America. That lack of price competition allows NA agricultural, biochemical and food industries to massively lobby local politicians to block any legislature protecting population from hormones, herbicides, GMs, antibiotics and preservatives they add to food in enormous quantities along the entire production chain. But what about typical local ham taste - they hardly know what it should be. Same situation is with mass made local cheeses - they're mostly distinct from European by low prices and mediocre non-distinctive taste that comes with "modern" fast pace manufacturing process.
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arnycus wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 10:30 am
What is so attractive for you folks namely in that particular brand? It sits on the shelves without notable movement usually for another 2 weeks in nearby supermarkets priced at $0.97/lb on holidays and not changed thereafter, but not many folks are impressed enough to rush buying it.
That's just not accurate. This week in the flyers natural ham is $2.49-3.49/lb.
arnycus wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 10:30 am
Its usually greatly under cooked and has enormous amounts of sodium and preservatives as most US produced meat products. In fact they say on packaging "Fully cooked", but then add right below "Heat 20 min" or so.
20 minutes per lb, so 3-4 hours for a ham, trust me the bugger is cooked thereafter.
arnycus wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 10:30 am
So why you say its so good for you - just because of the price point? To be honest, it shows to me the US makers don't know what "ham" is and how to make it - just taste some German and Italian brands to compare. Keep in mind, their prices are higher mostly due to sufficient time dedicated to cook the product at factory resulting in lower residual weight, flights delivery across the ocean, and protectionist Customs Tariffs on food in North America. That lack of price competition allows NA agricultural, biochemical and food industries to massively lobby local politicians to block any legislature protecting population from hormones, herbicides, GMs, antibiotics and preservatives they add to food in enormous quantities along the entire production cycle. But what about typical local ham taste - they hardly know what it is. Same situation is with local cheeses - they're mostly distinct from European by low prices and mediocre quality that comes with "modern" fast pace production process.
I'm sorry but there aren't any German or Italian natural hams in any of the stores in this entire city. Whole parma ham, prosciutto, schinken maybe but natural ham no.

Euro parents - they did a lot of shopping at the delicatessen rather than supermarket so they could get their imported comfort foods - I have eaten a whole lot of Euro products in my lifetime. I totally do not agree that there are no high quality cheese and meat in North America (and I also disagree that it's cheap by default.)

Why so much reverence for Euro products? My father commented that when he arrived in the late 50's the products available in Canada were total crap compared to what was on offer in Europe but 60 years have passed and times have changed.
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lecale wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 11:01 am
That's just not accurate. This week in the flyers natural ham is $2.49-3.49/lb.
I'm talking real life stuff on the shelves right now, flyers aren't everything. :) Today bought that particular ham brand at NoFrills sold at $0.97/lb in anticipation of your post-cooking recipe, as most chains forbid in franchise contracts to raise prices on sale food stock ordered wholesale at sale flyer prices when left beyond sale deadlines.
lecale wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 11:01 am
20 minutes per lb, so 3-4 hours for a ham, trust me the bugger is cooked thereafter.
But what attracts you in Cook's ham? Maybe it depends on the source city - I bough made in Kansas? How exactly do you post-cook it after purchasing to preserve juice and softness, and not making it dry?
lecale wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 11:01 am
I'm sorry but there aren't any German or Italian natural hams in any of the stores in this entire city.
Based on what - supermarket flyers? Smiling Face With Open Mouth Get real, go to ethnic stores, Kensington market to get some tasty meat and cheese treasures.
lecale wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 11:01 am
60 years have passed and times have changed.
Yes, immigrants brought some food making recipes and culture (including bio cultures) to Canada, but it mostly affects high price low volume delicatessen meat and cheese market as you put it (thankfully dairy products market is an exception), nothing at sale price range in local supermarkets like NoFrills etc. You will be surprised, many European like packed, taste and named food brands sold in ethnic Toronto groceries, except some old cheeses, are in fact made in Canada in small immigrants setup factories, as per admission of their staff. Winking Face What makes it so hard then for mass food producers to follow their footsteps?
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arnycus wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 1:04 pm
How exactly do you post-cook it after purchasing to preserve juice and softness, and not making it dry?
You need a small pan with a rack, and the large size BBQ foil. Set the ham on the rack cut side down, make a nice tinfoil hat for it that covers all other sides, add a couple cups of water in the pan, 325 C degrees x between 2h30m and 3h20m on a 10 lb ham. (That's your 15 /20 minutes/lb numbers) We did ours 4h for a 11-lb ham because buddy likes things damn well cooked. Still not dry.

Afterwards save your drippings. We carve about 1/2 the ham off (big half) leaving the bone and 3-4 lbs ham. Then comes the obligatory bean soup which is a hot fave in the neighbourhood and the real reason for the ham. People will pay me money to make this soup.

Put your drippings and bone and 8 cups water and a couple cups of navy beans and maybe a tablespoon of Vegeta (vegetable stock powder) in a stock pot and simmer for an hour (or more) UNTIL the beans are edible but firm. Fish the bone out. If there is any meat on it give it to the dog because all the salt and flavour will be boiled out and it's just plain pork, not good for the soup, now. DO NOT give the ham *bone* to the dog because pork bones splinter and can cause $$$ vet bills.

Then add: a small diced rutabaga, a couple diced onions, 4 or so diced carrots, some diced potato if you like, 4 or so ribs of celery... at least 8 cups of vegetables, more ok. The finer you dice things the more people will appreciate it. Try to have a balanced quantity of each vegetable so no one veg overwhelms the soup. If you like herbs you can add some thyme and a bay leaf. Add some pepper too.

Let simmer for another hour until the beans break down a bit and all the veg is soft THEN add the reserved 3-4 lbs diced ham, give it another 15 minutes then done.

Note: every time you add something your soup will stop simmering so there will be some time before it gets back up to temp, THEN start counting the 1 hour of simmering etc., when it actually IS simmering.

Anyway the soup gets better with age as the beans continue to break down. I put the whole stock pot (cooled) in the fridge by day and during the day I put it on the stove at 1 out of 10 on the dial and let it heat up for the day - soup ready at any time. Then repeat (cool, store, retrieve, reheat...)

Alternatively you can boil the beans longer right at the start so they will break down further by the time you are done and you can freeze portions.

We also do a lot of ham & eggs, Monte Christo or Western sandwiches, that sort of thing when the ham is around.
arnycus wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 1:04 pm
Based on what - supermarket flyers? Smiling Face With Open Mouth Get real, go to ethnic stores, Kensington market to get some tasty meat and cheese treasures.
I have lived in Toronto but now I love in Cambridge which is whiter than white bread. Zehrs originally had a lot of German offerings because that is the founder's ethnicity but since T&T they have ditched that identity, tried to bring in more Indian/Asian stuff, seen it not sell in the area and gone pretty mainstream "Canadian". Anyway, this city is devoid of delis, Asian markets...lots of immigrants from the Middle East and *-istan so there are Halal stores about...but there are definitely some stores I miss (Brandt's deli being one of them). The interesting thing about Toronto when I lived there a couple of decades ago was that there were no German neighbourhoods/shops downtown because of the long shadow of the war. Growing up west of TO at least I was in the Zehrs zone and could get those things back then.

Part of my diatribe about cooking "Canadian" food is due to the fact that supermarkets are pretty well my only choice for shopping and they have a rather narrow selection. I didn't grow up on Canadian food for the most part so the chicken tetrazzini life is new to me. I can't handle stuff like that and try to make familiar things out of what's on offer in the supermarket.
arnycus wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 1:04 pm
Yes, immigrants brought some food making recipes and culture (including bio cultures) to Canada, but it mostly affects high price low volume delicatessen market as you put it, nothing at mass or sale price range in local supermarkets like NoFrills etc. You will be surprised, many European like food brands sold in ethnic Toronto groceries, except old cheeses, are in fact made in Canada in small immigrants setup factories, as per admission of their staff. Winking Face What makes it so hard then for mass food producers to follow their footsteps?
Well Brandt's and Pillers started small and at least Pillers is a true mass producer now. I think the cheese landscape in Canada is getting better and there are more options arising other than variations on Cheddar, damn the WASPs ;) What I miss in Canadian cheese is that there is little offered on the mushroomy/stinky side (like tilsit or harzer kase or limburger or all that good stuff). And then I want a proper fresh-baked rye bun with caraway seeds on top and, well, good luck with that. Even though there is a good German population in nearby KW, the ancient German deli in downtown Kitchener is long gone and your only chance for much of that type of goods is the annual Oktoberfest market at City Hall. There is a Polish deli in town but it's just not the same thing. We have a few Portuguese in the area, a Portuguese bakery and a market I don't like due to quality. There is a huge Newfie population in town and all the supermarkets carry Newfie food, which I would describe as borderline survivalist. Compared to nearby Guelph which is a university town, the food scene here is pretty bleak. You might think with a lot of people of UK origin that there would be a lot of UK stuff but there is not that either. It's "Canadian" food, which in large part means a lot of processed components for common recipes.

There is an Italian butcher/independant grocery store and I guess really I should make the effort to go. I am going to go there in the next two weeks just because you are picking on me lol and I will tell you if I still think things are as bad here as I described lol.

However, I think supermarkets really define the suburban experience anyway. I live in one of Cambridge's 3 downtowns but I am still supermarket-dependent because this is the land of no independent markets.
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Will try your recipe if I manage to do it like you. I was trying to say that Germans make ham and sausages not only of extreme variety, but also well prepared and ready to enjoy, while NA ham is often undercooked and may be risky to eat, while has no special taste, and it hardly depends on price.

It takes courage to be so dedicated to food topic as you do, and that's why we value pro knowledge carriers and dedicated fans so much. I can tell you in many supermarkets around Toronto sale items are kept on the shelves at the same prices until they are gone long after the sale. Some area managers trick the store owners to hike prices and likely share some proceeds, but on average it looks like large chains maintain their contract terms with franchises. In fact, current Toronto Mayor was leading Metro Chain before.
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arnycus wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 4:03 pm
while NA ham is often undercooked and may be risky to eat, while has no special taste, and it hardly depends on price.
What?
Most NA hams should be fully cooked. I don't recall seeing a ham (as in ham, not the fresh uncured ham) being not cooked.

I do agree, they're salt bombs though. Plus "tasteless" compared to better hams.
But you can't argue the price. They're quite often under a buck a pound.
They make decent sandwich fodder and additions to things like soup.

I'm not entirely sure you CAN dry out a cheap ham.
They're so full of phosphates that I'd be surprised you can cook the water out of it unless you're cooking it for a week.
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Yaah, it doesn't taste like a fully cooked meat despite being soft on teeth and seemingly eatable, and says "Fully Cooked" and then "Cook more" on the sticker. :) If you boil it in the oven to post-cook, it gets dry rather quickly once out. Its better to pour that water into a kitchen sink rather than your soup.
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Sask.
Ended up getting a Compliments ham from Sobeys, it was very good.
Never cooked a ham that ended up dry, guess it's different for everyone's cooking method. Mine is similar to lecale's.
I insert many garlic cloves throughout the ham, and in the last hour I brush on a glaze a few times.
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death_hawk wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 4:40 pm
What?
Most NA hams should be fully cooked. I don't recall seeing a ham (as in ham, not the fresh uncured ham) being not cooked.
Used to be I think that the Cook's hams were "partially" cooked, according to the label, so I am actually astonished to note that they are now "fully" cooked.
death_hawk wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 4:40 pm
I'm not entirely sure you CAN dry out a cheap ham.
They're so full of phosphates that I'd be surprised you can cook the water out of it unless you're cooking it for a week.
Oh yeah, leave them uncovered in the oven for a few hours and you'll have ham jerky.
arnycus wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 5:54 pm
Yaah, it doesn't taste like a fully cooked meat despite being soft on teeth and seemingly eatable, and says "Fully Cooked" and then "Cook more" on the sticker. :) If you boil it in the oven to post-cook, it gets dry rather quickly once out.
Boil - no, that's for Newfies that are used to boiling the salt out of salt beef and cod. Ham should go straight in the oven with no prior messing around.
arnycus wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 5:54 pm
Its better to pour that water into a kitchen sink rather than your soup.
Whaaa? But that's the stock and so precious in this house I will freeze and save it. Pretty well the secret to a good soup.
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lecale wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 8:15 pm
Used to be I think that the Cook's hams were "partially" cooked, according to the label, so I am actually astonished to note that they are now "fully" cooked.
Might be a recentish thing.
It kind of makes sense since due to the size and people not knowing how to cook they'd end up undercooking it which could be a safety issue.
Fully cooking would fix that.
Also I wonder what "fully cooked" actually means.
Technically as long as they hit a certain temperature, it's technically fully cooked. But the texture might not be what people are used to.

Oh yeah, leave them uncovered in the oven for a few hours and you'll have ham jerky.
You guys cover your hams? I never have and I've never had ham jerky.
The only time I get ham jerky is under a heat lamp after slicing.
But whole hams?
Boil - no, that's for Newfies that are used to boiling the salt out of salt beef and cod. Ham should go straight in the oven with no prior messing around.
I don't know.... hams nowadays are so salty that a pre oven soak wouldn't be that bad.
Whaaa? But that's the stock and so precious in this house I will freeze and save it. Pretty well the secret to a good soup.
Indeed. Too much stock (or potential stock) is tossed away every day.
That's usually the difference between home and restaurant cooking. Restaurants (well proper ones) know how to liberate the flavor out of places the average home cook doesn't.
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death_hawk wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 8:25 pm
You guys cover your hams? I never have and I've never had ham jerky.
The only time I get ham jerky is under a heat lamp after slicing.
But whole hams?
Well I can vouch for the fact that it works. I don't know if the ham would have survived the extra-long roast without the tinfoil hat.

Days of yore it would have been decorated with pineapple rings and marachino cherries pegged on by cloves. I am ok with the tinfoil!
death_hawk wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 8:25 pm
I don't know.... hams nowadays are so salty that a pre oven soak wouldn't be that bad.
Now I don't know. However historically pickles and so forth were a heck of a lot saltier because they needed things to survive tougher conditions. There is a general trend in the industry to reduce salt now. Doesn't mean that ham isn't damn salty but the trend over the last decades has been less salt.
death_hawk wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 8:25 pm
Indeed. Too much stock (or potential stock) is tossed away every day.
That's usually the difference between home and restaurant cooking. Restaurants (well proper ones) know how to liberate the flavor out of places the average home cook doesn't.
I used to not salt my veg so I could use the water to fertilize my plants, honest. Salted after the houseplants were taken care of. With all the animals I grew up with...all the food scraps got sorted out, carrot and apple peels for the horses, just about everything for the chickens, some stuff for the bird feeder, leftovers for the dog, leftover leftovers (tea bags and citrus peels) to the compost. You had better believe the humans got the first cut, and that totally includes drippings!
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...and in case you wondering, this week's flyer offers were craptacular. Nothing is on for a great price and only 3-4 flyers have a ok price on anything.

Weird because this is the third week of the month and usually the prices are down to encourage those on a fixed income to spend what is left of their monthly cheque. Holiday must have screwed things up?
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Some years back major chains were driving traffic to the stores with good flyers right after holidays. Now it seems like people spend everything during major holidays, so no purpose for more incentives, when there are always some sale leftovers in stores with red stickers. In fact, this week many stores looked empty most of the time, except in downtown areas. Housing prices risen with earnings frozen make people cut on food supply, especially unneeded one as was often the case before.

I agree that ham soup is excellent, but the problem is, how do you fight all the bad stuff they pore into it? Not everyone agrees to voluntary consume it, especially those well familiar with consequences. Disappointed But Relieved Face Would be interesting to learn, how do you soak sodium out of ham without boiling it? In contrast, people place chicken into salt water for an hour before roasting them to preserve meat drying out and make them juicy. Amazingly, it doesn't taste salty after that.

@lecale
Tea bags in 1960s ?! :facepalm:
Last edited by arnycus on Apr 20th, 2017 10:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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lecale wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 8:48 pm
...and in case you wondering, this week's flyer offers were craptacular. Nothing is on for a great price and only 3-4 flyers have a ok price on anything.

Weird because this is the third week of the month and usually the prices are down to encourage those on a fixed income to spend what is left of their monthly cheque. Holiday must have screwed things up?
Wasn't today Baby Bonus day? Extra money floating around.
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bonterra wrote:
Apr 20th, 2017 10:47 pm
Wasn't today Baby Bonus day? Extra money floating around.
Hmmm, maybe that's why they always seem to offer a 3rd week kick. I'm hypothesizing why, but there seems to be something special about the 3rd week. Maybe it is the baby bonus, would make a lot of sense.

4/4 months just past (since I have been tracking) I have gotten a 7,500 pts on $75 PC Plus offer on the third week of the month. One hour to go to see if I get it again.
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