Coming from Calgary, the two things I miss the most are cheap gas and great steak. Well okay, not so much the former; say what you want about the TTC, but it’s the most efficient transit system I’ve taken in this country. On the other hand, I can’t say the beef here beats what I used to eat back in Cowtown. (It probably doesn’t help that my building bans barbeques, and I don’t really know how to cook a steak in the first place, but nevertheless…) Sure, some Alberta beef is shipped to supermarkets across the country–it actually constitutes 35 per cent of cow products consumed in Canada–but now, it seems a great deal of it is contaminated, so it’s probably just as well I’m not buying top Alberta sirloin–or the less-than-top-cuts sold at Costco, anyways.
Mind you, with such a wide-ranging health-hazard list, coupled with a general warning to be better safe than sorry, nobody really wants to shake hands with beef these days. In fact, my new favourite downtown cheesesteak palace has a hand-written sign in its window saying “We don’t use Excel Foods (don’t be scared!)” in an attempt to reassure customers. Not sure if it’s working, but Microsoft spreadsheets aren’t to blame here. It’s XL Foods, a meat plant in small-town Brooks, AB, that’s brought the country to its knees, and even has some goofball at the Globe and Mail suggesting we might reconsider our meat consumption. Not me, that’s for sure. I’m a meatatarian; beef, bacon–on that note, I’m kinda bummed that the only Wendy’s in the downtown core is closed for renovations, but it seems they picked a pretty decent time to do so.
Rumour has it the outbreak, which has led to Alberta beef being banned at the US border, was caused because meatpackers didn’t notice there were cow patties in the ground beef. (I guess it sorta all blends in, eh?) Meanwhile, Ruth Ellen Brosseau blames government cutbacks, while several Quebeckers in the comment section are convinced that it’s all part of some great conspiracy for Alberta to cut down on its péréquation payments by wiping them off the face of the earth. (No, really!)
Now, because I clearly have a death wish, I ate at McDonald’s today. I had one of their so-called Angus burgers, which really doesn’t taste any different from their other burgers, cept it’s slightly more expensive. I can gladly report that I did not collapse in a fit of gastroenteritis, but then again, McDonald’s doesn’t use real beef in their burgers, right? (Well, actually it says here that they do. 100 per cent Canadian beef, in fact. Uh-oh…) In any case, they say you can kill E coli by cooking meat thoroughly, and making sure it’s not pink in the centre, so I don’t really see what the big deal is–unless you like your steak rare, in which case, you probably deserve to die, anyways.