My most recent column to be published in Jylkkäri entitled "Marinated Meat"
Summer is here and so is the grilling season. There is nothing I enjoy more that meat grilled over flame, and it isn’t some romanticism for the primeval that appeals to me when grilling – it’s the flavor. Occasionally though, I do long for the days of old, before Finland’s meat packagers realized that they could truly screw us over by doing us the favor of “marinating” our meat for us.
Nothing pisses me off more than swinging through the meat aisle at the grocery store and realizing that the only meat left for sale is of the so-called “marinated” variety. Swimming in a sickly smelling, MSG-tainted goop that could only have been concocted in an industrial test kitchen by culinary incompetents who have had their taste buds burned off with drain cleaner, factory-marinated meat as available in Finland is quite possibly the biggest scam that the food industry has come up with since kalakukko in a can.
With a price per kilo equal to that of meat in its non-marinated form, the consumer ends of paying quite a bit more for a few hundred grams less meat and a few hundred grams more of that foul slime they call marinade. And why is it often the only option at the grocery store? Because nobody wants to buy that shit, and everyone who made it to the store before you did bought the meat that that hasn’t been tainted by the processors.
If you are unlucky enough to end up having to buy meat drenched in that nasty shit, I suggest rinsing it well; otherwise your grill will become hopelessly gummed up with an impossibly gluey smegma that won’t come off without the aid of solvents that have been banned for household use in the developed world since the early 1970’s.
The industrial marinade problem can be avoided by frequenting groceries that have an actual in-house meat counter, but if you are running on a tight schedule like I often am, you might not have the time to take a number and wait for a dozen grannies to buy 25 grams of pork belly and four slices of mettwurst apiece before your number comes up. When this is the case, and there is nothing to be found in the meat aisle but chicken breasts and pork loin floating in tubs of what would appear to be the vomit of a very ill hobo, I exercise my only other option, which is to prepare my family’s next meal in a meat-free manner. Thanks to the Finnish meat industry, I’m well on my way to becoming an involuntary vegetarian.