Mena and Their Meat!

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I work for the largest retail chain in the United States—make that the world, or the entire galaxy—to infinity and beyond! I had a customer tell me the other day, that he read an article stating the number of total employees within this company, world-wide, could the fill the city of Houston, or Austin, or Dallas. I don’t remember which one, but it WAS a large city in Texas. I remember that much.

I do have a home-base department, but I am rarely there. I move in and out of six different departments, all on the grocery side. For someone with slight ADD tendencies, this is not a bad idea, as I am never bored at work. I like what I do with one exception . . .

The much dreaded meat department.

The meat department is cold. Anyone who knows me well, knows that any temperature below 75 degrees has me pulling into fetal position . . . covered up with as many quilts as I can get my hands on. Dressed in sweats and sweaters . . . Whining about moving to Brazil . . . or looking for a womb. Any place warm with water.

I even have a separate wardrobe for that department. Fur lined boots, a size too big, so I can wear several pairs of socks. Always, at least two shirts. And gloves. Lots and lots of tissue, because I WILL end up sick.

Suffice it to say, I do not do cold well.

Even in the meat department, though, I can have my fun. People ask me about a cut of meat and I do not know what to tell them. I never developed a real taste for meat, even as a child. (Fish, however, is an entirely different matter . . .) These people, the ones that ask me questions, have two reactions when I tell them that I rarely eat meat. The first one is utter shock; or they laugh at the irony of me working in the meat department. I prefer the latter. I love irony. I just don’t love meat.

Give me some salmon and get outta my way. Or tofu. Or beans . . . anything but a steak.

It isn’t a moral issue, here; it’s a matter of taste.

One thing I do LOVE about the meat department is watching the men shop. To men, picking the perfect cut of meat is a fine art. I don’t get it, I’ll never understand it, but it is fun to watch . . . A man can be out of bed, dressed and ready to go to work in ten minutes or less, but it will take him thirty minutes or more to pick out the perfect steak or slab of ribs.

They start by meandering up and down the aisle, looking to zone in on the cut of whichever dead animal they may decide on. Trust me, it is hardly ever the chicken. They stop, stare, and the fun begins . . .

And cost is never a factor with these men. It’s the hunt that counts; their “YAHOO” moment.


They find the cut they want. They rifle through every package of said cut. They pick the packages up, hold them in both hands, like they’re holding onto something precious, and stare. And stare some more. (At WHAT, I’ll never know. It all looks the same to me.) They handle that package with tender, loving, care. Caress it. Pat it. Lust over it. It’s an amazing dance. They’ll do this several times before a decision can be made.

I swear to you, while this is going on, Angelina Jolie could glide down that aisle. Nude . . . in five-inch stilettos . . . and not garner a second look.

Yesterday, a man asked me to help him pick out his steak. I knew I was in deep trouble. “Hun,” he says, “What makes a good steak?” (Uh-oh.) I told him that, from what I understand, you look for a piece that is nicely marbleized, that way, you can grill it and it will remain moist and tender. “Hun,” he says, “Do you think this is a good ‘un?” (Again, uh-oh) I didn’t think so. It had a big hunk of fat going through it. “Don’t you know about steak?” he asked. (Third uh-oh.) Admittedly, not that much. “What are you, hun . . . one of them people?” Well, yeah . . . Kinda, sorta . . .

A couple of minutes later, I see this same man conferring with one of my co-workers . . . who had thankfully, just returned from a break. Did I mention he was a male co-worker? And yes, they were examining whatever cut they were looking at like it was a quest for nirvana, or a mutual epiphany. Hallelujah. Amen. Pass the A-1.

So, ladies, when a man tells you he is going to the market to “check out the meat“, don’t get mad at him and don’t expect him to be home for a while . . . And trust me, if he’s in that meat department, you don’t even have to worry that another woman will manage to grab his attention. He really is just checking out the meat . . . intently.

Fire up that grill, baby. 


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