Cheap cuts on the menu. But is that a bad thing?

The idea of ‘cheap food’ doesn’t sell that well with foodies.

Cheap = fast= nasty.

Huge glutinous plates of all-you-can-gorge buffets and buckets of trans fat glow in the dark bonelessness spring to mind.

But it seems there’s a growing desire to get more out of the produce we buy and it’s interesting to start to see this currently being reflected back at us in the latest wave of TV food shows.

This week, Channel 4s new Food show kicked off. OK the ‘investigation’ into the cost of supermarket baskets was almost insultingly obvious (Waitrose pricey, Asda cheaper. Fancy that!) but it is also highlighting so called cheap cuts such as this recipe for pork cheek ragu.

It was also interesting to hear food writer Diana Henry talking about the same issue on today’s Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. She made the point that cheap cuts are often seen as less popular things such as offal but that actually many were the traditional cuts of meat which have been overlooked. During the interview she also makes the point that meat doesn’t have to be the main focus of the meal and suggested listeners find more interesting things to do with the veg.

Maybe it’s the start of a new austerity brought about by necessity.

Possibly it’s got a lot to do with commissioning editors not wanting to push content which seems extravagant or overly indulgent

Either way, rediscovering some of the dishes from our past and seeking out ingredients available close to home sounds like a good way to reconnect with food and worth some experimentation.

What’s your favourite cheap cut? Let me know how you cook it below.


3 thoughts on “Cheap cuts on the menu. But is that a bad thing?

  1. …Of course Cheap cuts belong on the menu. We’ve been eating them years but only just appear to have re-entered the public’s orbit; mostly due to the championing of offal, shin, pork belly etc by the media during the Credit Crunch. Obviously this is good thing; take Pork Belly for instance (my favourite)- ask around, you’d be amazed how many people actually love it; it’s as ubiquitous as Sausage and Mash in restuarants now. However, I don’t buy that we ever stopped eating them to be honest – cheap cuts have just gained more followers.


  2. I’m a young guy (24) and I’ve got to say that programs like the ones mentioned here have really brought cheaper cuts to my attention. I enjoy kidney’s and liver but it isn’t something I could have often as I find it incredible rich.

    If we’re talking cheaper cuts of ‘meat’ then I’d say I actually prefer them! Give me a bit of beef shin over a fillet any day. It’s so rich and a full of flavour. I find people who plump for fillet usually have lots of money and little time and therefore get rewarded with little flavour (albeit from a tender cut).

    My favourite way to do shin is as a beef and ale stew with suet dumplings. 2.5hrs. perfect.

    As leigh said, pork belly is great too. Great for crackling and it has a tendency to make me go “mmm…”.

    I do wonder though, do you end up paying more for the meal once the utility bills have come through?


    Sarah, do you ever review restaurants in the harrogate area. I’ve just started up a blog where I’m going to do just that I’d love to get paid to write eventually, any tips on getting into it?


    1. Hi Luke, thanks for the comment and for forwarding your link – will take a look 🙂 as to getting paid for food blogging….that’s a tough call. Have you thought about seeking advertising for your site – sponsorship? I haven’t gone down that route as yet but, if you have quite a large following, then maybe that would work out although in my experience most people are doing it for fun. Interesting question though and an idea I could blog on in future I think.


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