Beef stew / rack of lamb

SwissPete

Senior Member
Français (CH), AE (California)
In English, we have beef stew, strawberry jam, pork chop, apple tart, and then all of a sudden
we have rack of lamb, leg of lamb. Why not lamb rack, lamb leg? We have lamb stew, don’t we?

Can anybody help me with this vexing question? :cool:

Thank you.
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Perhaps the unifying factor is "(anatomical part) of animal" but animal "processed stuff" but then there's lambshanks and oxtail, so perhaps, as usual in English, there're :eek: more exceptions to the rule than examples of it :D
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Here's my guess:


    Customer: I want some ribs.

    Butcher: Lamb or veal?

    Customer: Lamb.

    Butcher: Do you want an half rack or a full rack?

    Customer: I'm having six people over--I guess I'll take the full rack of lamb.

    The "rack" is a unit of sale. The "lamb" is the type of rack.
     

    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Thanks, Packard.

    Wouldn't the same thinking apply to pork?


    Customer: I want some chops.

    Butcher: Pork or lamb?

    Customer: Pork. I need 6 pork chops.

    :confused:
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    But making chops is "processing" into non-anatomical parts. While the veterinarians may not call the ribs a "rack" they are (most of) an intact anatomical unit. If you chop up a rack of lamb you end up with, well, lamb chops. Seems like it might be more a gastronomic question than a grammar question why we don't prepare a rack of pork (or rack of pig?).

    But I'll go along with your :confused:
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Yes, there are lamb chops, pork chops, and veal chops.
    One reason there are different names for beef is that cows are so much bigger than lambs, pigs, and calves. Imagine the oven and roasting pan you'd need to make "leg of beef"! The part of the cow that would be the "beef chop" is usually divided up into different steaks (T-bone, porterhouse, rib steak, ...).
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Thanks, Packard.

    Wouldn't the same thinking apply to pork?


    Customer: I want some chops.

    Butcher: Pork or lamb?

    Customer: Pork. I need 6 pork chops.

    :confused:
    I see a difference.

    A "rack" is a unit of measurement: A full rack or a half rack.

    Just like a "tank of gas", where "tank" is the unit of measurement.

    (I simplify matters when I go to the butcher. I order a side of beef--no need to be very specific when you order that way. But the "of" is still needed.)

    So if you wanted to say you wanted a "full rack of beef ribs", that is how you would say it. How would you say it without the "of"?
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Most of these terms can be either way round.
    I'd normally talk about "rack of lamb", but "lamb rack" is quite OK.
    Either pork belly or belly of pork, beef shin or shin of beef, and so on.
    It doesn't work with chops :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top