"ripe" about meat?

susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
Hi there,

I was watching a program about Vietnamese cuisine, and the presenter ate a bird called "ca say." He described it as "one of the gameliest birds" he had ever eaten. Then he said, "Oo, that's ripe."

Can you describe meats as "ripe"? And if you do, what exactly do you mean by it? I assume that by "gamely bird" he meant "bird which tastes like game / (the flesh of) wild animals."

Thanks!
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Ripe' can mean "strongly smelling", and would be used of cheese (especially), gamy meat, well-used socks, etc.

    And 'gameliest' should be 'gamiest' - 'gamy' but not 'gamely' is used of game birds. (I rely on the OED for this, not being a game-eater myself.)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In my experience, "ripe" in the context of meant means starting to smell from decomposition, i.e. rotting and sometimes called "high." (age, of course, contributes to the strong smell of some cheeses.)

    It can apply to the meat of domestic animals as well although some cultures hang game until it rots, i.e. "hung partridge."
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If this was about fruit, I'd say "ripe" was a good thing. Before that, it's green (or unripe) and not ready to eat. After that, it starts to spoil.

    If this was about cheese, I'd say "ripe" may be good or bad, depending on the particular cheese.

    Since this is about meat, I don't see "ripe" as a positive statement, though in some cuisines it might be.
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Thank you all!

    I thought ripe, when used about cheese, only meant "mature." Collins completely overlooks the "having a strong smell" meaning as well (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ripe), which seems like a huge oversight.

    I looked up gamy and found that it, too, can mean "smelly." Here's gamy:

    1.
    a. Having the flavor or odor of game, especially game that is slightly spoiled.

    b. Ill-smelling; rank.
    ...

    Thanks again!
     
    Last edited:

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    It clearly has multiple meanings. Does this sentence sound natural to your British/American ears? After two days, his slain body started to give off obnoxious, ripe smell.
     

    WyomingSue

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    It clearly has multiple meanings. Does this sentence sound natural to your British/American ears? After two days, his slain body started to give off an obnoxious, ripe smell.
    Makes my stomach turn just thinking about it. Natural? I mean, how often would one use this sentence? But, yes, it's a good sentence.
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    In Britain animals and birds which have been hunted are usually hung in a dry place (usually cold but not very much sub-zero) until they are what is normally called "well hung". When an animal is first killed the body goes into rigor mortis, and the meat is often very tough. Most meat is hung until rigor mortis is well over. Farm animals are normally hung for one or two weeks (larger animals are hung for longer) it is not until the meat has been hung that the animal is cut up into pieces that the butcher might sell. Game (animals which have been hunted) are normally hung for much longer, and when raw will smell much more "gamey". This makes the meat both tenderer and much more tasty. It used to be said of a good butcher that he knew how to chose his animal and how to hang it. No doubt bacteria and other micro-organisms have their role in the process but this is part of life.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In Britain animals and birds which have been hunted are usually hung in a dry place (usually cold but not very much sub-zero) until they are what is normally called "well hung"...
    Before any English users use this phrase, they should be aware that in AE it means that a man has a large penis.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    You don't say!!! :D That made my day! :D :D :D Would that be said jocularly or in deadly earnest? :)
    If I said this to my son, telling him to get them out of the family living room right now, it would be in dead earnest. :)

    (Fortunately, my sons learned this lesson. They are now old enough to have families of their own, as well as living rooms, and to deal with a possible need to say this to their own children.)
     
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