I was pondering the line John Shade uses while making a bloody mess of himself shaving in Pale Fire (lines 899-900):
And I noticed that in a prior post, someone had referenced frill-necked lizards (I think there are frill-necked snakes, too). But that didn't seem to fit the scene to me (though I'm sure Nabokov loved his reptilian reference). I started hunting, and "frill" is also defined a number of places as
"A decorative, fluted paper "sock" that is slipped over a protruding meat bone, such as in a crown roast."
[This from The New Food Lover's Companion, 3rd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst, published by Barron's Educational Series, Inc., though I found it in many cookbooks.] The frill is also sometimes called a papillote, which is lovely, not only because of the relationship between papillote and papillon (French for butterfly, which the online Webster's--I am in transit and dictionary-less at present--gives as etymology for papillote), but also because to bake something en papillote is to cook food prepared by wrapping it inside paper, which steams it. From the same book: "At the table, the paper is slit and peeled back to reveal the food."
So in cooking, as well as Shade Shaving, slitting the paper/skin releases something--a meal, a poem--but for Shade, at the risk of life and limb, if we take seriously the "gory mess." Shaving as a dangerous path to the muse, perhaps, with a hint of self-butchery and suicide lurking. More literally, the nicks and slices can be seen as creating a frilled collar, as worn by meat AND lizards.
Why the Newport? Newport is a common name for a cut of steak, the tri-tip or bottom sirloin. For beef enthusiasts, here's a web discussion of what qualifies as a Newport steak, how much it should cost, and how to cook it:
For me, the butcher-block image of a cut of meat dressed up with frill keeps the image disturbing yet somehow funny, and lines it up tonally with what comes before and after.