First off, I would like to apologize to my readers who abhor the thought of eating steaks. If you are one of those people, you might as well stop here.
Ok, for everyone else- I love steaks. I was reminded of this by the latest offering of John Birmingham’s Alien Side Boob; it’s his subscription-only newsletter for those who would like to laugh their butts off reading JB’s distinctive brand of acidic wit.
Today he did a pretty funny bit about preparing steaks.
Lord, I do love me some steaks. Strangely enough some of the best ones around come from a dining chain called Outback- it fancies itself to be a sort of Australian inspired eatery. An Aussie friend says he’ll stop by one of these days, maybe I’ll take him there and he can judge for himself how close to the mark they come. Where I live, I’ll bet a hundred dollars that he’d be the first real Australian that the staff have ever met. Such things amuse me- years ago when I lived in Europe it was always fun to go to American restaurants and see how American they really were- sometimes they were close, but one thing that was never right was the serving size, or free refills.
But I digress.
Have I mentioned that I love a good steak, preferably a ribeye cooked medium?
Years ago, I was indifferent to steaks. Then I spent some time as an advisor to indigenous forces and ate a LOT of their food. I had a months long case of dysentery that only cleared up when I finally returned stateside.
Have any of you seen a meat market in a land chronically short of electricity? Nothing to get you salivating like seeing a sheep carcass hanging in the sun, covered by flies. And right next to it is a kebab stand, where the friendly gentleman (and it’s always a gentleman) will be happy to sell you a heaping portion, redolent of sheep-shit smoke. Yes, fires are frequently made from dung where wood is a precious commodity. Everything that you eat gets a certain taste to it- impossible to replicate in the West.
Boy did I eat a lot of locally procured food over there. Greens of unknown provenance, spicy cauliflower served in sheep fat, tons of rice dipped by hand from a communal bowl, you name it. Melons. Lots of melons.
But don’t get me wrong- the food was good, and it was the best they had. It wasn’t my host’s fault that my guts weren’t used to their bugs. But I was ever so glad to eventually return home and eat familiar foods.
That’s when the steak binges began. I don’t know why, I don’t know when, but I got back and I had a craving for delicious, slightly crispy steaks. It’s been nearly seven years since I returned and I’m still caught in the thrall of steaks.
Steaks, truly a hallmark of plenty. It’s an amazing world that we in the West inhabit. Food upon demand, good food, excellent food. Food that doesn’t routinely make you sick, clean water, adequate sewage disposal. Electricity. Internet. Safety. So many things to be grateful for, so many things we take for granted.
Maybe that’s it. Steaks as a symbol of the good life.
Because our lives are pretty damn good.