A Love Letter to my First Steak

Vegetarians, Avert Your Eyes. Not Kidding!

Seventeen years of being a vegetarian. Seventeen years of eating salads and beans and ordering pasta and asparagus at nice restaurants. Then, six or so years ago, when Bean was a baby, I got a hankering for chicken. Like, a wild craving for chicken that would not be assuaged by any lentil or tofu crap. I wanted me some chicken. And so seventeen years of vegetarianism ended in a gleeful, bacchanalian festival of parmesan crusted chicken breasts with sage butter cream sauce. (Have I ever given you that recipe? Remind me, because until this weekend, it was the best thing I had ever eaten.)

*****

Dear Steak,

So I’ve been hearing about you for years. Everyone told me that you were fantastic, and that I should love you. But I have avoided you. I’m not sure exactly why- you just seemed so… raw. And kind of carnal- which doesn’t usually scare me. And I had this weird ethics thing where I was kind of deluded into thinking I was being kinder by not eating animals. It’s true that factory-farms suck, but it’s false that anyone or anything can be alive without something else dying. Anyway, I’m over that.

When I mentioned idly in a joke to Mo (I think you and she are well acquainted) that I wanted a steak, after she picked her jaw up off the ground, she threw me in the car before I could change my mind and raced me to the nearest fancy, dimly lit steakhouse. There was no backing out now. Full of glee, I told my jovial waiter for the first time in my life, to bring you to me- and before I could give it a second thought, I jumped in with both feet and asked him to bring you medium rare! I know! I’m so brave.

Waiting for you to arrive, I completely ignored the bread and sampled a little greenery. It was okay- but I could not imagine this being considered an actual meal- not with the divine smells wafting by in the arms of black-clad waiters carrying large hot platters. What had I been thinking all these years? The corner had already been turned.

And then you arrived…

The waiter may have said something, but I can’t remember what, because sitting before me was you, in all your splendor. I think my mouth was actually watering, and Mo was grinning like a proud corruptor. Any passing thoughts of guilt or images of Bessie looking at me with big brown eyes was completely annihilated by the unimaginably luscious picture you made. How did I ever think this was a bad idea?

Picking up my first steak-knife ever, I prepared to saw into you- and then, with great wonder and astonishment, my knife simply sunk into your tender circumference with the ease of soft, unctuous butter. Wow! What is this? That was a nice surprise, Steak. Well played. In my vegetarian brain, I had though I was going to have to gnaw and tear at you, and there you were, instead offering up yourself with abandon. (thank you, Bessie- more than you will ever know)

The first bite was exquisite. Like nothing I had ever imagined or tasted before. Every good smell and cooking craft I’d picked up in every kitchen I’d ever been in were wrapped up in that one bite… this is what I’ve been missing, I thought. Then I proceeded to devour you- every last little tidbit.

And I didn’t even want my vegetables. My brothers are crying with joy right now.

So, Steak, I want to thank you for finally coming into my life. I know we cannot see each other often- that it should be a special occasion when we get together. But I’m okay with that. I just wish I hadn’t wasted seventeen years. Mmmmmm…. I love you, Steak.

Love,
T

19 thoughts on “A Love Letter to my First Steak

  1. Good call on the medium rare. There is nothing to compare when you eat a perfectly cooked steak. Next time try a black and blue – black angus steak with bleu cheese. Oh, wow.

    Welcome to the dark side. *grin*

  2. Oh wow! There is nothing like a good steak, cooked to perfection. A favorite date night for dh and I.
    Now that you have had a perfect steak (what cut did you get, and how did you know?) I wish you may never cross paths with a bad, poorly cooked steak. Because perfection, oh yum!

  3. Hurray for steak! Glad you took the leap. And well played, with the med. rare. It always makes me a little sad to see people ordering their beef well done (like some people I married…), because by then it’s just a tougher, drier husk of its former self. Glad you liked it!

  4. I have loved steak since I was a little girl. It was always a family joke that whenever we went out, you could be sure that I would order the reddest meat available. And I used to think that you had to have it well done (gasp!) because pink or red meant raw, and my brothers ordered it well done, so I copied them. How wrong was I? Steak is DIVINE. Death row last meal divine.

    However, a bad cut of meat cooked badly – not so much. So be careful where you order. I mean, it goes without saying, but steakhouse – yes. Applebee’s – no.

    Ahh…filet mignon….good call. Way to go, MO! (Next time we’re together – we’re eating steak.)

  5. If God had wanted us to be vegetarians, He wouldn’t have made animals taste so delicious. Just sayin’.

    I can’t go medium rare, but I have tried to teach my kids the wonders of medium. My wife, otoh . . .

    I’m still working on her, but she grew up being sick while watching her mother chase rare steak around the plate while it mooed in protest – so I don’t have much hope for her. I’ve gotten her to appreciate well-done steak, so maybe in a couple more decades . . .

  6. If it moos when you bite into it, you know it’s done right! But, I’ll admit that the picture at the top does make me wonder if we might just barbecue some filet mignons for Thanksgiving. That would really give us something to be thankful for.

  7. One of the best parts of eating a rare steak (as rare as they will let you) is sopping up all the blood with the rolls.

  8. In college in the late 80’s, my twin sis used to set me up with what seemed like every single BYU football player (she married the kicker). I was talked about in the locker room as a great date….at least a great date for the spring and fall football banquets. The banquet would always serve prime rib, inches thick, so huge as to overlap the plate on all sides, and uber rare. I love steak medium rare but I couldn’t eat uber rare prime rib. So my date would eat his and then finish mine off while I ate his salad. Everyone was happy. Cracks me up that I had a rep at BYU.

    Mmmm. Steak with blue cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and carmelized onions. Still can’t stand to look at prime rib even 20 years later.

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