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.)
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.