Tuesday, September 20, 2011

High Steaks

My boyfriend didn't eat meat for 15 years until he met me. I'm not necessarily proud of that fact.

I just finished writing an essay about it, which I might post here later. But in the meantime, I'm cooking him a steak. Like right now.

If you could see just a few feet from this keyboard, you would find two fat filet mignon that I'll soon encrust with freshly ground peppercorn and saute in butter. In the oven I'm baking potatoes to stuff with goat cheese, sour cream and scallions. I’ll roast asparagus. I'll make a sauce with bits of steak left in the skillet with shallots, brandy and cream. And for salad, I'll make a steakhouse-style wedge with a drizzle of homemade blue cheese.

No, this isn't his first steak dinner after falling off the vegetable wagon. He had his first steak in April, and I can say without a doubt that I've never seen anyone have such a positive physical reaction to a food experience. Yes, he had dabbled in chicken. We had spilt a burger even. But the night before he had a wisdom tooth pulled, he wanted to have a last supper, and he wanted to eat steak.

After our plates of filet arrived at The Palm, he took a few dramatic bites. His eyes began to water. He removed his glasses. He fanned himself. He spoke of his childhood. He noted that his teeth might be watering. He proclaimed himself high. And then he asked (while lifting a forkful to his mouth):
"When can I eat steak again?"
"You're eating it now," I reminded him.

From that night forward, though, we instituted a monthly steak night, and it turns out we sorta name them like Playboy covergirls.
The April Steak (filet at The Palm)
The May Steak (a ribeye for his birthday at Kayne Prime)
The June Steak (a New York strip at Sportsman's Grille)
The July Steak (a sirloin with his mom and grandmother at Cody's Roadhouse in St. Petersburg, Fla.)
The August Steak (a flank steak at Eastland Cafe)

The September Steak is the first one that he's had home-cooked. I sure hope I can bring the thunder.

And with this month's steak in the works, I also felt it apropos to include the following poem. I heard it recited recently by its author Maya Angelou. She's in town for Belmont University's Humanities Symposium, and before she read her poem, she gave us its backstory. When she was a smoker (about 20 years ago), she visited a health food diner and ordered potatoes and greens (no meat). But when she pulled out a pack of cigarettes, the waitress scolded her for potential harm she could cause the other patrons. Ms. Angelou thought the other diners -- puny and frail -- hardly look healthy. So inspired, she wrote this:


The Health-Food Diner

No sprouted wheat and soya shoots
And Brussels in a cake,
Carrot straw and spinach raw,
(Today, I need a steak).

Not thick brown rice and rice pilaw
Or mushrooms creamed on toast,
Turnips mashed and parsnips hashed,
(I'm dreaming of a roast).

Health-food folks around the world
Are thinned by anxious zeal,
They look for help in seafood kelp
(I count on breaded veal).

No smoking signs, raw mustard greens,
Zucchini by the ton,
Uncooked kale and bodies frail
Are sure to make me run


Loins of pork and chicken thighs
And standing rib, so prime,
Pork chops brown and fresh ground round
(I crave them all the time).

Irish stews and boiled corned beef
and hot dogs by the scores,
or any place that saves a space
For smoking carnivores.

-Maya Angelou

1 comment:

Gourmet Gadget Gal said...

That's exactly right - everything in moderation! A once a month steak (or any food you consider a "treat") is so much more satisfying when you really look forward to it.