Red meat is bad for you in large quantities. So sayeth the food scientists and the FDA. I accept this to the extent that I don’t pitch a fit when my beloved wife cuts the portion size of meat servings to rational levels (as determined by the health nazis). I don’t have to like it, but I accept a modest reduction in my meat intake as a necessary evil in the interest of staying healthy. There are limits, however.
A couple of years ago, my wife asked me if I wanted to try an experiment. She would serve vegetarian meals once or twice a week and see how it worked out. Despite the fact that I am a dedicated carnivore, I had read the relevant health-nazi literature and agreed to give it a try. We had a variety of meals with no meat a few times a month for about six months, then my wife threw in the towel. It turns out that my meat consumption had either remained stable or actually increased because I had a tendency to eat larger portions (and second helpings) of meat the day after a veggie meal.
The next idea was to reduce meat portion sizes with each meal and increase the amount of vegetables. The theory was that using smaller plates and filling the non-meat space on the late up with greens would reduce the psychological desire for larger portions of meat. We’ve been on this particular gimmick for a while, now, and it has been largely successful. Unfortunately, we discovered that the portion-reduction scheme runs into a serious physiological limit- at least in my case. After a few months, I started getting a strange feeling around the hinges of my lower jaw and started having cravings for meat.
The wife began increasing the amount of protein in my meals, on the theory that this would abate the cravings. This reduced the cravings slightly, but only for a few weeks. The next trick was to increase my vitamin intake, hoping that I was just not adjusting well to the reduced levels of iron and other meat-related vitamins. This had no effect at all. Finally, my wife went to see my doctor. She told the doc all that she had done to try and get me to stop craving meat, but none of it had worked. What could she do to eliminate these meat cravings?
My doctor shook her head and said, “Give him meat.”
Dejected, my beloved wife slowly increased my meat portion sizes until my meat cravings vanished. I still get that weird feeling in my lower jaw from time to time, but we have a cure for that, too.
Once a month, we buy a large amount of pork and beef from one of the warehouse stores. We get long pork loins and large eye-of-round beef cuts in bulk, because the unit price per pound makes it a bargain. Since one of the stores mislabeled the beef early in our adventure and the pork loin comes in a long, suggestively-shaped cylinder, we call it a “Pig-dick and Round-eye Safari”.
Once we bring home our load of meat, the ritual begins. I start by sharpening every knife in the house. I’m not going to use them all, but this is a good time to perform basic maintenance on the blades. We get out a large, flat tray and an industrial-sized box of ziploc bags, and I begin cutting the meat up into useful portions for freezing. Pork loin is usually cut into quarters, and the eye-of-round is usually cut into thirds. The resulting smaller portions are then trimmed of excess fat, if needed, and popped into freezer bags for long-term storage in our chest freezer.
While I am engaged in meat-cutting, I carefully cut a few slices off either the pork or beef, and set these aside. I also trim a few tidbits for the cat, who gets fussy when her servants fail to provide such tribute. Once the meat is whisked off to the freezer, I break out a skillet and some spices and cook up some herbivore flesh.
Any trimmed fat is tossed into the skillet first, with the fire low. This greases the pan and adds additional flavor. Once a thin layer of fat has coated the bottom of the pan, I add in a few shakes from my wife’s special spice mix. Her father taught her to take a few common spices and mix them up in certain proportions, and it really adds a lot to many dishes- especially if one is trying to avoid salt.
Increase the heat to medium, lay the slabs of meat in the spiced pan, and lightly pepper the meat. Cover and cook until done to taste (I like my beef rare), turning the meat occasionally to ensure even cooking. While the meat is cooking, get out some bread, mayonnaise, mustard, and cheese. I use a spicy brown mustard and the sharpest cheddar or jack cheese I can find. Place cooked meat on bread, with cheese between slices of meat, and devour. If you wish, make growling noises to indicate that you are a carnivore. Bonus points if you finish the meal without pausing for breath or a drink.
Dennis Leary has a comedy routine where he talks about vegetarians. Roughly paraphrased, he says, “A tomato tastes like a tomato. A carrot tastes like a carrot. But meat tastes like murder, and that’s fucking delicious.”
Tasty, delicious murder.
Current status: Sated
Current music: Deacon Blues by Steely Dan