6/08/2006

More on Steak

I can clearly remember the first meal I had with The Husband. We were walking out of an Environmental Ethics class in Berkeley, and he was on his way to The Stuffed Inn on the North Side of campus. He didn’t really invite me to dinner, it was much more casual than that. He was going to get what must have been the cheapest vegetarian meal in town and I could too.

The Stuffed Inn was a darkly wooded den of a place with serve yourself soup, kept hot all day in steam kettles. Split Pea soup was their specialty, it seemed, and you could ladle yourself up a big bowlful and grab a wedge of chewy bread to go along with it. I was nearly in love with him by then, and it just seemed so fitting to be discussing living attuned with the environment and then having a peasanty porridgey bean soup. At that point in my life I knew how many acres of arable soil it took to produce a pound of beef, and I tried really hard to live a life that considered human impact on the planet.

I am not a hemp-wearing vegetarian. That’s a fact. I think my life began to shift when we moved to New York City. It can be extremely difficult to feel in touch with the Earth when you see so little of it. Some things don’t change: The Husband is an avid recycler. I prefer to buy organic food. Some things have.

Once bean soups were satisfying and comforting for The Husband. Now steak does the trick. When I know that he’s been having a hard time and that he needs to feel loved, I make steak. I either pan-fry it in a little bit of peanut oil or put it out on the grill. I like to make a rub out of coarsely ground peppercorns and coriander seeds, and a sprinkling of salt. I’ve gotten pretty good at telling how much it has cooked by how much the steak “gives” when you press on it (the softer it is, the more rare it is).

I usually buy prime beef at Fairway. It’s kind of pricey, but the three of us share one New York or Rib Eye steak, so it doesn’t set us back that much. Once I bought a strip steak at Lobel’s on Madison. It was delicious, but I just couldn’t rationalize the price. (Their ribs though, that’s another story).

The Husband can be less talkative at the table when we have steak for dinner. But that’s also because he’s usually enjoying his meal, as well as busily cutting up The Girl's portion too.

3 comments:

Ken Sternberg said...

A well-prepared steak is definitely some kind of culinary nirvana. A silent table is a good thing, as it's usually because everyone's enjoying their food.

During college, I was a vegetarian for about two years. One summer, I worked for the Forest Service fighting fires. After a night in the field, filthy and starving, we arrived at the dining hall where a parade of heaping platters full of bacon, sausages and eggs kept appearing. The strength of my convictions evaporated and I realized how much I missed eating meat.

Anonymous said...

YOU know you should be buying your rib-eyes at Costco.
And have you gone by there and picked up some of their Parmegiano Reggiano?
Oh, yes, and their frozen giant prawns are great, too
Mo

Deb St-Claire said...

To Mo: Yes, sir! Rib-eyes at Costco! I'm still working on a block of P.Reggiano, but next one will be from Costco too. Thanks for the frozen giant prawns tip! ;-)