Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Great Giant Slabs Of Meat

I went to my mother's for supper last night. We usually gather in her den for about a half an hour before we eat. When my sister arrived, she stopped by the kitchen to talk to mom, before joining my brother-in-law and me in the den. "She's cooking giant slabs of meat!" my sister said, with a look of horror on her face. A few minutes later we went to the kitchen, where mom handed me a large dinner plate with a huge T-bone steak and baked potato on it. I carried it out to the dining room, where there were individual tossed salads at each place setting, and a large serving dish of asparagus at one end of the table. I love asparagus, so I fished a few stalks out of the serving dish for myself, but the great giant slab of meat took up three quarters of the plate, and the baked potato took up the remaining quarter. The steak had to be repositioned, so that it was cantilevering out over the rim of the plate, in order to accommodate the length of the tender green shoots between it and the potato.

Now I eat meat, but I'm not a great red meat eater. I will occasionally have a hamburger or small steak, but I usually eat chicken or fish. I knew that eating that T-bone was going to be a challenge. The small tenderloin side was easy, but masticating the larger and somewhat tougher NY strip side took a little more effort. When I was a teenager, I would have eaten that entire steak with ease, and afterwards gnawed the meaty remnants from the bone, but today that much beef weighs heavy on my aged digestive tract. However, with the knowledge that I couldn't expect to have any pudding, if I didn't eat my meat, I applied myself and finished the great giant slab. No gnawing on the bone this time though. For all that effort, it turned out that there was no pudding after all, but there was pumpkin pie with a whipped topping, an acceptable substitute. It was still warm too, and even more flavorful than when cold. I fear I will be digesting that meal for a week.

Later, my sister wanted to access my mom's email account for her. Because mom has never learned to do anything more than play bridge on her I-Mac, she relies on us bring her email up, so she can see pictures sent to her by extended family members. Well, it turns out that Comcast, her broadband provider, has upgraded their system, and they no longer supported her older version of Safari. So I tried to download the latest version of Safari, but mom didn't remember what her system pass word was. I had written it down in her computer manual, when I first set it up for her, so a search ensued to find the manual that I had told her should never leave her computer desk. About ten minutes later, it was found on a card table, at the bottom of a basket full of miscellaneous pamphlets and papers. With that, I was able to start the download of her software updates, but by then I had to go, and left my sister to monitor the download and rebooting. I still don't know whether that did the trick or not. Mom's computer problems never seem to come up, until right before I'm ready to leave for my one hour drive back home, and strangely even though we both have I-Macs, her's seems to be set up differently than mine, always requiring different commands to achieve the same results.

When I got home last night, I watched one of my favorite events in the Olympics, pairs free skating. It was a bad night for most of the pairs, with many unfortunate falls, except for the top two pairs from China, who to my untrained eye skated flawlessly. For someone who vividly remembers the dark days of the Cultural Revolution, where everyone, male and female wore olive drab Mao jackets, and stodgy propagandist displays passed for art, it was pure joy to watch these two beautiful Chinese couples, skating so gracefully and expertly to romantic western music!

The spring catalogs are starting to find their way into mailboxes now. If you are interested in some pretty, girly clothing and shoes, at affordable prices, check out Chadwicks.com . Unfortunately for me, their shoe sizes only go up to a US size 10, but much of their clothing goes from Small, all the way up to 2X, or a size 4 through size 24.

Melissa XX


Calie said...

I love it!

A T-Bone steak on a T-Blog!

I'm with you, Melissa. I rarely will eat a steak, but I am not a vegetarian.

And what is it with T's and Floyd? Some researcher needs to dig into that. I always wanted my pudding too!

Calie xxx

Melissa said...

@ Calie

Although they weren't intentional, I love your T-references! As always, you are a sweetheart, Calie!

Have you been checking out the figure skating in the Olympics?
The Chinese pairs were great, but in the men's competition, the USA's Johnny Weir was just wonderful! I don't know if he is gay, or trans, or what, but he is just one of the most beautiful skaters I have ever seen!

Melissa XX

Keri Renault said...

Nothing like mom's, home style cookin'. It's been years for me. I'm the cook now and the food reflects the changing times. Too much processed food, too little made naturally from scratch.

I hated steak--and meat in general-- when I was a child. They didn't have PETA back then to coach me. My palate and my 1960s conscience of innocence were more than capable of making on-the-spot, culinary choices. Food was an extravaganza of the senses. A palate pleaser in the most authentic sense.

Cooking and nutrition are far more challenging topics of choice today. Too much dubious information, not enough food fact. Do this...don't do that. Eat this, avoid that. Western culture is overweight, hypertensive and adult onset diabetes occurs way too young.

Bon appetit Melissa. Come and get it while you can:)

Hugs, K

Stace said...

That is one giant steak! There is no way I could have managed that, no matter how old I was...

Whenever I travel to Scotland to visit my parents I just know that I am going to be force fed massive meals. I guess that's just parents for you...

I saw the pairs skating - and yes the Chinese gold and silver skated amazingly, and beautifully.


alan said...

Been a long time since I went after a plate that full as well...but I'd have had to try for a steak that looked like that!

10 years ago my oldest was home from college and he and I bought slabs of ribs for Father's Day as my wife was in the hospital. Despite their being full-sized long slabs, he sat down and ate the whole thing in one go. I was a bit better than halfway through mine when he finished and chided me about being so slow. I hadn't intended to eat the the whole thing, but his taunting me caused a reaction I'm still not proud of, and one I paid for for several days I think.

Now I'd much rather have half for later!

Thanks for the tip on Chadwicks, I'll put that to good use between my wife and Mom!


caroline said...

Somebody has not given up on the idea of building you up into a big strong boy!

I thought you were going to have to serve it up to the whole table, I like a bit of steak but...

Hope the digestion is up to it.

Caroline XXX

helenchapel said...

Wow! Its not just the size of that steak but over here the cost would make you choke too! I do love steak now and again but I usually only have a small piece with salad. I don't think I would or could mamnage that baby bronto!!!

Long time since I enjoyed my Mum's cooking. I was saying to my wife the other day that I really miss the 'rock cakes' my Mum used to make they were like nothing else I have ever had. memories.

Helen xx

Lucy Melford said...

Good God. That's some cut of meat. I'm not saying it doesn't look tasty and I'm sure I'd enjoy trying to eat it, but like you, Melissa, nowadays I'd be hard put to get it all down and not feel totally bloated!

It seems that in the States this size of meal is nothing out of the way. When passing through Los Angeles back in 2007 M-- and I kept to what you might call 'light snacks', such as a sandwich, and burger-and-fries, but even those seemed gargantuan, and the breakfast we had in the hotel was a serious proposition.

And it was all served with a gravity and personal attention that would be ludricrous here in the UK. I certainly couldn't fault anyone in the US catering trade for attention to detail and strenuous personal endeavour in making sure you got what you ordered, just as you liked it. So very unlike what we often get here. It was strange however how catering staff were treated. It seemed to be purely a money transaction on the side of the customer, as if dealing with beings that were not human and could be barked at. In the UK we say 'please' and 'thank you' with every sentence, a bit excessive really; the boot is on the other foot over here! But in the LA hotel some customers were pretty offhand to people behind food counters and to waiting staff in the restaurant. We wondered why: it seemed so rude. When we struck up a friendly conversation with the person behind the sandwich counter in the hotel, he seemed taken aback, as we had broken some rule of behaviour. His name was Leroy. After about five minutes he conquered his amazement, relaxed, and let us into the cheapest and easiest way to get over to Santa Monica beach for the afternoon, his personal recommendation for where to go if we wanted to kill three hours or so in the sunshine before getting back to the airport for our onward flight. I have to say the number 3 bus there and back was an education in travelling with ordinary down-to-earth Americans, definitely not to be missed.

I digress. Sorry!


lisalisa said...

Wow the steak is so big it nearly doesent fit on your page!
Your Mum sounds a great woman though. I know many women in the 50's and 60's who dont know how to use computers.

Melissa said...

@ Lucy

Lucy, some people are just plain rude, and we have plenty of them here in the States. There is never any excuse for treating wait staff, or people behind counters rudely. I always say please and thank you to whoever us waiting on me, but then I worked on the other side of the counter when I was young, and spent some time bussing tables in a cafeteria too, so I know what it feels like to be in their shoes.

I don't know what my mother was thinking, buying steaks that large. All of us would have been satisfied with a small strip steak or fillet.

Melissa XX

Ms.LizzyBeth said...

That was one sexy steak, meow! You got this carnivore licking her fangs with that picture. It definitely looked worth skipping the next meal or two for the pleasure of sliding that down one's throat.

Two Auntees said...

That serving of meat looks like what my uncle and former father-in-law would serve the family when we got together. He grew up during the depression when food was difficult to find or buy. His father was a log cutter in the backwoods of Louisiana, way out there. They lived in tent for the first 10 years of his life.

I think your mother came from a time when people remember the lean times and just want their families to have enough food.

Boy is that steak huge, I think I can even smell the juices and remember what a good steak taste like.