I can’t believe I’m going to say this…. I really don’t want to say this…. it pains me to type this sentence on my keyboard…you’ve heard it here first…. and you’ll never hear it again.
I miss my ex-husband.
Now let me qualify that statement. You really must let me explain!
That guy knew how to make a steak. Oh yeah! I have never eaten a steak… anywhere… that was as delicious as the steaks he would occasionally make on the grill. Garlicky and buttery and full of flavor, tender and thick and moist…and PERFECT!
If you say a word to him I’ll have to kill you. Because really, other than that, I don’t miss a thing.
Last night, I fired up my little green BBQ grill and took a stab at preparing this precious slab of animal protein. I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect because I really haven’t been able to find a great piece of meat around here (as in steak!). The French seem to think their meat is good, but I haven’t found it. In fact, a few moments ago the caretaker of my building promised to take me to a good boucherie where he says I can find better meat than I've seen at the grocery stores. But after my battle with le bifteck last night, I’m reluctant to waste the money.
When I was young, I spent a couple of years as a trail cook in Northern British Columbia, where I actually learned to cook. In fact, I got the job because I told them I knew how to cook! In reality, I didn’t have a clue and there was nothing they could do about it once they had shipped me high up into the mountains, except bear with me as I learned to bake bread in a tin stove, bannock over a fire, cut hunks of meat off very large carcasses hanging from trees, and prepare all manner of entrails to perfection. In my cooking repertoire, I now have mountain sheep brains and eggs, elk testicles, deer tongue flavored with cloves and sliced thin for sandwiches, stuffed moose heart, and liver countless animals, fried tender with onion. To be sure, these cowboys were always so hungry, I’m sure it wouldn’t have mattered if I prepared all these delicacies in bleach…they were always willing to eat it (except for my first attempt at bread which they used as a doorstop for the cabin!) I wasn’t. That’s when I became a peanut butter addict. And I never had a well-cut, big-old beefsteak to lovingly nurse to perfection.
When I was a student I didn’t have the chance to practice either. No money. My staple diet then was potatoes and if I had enough tip money that week, I would buy something delicious like cheese or sour cream to transform my spuds into a special treat. Another favorite was canned spinach (4 cans for a dollar), garnished with a hard-boiled egg. I still love that! But a steak? Never!
When I was a wife, I avoided cooking beef. It’s not that I didn’t want to cook it. It’s just that the ex-pectorant did it so much better. And he was willing. He would spend hours at it and I was able to do other things much more interesting.
Last night it was my turn. All I can say is, that was the worst piece of shoe leather I have ever eaten…or tried to eat. What am I doing wrong? It didn’t help that the meat was all of ½ inch thick but I can’t blame the steak. I know it was the technician. I tried to remember watching the ex-pec as he went through his preparations but apparently my memory is hazy…more likely I just never paid attention.
I will give myself one last shot. I mean really, I’ve got a grill, which is the best thing ever. And Americans are simply expected to know how to cook a steak. I’m letting my country down! I’m a bad ambassador!
I truly hope that my ex-pec taught his sons to make a proper steak. It would be a shame for such a fine art form to be lost forever. And a real shame for me because one day, when I’m visiting the boys and doing something interesting like playing with their babies in the sandbox, afterwards I want to be served a glorious, grilled, buttery, garlic- infused hunk of meat. And then I will never, ever have to say “I miss my ex-husband” again.