“How could you eat that bloody thing?” My friend Paul asked me in disbelief. “ I do not know why you even bother to ask the kitchen to cook it, it is bathing in blood. You are just a little dinosaur.”
I have asked myself that question a million times and the allure of raw or almost raw meat continues to haunt me, especially now as I am, to put it mildly, approaching the time of life where gentler passions should be in order.
There is a real possibility that the reason that marriage has been elusive has to do with this fascination with meat that is under-done. I should have married a butcher and then my love would have brought the scraps from the butcher shop home each night and we would happily share the leftovers that would have been otherwise discarded. We could have made carpaccio with thin slices of beef drizzled in luscious olive oil and topped with a salad or maybe kibbeh nayeh, raw ground beef mixed with cracked wheat shells, onions and spices.
I cannot fathom the idea of eating a steak well done which would be the equivalent of eating an old leather shoe. I need, I crave the blood and use it as a sauce for anything else that happens to be on the plate.
Preparing steak at home is risky as trusting me around raw meat without taking a knife and slicing a piece off and greedily swallowing it as is a gamble: no salt, no seasonings, no other accoutrements. Just bare red meat in its entire chewy splendor is a great temptation for a soul that needs the plain nourishment of pure protein.
Maybe it is a vitamin deficiency: the same reason why some dogs eat grass because they are lacking something in their diet. Maybe it is genetic or maybe I am just a vampire. Whatever the reason, I do worry about this obsession with raw flesh, as it can be perceived as a tad bit depraved.
Even the smell of raw meat is alluring, the aroma intoxicating to the point of wanting to pick up the meat and just sticking it under my nose so as to inhale the fragrance of unadulterated blood. The love of the raw also extends to fish, salmon sashimi being exceptionally dear to my heart. When the body is especially needy, swallowing slice after slice of sashimi is particularly comforting, much to the dismay of my children and the pocketbook.
So Paul was right: I am closer to dinosaur than human, but don’t worry, your meat is safe with me when I come to visit as long as you keep it in the freezer.
If, on the other hand, your husband is a butcher, keep him far, far, away.