XX – Thou Shalt Not Kill…Thy Steak

I’ve been asked several times by servers at work, “why aren’t you a server?” To which my response usually goes along the lines of: yeah, right. Can you imagine me dealing with people?  Seriously, though, besides the fact that I would have to feign being pleasant all the time (which is very mentally draining for us introverts), I could cringe at the way people order their food. The first time someone ordered a well-done steak or some weird combination, I’d either blurt out something like “WHY?!”  or make a face like these little guys: 🤨 or 🤢

I mean, some people have no sense of enjoying flavor in food. They think that the proper preparation of their food requires cooking the shit out of it, until it doesn’t even resemble the original item which was obliterated. This because their masters in the government and the FDA have told them that their steak should never be consumed undercooked. Folks, overcooking a steak renders it inedible, as it becomes extremely dry and tough. I guess if you like a mouth workout, more power to you. I highly doubt you will ever see a chef or restaurant owner prepare their own steak to anything past medium—normally rare to medium rare.

Then there are those who truly like to dance with danger: the ones who eat rare hamburgers, or worse yet, undercooked chicken, pork or fish.🤮 There’s a reason ground beef should be cooked fully: on a steak, the bacteria reside on the outside of the muscle. By cooking it, killing the bacteria there, the inside is perfectly fine to be eaten rare. When beef (or whatever meat) is ground up, the outside becomes the interior, and there’s much more bacterial surface area, hence more chance to get sick. Chicken, fish and pork have a plethora of disease possibilities that make it necessary to fully cook them. Besides, once you’ve bitten into raw chicken or whatever and tasted the appalling texture and sliminess, you’ll never forget it and never desire it ever again.

But, on a different note, what’s the danger in tasting cake batter or cookie dough? Who really gets sick from that?! I don’t know anyone who ever got salmonella from them. I personally think the FDA just wants to ruin everyone’s innocence. Why not take a chance? How many people really die from food poisoning in a year? So what if 3000 people die in a year from it? Three thousand out of 330 million? That’s a drop in the well!

“What about the 120,000 that get put in the hospital, or that 48 million get food poisoning in a year? Don’t you care about them?” —Honestly, not really. That’s still a small fraction of the population. Besides, with 7,700,000,000 people polluting the planet, it could stand to lose a few. I can think of several individuals I’d like to see become extinct, but that won’t be mentioned here. Don’t worry, it’s not any of you fine folks who read my works.

Backtracking a second, and on a more serious note, a steak cooked to well-done or beyond, like I said, tends to resemble the texture and consistency of beef jerky, or even a tire tread. Rubbery, tough, flavorless and downright gross, I say. Here’s another facet: why are you willingly going to ask for your steak to be obliterated when you’re paying roughly $20-30 for that steak? Seems like a waste and a shame to me. Trivia tidbit: one of the most expensive cuts of meat is the Japanese Wagyu Ribeye. Some quick searching resulted in the price of it running about $100/pound. You could buy it from Costco online, but they require a minimum of 11 pounds, so you’d be plunking down over $1,000 for that meat. Even the steaks at Cracker Barrel aren’t cheap. The 50-lb case of ribeye steaks we receive costs the store at least $500.

Anyway, why is everyone frantically running around overcooking their food and overwashing their hands, completely sterilizing their lives and making themselves even more sick? The food part stems from back around 1982 and 1993, when some people got sick and died from the e. coli that was present in McDonald’s and Jack in the Box (respectively) burgers. And then, the government thinks that everyone should become compulsive handwashers and sterilize anything and everything around them, so as, god forbid, not to spread germs. Why is everyone so afraid of a germ or two? Has anyone ever thought that this constant need to be clean and sterile is making everyone even more sick? That the missing exposure to germs is weakening their immune systems, thereby reducing the body’s ability to resist and fight infections? The human body is an amazing machine, capable of fighting some serious infections and illnesses, but it needs to learn them and practice. If everything is scrupulously sterile and clean, and there are no germs present, the body can’t catch some of those germs to learn how to attack them and defeat them. Your body’s antibody army has to have war games, like the US Army does. If there’s no test runs, when the real threat approaches, you’re unprepared, you’ll get really sick and wish you hadn’t been so scrubbed-up.

By no means am I advocating that the silly “five-second rule” of consuming food dropped on the floor should be followed. I’m just saying that food doesn’t have to be cooked into obliteration, nor does everything have to be operating-room clean and sterile. Eat your food as cooked as you want it. You’re going to die one day anyway, so eat and be happy. Oh, and while you’re enjoying that meat cooked to perfection (whatever perfection is to you), do everything you can to be safe and be well.

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