Caution: Eating Red Meat May Cause Euphoria

By Chad Anthony on August 16, 2012

“Excuse me, do you make this item fresh,” I ask as my friends scoff in embarrassment.  The server responds in derision, “No sir, we do not.  That item is brought in frozen.”

Each time those words are uttered, I become slightly disgusted.  I encounter this banter frequently when eating at any restaurant.  Yes, reader, I am that guy.  Why am I like this?  I have come to these conclusions: 1) Eating frozen food is nutritionally worse than eating fresh food; 2) With my small working knowledge of the culinary world, it is almost always more cost effective to buy and cook fresh, local ingredients; 3) serving frozen food shows the intrinsic laziness of deadbeat “cooks”.  I hold these statements close due to my ever growing interest in the art of cooking.  I have been cooking quite unprofessionally for the past eight years.  At an early age, I learned the most basic skill of any Italian home: how to make gravy, or “red sauce”, for all you Olive Garden individuals.  The foundation of my ability is Italian and has grown over the years to include other cultures.  The expression of cooking is extremely subjective.  Laboring in a kitchen, presenting a finished product to family and/or friends, and witnessing their reactions to the cuisine allows the cook to become connected to the recipient on an intimate level.

The majority of people first ask what something is, rather than whether if it is good.  If the food is to majorities very difficult standards, three senses activate: smell, sight, and taste.  The smelling of food has the power of linking memories to present day.  When I eat my mothers lemon chicken and rice, memories of being taught how to make that exact meal come rushing to the forefront, years after the lesson.  A commonly used saying states, “you eat with your eyes first.”  This leads to the second aspect: sight.  I, and I am sure many of you, hold this statement true.  The various aspects of the meal must be placed strategically for optimal viewing pleasure.  If presented a plate of food that looks like the scrap heap from the local fish market, most people will push that slop away quicker than Kim Kardashian’s last marriage.  Lastly, the final scrape of the proverbial plate is taste.  If the meal is a success, the chef is praised for piecing together an existentially satisfying meal.  May Buddah have mercy on the chef’s soul if the meal tanks.  Rants about how the fish was “too fishy” or how the rib-eye was under cooked flood the airwaves.  This angers me to the core.  First, you ordered the fish, of course it will be “fishy.”  If you do not like the taste of fish, try NOT ordering fish.  Trust me, this tactic works.  Second, if you prefer your steak any way other than rare, become a vegetarian immediately if not sooner.  Eating a well cooked steak is similar to chewing day old Zebra Striped gum.  You are not doing the animal any justice by eating the cut prepared like leather.  Please stop this blasphemous activity.

This hunger induced rant about cooking is fueled by one attribute needed in this industry, respect.  The chef must respect his or her customers enough to prepare and serve the best quality meal.  The customer needs to respect the chef in his art, as well as the food itself.  With respect, the dining experience will be a much more enriching experience.

Anthony BourdainMy favorite author, Anthony Bourdain states, “Bad food is made without pride, by cooks who have no pride, and no love. Bad food is made by chefs who are indifferent, or who are trying to be everything to everybody, who are trying to please everyone … Bad food is fake food … food that shows fear and lack of confidence in people`s ability to discern or to make decisions about their lives. Food that`s too safe, too pasteurized, too healthy – it`s bad! There should be some risk, like unpasteurized cheese. Food is about rot, and decay, and much as it is also about freshness.”

Option A: Explore all things food and push past boundaries.

Option B: Eat the latest KFC infused Taco Bell gruel on the couch in sweat pants.

Choose wisely.

Chad Anthony attends the University of Dayton, on track for a degree in English. He writes and cooks, while having a weird obsession for hot tea.

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