Monday, June 22, 2009

An Experiment: Steak

I've always been a little wary of cooking meat, especially since as a child I was a vegetarian until age ten. And after that, it was always my parents who handled the meat, and who served it in delightfully pleasing forms alien to my concept of any raw or butchered animal.

As everyone who knows me is probably sick and tired of hearing by now, I recently read this incredible book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Now, I'm not a fan of her fiction, but this nonfiction account of her family's year spent eating only self- and locally-grown foods is not only incredibly inspiring but also very honest about the pros, cons, and possibilities of her family's venture. One chapter deals with the slaughter of the first round of heirloom turkeys pre-Thanksgiving, and while the account is indeed bloody the farmers display an incredible amount of gratitude and respect towards the animals they raised humanely and subsequently use fully.

Now, I'm not saying I'd like to slaughter my own meat, but I'm certainly getting more acquainted with the idea of cooking meat myself, especially since Star Grocery (near where I live) stocks Niman Ranch beef and other local meats. I've never been particularly picky; recent months have seen me fall in deep passionate love with sushi (previously abhorred), attempt to put zucchini in nearly everything (previously dismissed as "useless") and even make the extra effort to taste things like shrimp (of which I'm still not really a fan). In keeping with having a healthy diet, and living cheaply, I'm trying not to buy too much meat, but it's become considerably easier for me to deal with handling it when I know it's been treated humanely during its lifetime. Plus, between spinach and the occasional meat dish, I'm probably not going to have to start taking iron supplements anytime soon!

Here's a solo dinner I cooked up a few weeks ago: chuck steak pan-seared (just seasoned with salt and pepper), arugula salad with avocado and feta and lemon dressing, and ice water! Seriously, I forget to drink water so often, but drinking juice feels basically like pouring sugar into my veins so I try to avoid it most of the time.

Miss Alison, in Two Parts

This was a day for picnics; for mac n' cheese, for guacamole and chips and sitting by the lake as the sun goes down.
miss alison lives here and here.