My friend Janet has a number of food sensitivities and allergies. She has pretty much avoided meat for years. But recently we met for a drink on a patio, chosen for its proximity to Saslov’s butcher shop.
“I’m going to start eating meat again,” she announced, “because the list of foods I can no longer eat keeps growing and I need to eat something.”
This winter alone she added eggs, gluten and sesame seeds to the Forbidden Foods list. Now that she can’t eat eggs, she’s not getting much iron.
A couple of days earlier she had been out shopping with a friend and she was suddenly famished and had to eat something immediately or she’d swoon and perish on the spot. This happened right outside a fast-food restaurant (Death’s Doorstep, so to speak) so she rushed inside and wolfed down an emergency burger.
The next day she felt good, and credited the burger.
So now here she was, sipping on a Killer Koolaid on Daniel O’Connell’s patio and contemplating the re-introduction of meat to her diet. Afterwards we went for a walk, visited the CUBE gallery, and then headed into Saslov’s.
Janet had a lot of questions for the butcher – questions about organic meat and bindings and packaging and the advisability of taking her meat home on her bicycle on such a hot day. The butcher answered all her questions and got her a bag of ice for transporting her meat.
Meanwhile, I picked out a mango-lime-cilantro marinade, which, as it turned out, wasn’t as good as it sounds.
I caught up with her in the checkout line: she had painstakingly selected some organic ground beef and organic lamb. She was going to make burgers and a lamb stew. I suggested she start with just one and see how it went. She could always pick up more meat another day. She agreed, and put the lamb back in the cooler.
Then she paid for her ground beef and sped off home on her bike with her ground beef carefully tucked into her knapsack on its bed of ice.
A few days later I emailed her and asked her how the meat worked out.
“Oh,” she said, “It’s still in the refrigerator. I’m going to cook it later this week.”
Hmm. I emailed her back and said I felt it my duty as a friend and a more experienced carnivore to advise her of the perils of eating hamburger that has been sitting in the fridge for a week.
“But,” she protested, “they told me at Saslov’s that it’ll keep for three weeks in the refrigerator!”
“Maybe they meant the freezer,” I said, “Because I’ve never heard of hamburger like that.”
“I can’t put it in the freezer,” she said, “because once things go into my freezer, they never come out.”
I was glad I’d talked her out of buying the lamb.
She phoned Saslov’s and they said it would probably be better to freeze the ground beef if she wasn’t going to eat it soon. So she did.
A few days later I asked her if she’d eaten it yet.
“No,” she said, “I told you, once it goes into the freezer, it never comes out. I might as well have donated it to the Smithsonian.”
In the meantime, she’d eaten half a burger and some cake at a party, and felt like death the next day. Of course there was probably egg binding in the burger, and gluten in the bun and the cake, so maybe they were to blame. Or maybe it was the meat. There was no way of knowing. She didn’t seem quite as enamored with meat as she had the day we’d gone to the butcher shop.
I saw these awful vintage meat ads today. I wonder if they could revitalize Janet’s fading aspirations of becoming a carnivore? They don’t exactly inspire me to fire up the old barbecue.