Where’s The Beef?


Man cannot live on broccoli alone…or so my husband and kids tell me.  The truth is, as a singleton I attempted to prove the opposite.  I starved out more than a few guests who, looking for a snack, found only broccoli and water in my refrigerator.  But even I had to admit after a time, a re-acquaintance with chicken and fish was necessary. And with the advent of husband and boys into my life, even the occasional meeting with pork loin had weaseled its way into my culinary repertoire.

But, when my growing boys began to ask, “Where’s the Beef?”, I knew I was in trouble.  You see, I have never been on good terms with Beef.  We don’t like each other, and my attempts as a newlywed to prepare Beef resulted in varying forms of barely edible shoe leather – proving, Beef and I just did not play nicely together.

However, one night, while perusing a cookbook, I came upon a recipe for Beef Brisket.  In light of recent requests (demands, threats to hide my ipod) and excitement over mentioned recipe, I decided to take on Beef once again – beat him at his own game.

So off to the store, list of ingredients in hand, I went.  The first sign I was in over my head was at the meat counter.  I ordered the recipe required poundage whereupon the butcher began piling hunk after huge hunk of meat onto the scale.  It probably would have been back to the fish counter for me, but butcher-guy, seeing my deer in the headlights look, quickly suggested I cut the recipe down and try one hunk of Beef.  And once I solved the “consommé” vs “beef broth” mystery and got over my fear that liquid smoke was not just some guys dying breath in a bottle, I was ready to begin preparation.

However, from the outset, Beef and I suffered misunderstandings: First being that, Beef had to marinate for 24 hours (oops, “spaghetti for dinner tonight?”). And second, the following night after 24 hour marinating, discovering that Beef did not cook for 40 minutes but for 40 minutes PER POUND (umm, “dinner at 9:00 tonight?”). Nonetheless, hunk of Beef and I finally came together and completed the meal.

So finally, the moment of reckoning had arrived. I gingerly took Beef out of the oven.  Beef looked good.  Beef smelled really good.  I cut Beef into slices and served Beef to my, by now starving and salivating, victims family.  Whereupon we discovered…I had made… the most wonderful…possibly first time ever…Beef Brisket Jerky. It wasn’t flaky, or tender, or delectable.

Nonetheless, either out of fear this would be my last foray into Beef’s world or out of sheer pity; my patrons verbally declared it a rousing success:

“It tastes good”,

“At least its beef”,

“It’s not that chewy”,

“I like jerky”,

“It tastes like some I had in a restaurant once” (note to self, never go to that restaurant again).

Their heartfelt accolades were so sincere and insistent I almost began to believe them; enough, at least, to consider casting my lot with Beef once again.  I guess you could say we may never be BFF’s, but at least now, Beef and I seemed to be on speaking terms.

But, just so Beef would not get the last word…

I made Carrot Cashew Soup for dinner the next night.

11 responses

  1. I just loved this story. Sounds like several of my misguided forays into new recipe land. As for your pre-marriage refrigerator items, remember the time my mom visited you in Hollywood and took a picture of the lone bagel sitting in your frig? I also remembered the commercial you made where you had to take bites out of a hamburger but assured us that you took very little bites. Keep on writing.

    • I forgot about that she actually took a picture of that lonely bagel! But, I do remember cousin Helen joyously proclaiming she was able to lose weight while visiting me in LA. For that Burger King commercial, I got off easy – we spit out the ‘bite’ we took of the hamburger after each ‘cut’ and, as you remember, I took small bites of mostly bun. Thank you for reading!

  2. You are too funny!

    I have never, ever attempted any form of beef besides ground hamburger meat. In fact, I’m quite certain that if I told my other half I’d be making a brisket he’d promptly reply, “Why don’t *I* give that one a shot?”

    The family jokes that I like mine “burnt” which in reality means that I like mine well done and not mooing, as they do.

    Maybe you and I can figure this thing out together, or perhaps you should just share your “jerky” recipe with me! 😉

    • Oh yes, I would be happy to share. Maybe my problem is that I don’t like Beef and it can’t sense it. So glad I am not the only one that is confounded by Beef. Thanks for reading and laughing!

  3. It is usually a hot or miss with the beef. I have learned how long to cook flank steak on a salt block and make it well. But I can screw up the easiest. Try again and good luck! Crock pots are great to cook beef in.

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