Eating undercooked meat is not rare

Jim Lee

Why is undercooked steak called “rare” when it’s so commonplace? Isn’t “rare” supposed to indicate something unusual? There’s nothing unusual about undercooked steak.
A lot of people like it that way, but I ain’t one of them, friends and neighbors. Some people like it downright raw in my estimation. Why don’t they just run out in the feedlot and bite a cow on the fetlocks?
Some people think a steak is overdone if it doesn’t scream when they stab it with a fork. There’s even something called steak tartar, but no way am I going trespass into that territory.
This brings to mind a recent restaurant adventure. You saw this coming, didn’t you?
It all started with vacuum cleaner bags. We ran out of them, and we were unable to find the type we needed in Portales or Clovis. If we ordered through the mail or by telephone, it would probably take longer than getting Houston to the Super Bowl. And our names would be peddled to every telemarketer’s sucker list from here to Helsinki. So that was out.
We could have ordered them from a Web site, then again how long would it take to get them? Besides, we already have enough e-mail spam and Internet pop-ups.
The only option remaining was close to 100 miles by car. Oh well, a leisurely drive across the scenic Llano Estacado might be fun. We would have a day’s outing on the weekend and enjoy ourselves.
We thoroughly enjoyed the drive, having left the cell phone at home and not telling anyone where we would be. Saundra and I chatted and laughed over things that would be insignificant to anybody else and thoroughly enjoyed the companionship and change from the sometimes stifling routine of day-to-day life.
We found the vacuum cleaner bags (along with some stuff we didn’t really need) and decided to have dinner at a favorite restaurant. As you have probably guessed by now, this is where the plot thickens to a gloomy goo. (It wasn’t all that bad; I just like coming up with cool expressions.)
Unlike an episode a few weeks back when she was out of town, Saundra was with me at the restaurant. So nothing could go wrong.
Right.
Her dinner arrived exactly as she ordered it. I had ordered my steak medium well. To me R-A-R-E stands for Red-And-Runny-E-coli. Of course it came more rare than the Hope Diamond. So I sent it back for cooking. A few minutes later I faced cremated beef and cold veggies.
I didn’t cut into the charred slab of bovine masonry out of fear of injuring the knife. Otherwise, my meal was perfect. I would have drunk my dinner after that, but I was the designated driver.
I learned a valuable lesson from this field trip to Ptomaine Territory: When I need vacuum cleaner bags, eat before I leave or settle for fast food. After all, who can mess up a simple burger? Uh-oh, maybe I shouldn’t have said that.

Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail:
dr_james_lee@hotmail.com