I’ve never really thought of myself as a revolutionary leader, but the time has come to create my own army.
My army will not invade other countries, even if we create plenty of reasons to do so. My army will not have basic training and we will not prop up an industrial complex.
Instead, we will eat meat. The meat will be beef. And the beef will be cooked.
On this day, I stand before mankind and shake my fist defiantly in the air and shout that I shall eat no more rare beef!
Biographers may want to note that as I make this declaration, I’m standing atop a hill looking somewhat rogue-ish with the wind blowing my hair. It is a look that inspires resolve and awe among the soldiers of my army.
Let it be known to all men that. … (Yes, I know “all men” is not politically correct, but we revolutionaries have little time for such trivialities. Plus, PC kills drama.) Let it be known to all men that I, Ross Norton, shall eat no more rare beef! (We revolutionaries love the word “shall.”)
My people, the eaters of cooked beef, have suffered. We are criticized and scorned, sneered at and denigrated. We risk indignities anytime we eat in public or even at friends’ homes. When we order our steak without red or pink, we are greeted with raised eyebrows, deep sighs or, sometimes, open sarcasm. Often, the steak arrives rare anyway. It is served with a patronizing tone, implying that, poor things, we just don’t know better.
I saw a cooking demonstration on television not so long ago and the cook put up a chart that told how long to cook a cut of beef for the desired outcome. At the top of the chart was the word “very rare” and to the side was a number indicating how many minutes to cook it. Next came rare and medium rare and so on. At the bottom was “well done” and to its side, rather than a number for minutes, were the words “Why bother?”
My people have known suffering.
Personally, I’m a medium well, with a preference for the last shades of pink. I don’t want my steak well done, but, in the revolutionary spirit of Voltaire, I will fight like hell to defend the well done-ites’ right to have it their way. The rare-ites believe my people overcook our meat because we’re scared of blood. That may be true for some, but I think most of us simply prefer the taste when it’s cooked our way.
I have eaten bull testicles, alligator, rattlesnake, sheep brains, pasta with squid ink, the liver of various animals, sushi, bushels of steamed oysters, one raw oyster, hotdogs with red dye, potted meat, souse, scrapple, Vienna sausages, an assortment of French things I could not identify and, perhaps most daring, two Hostess Twinkies, including that white stuff on the inside. With the exception of the Twinkies, I ate them all willingly.
I am not squeamish.
I eat beef despite concerns of mad cow disease. For some reason, I actually trust the government to let me know when something is wrong with our food supply. And until I launched this revolution some 500 words ago, I ate rare beef whenever it was served to me despite its inferiority to the carmelized mellowing of a sublimely prepared cut that spends a little more time on the fire.
As leader of this movement, I can’t be seen settling for rare steak anymore. I implore my followers to go proudly into this world and to demand your steaks be cooked the way you want it. Be not ashamed. Spread the word, in fact. We want it cooked, by golly, because it’s better that way.
I have strong feelings about pesto, too, but that cause must be taken up another day.
Today, on the matter of meat, I am … well, done.
Ross Norton, a former journalist, resides and works in Clemson, S.C.