The thing is, I’ve always taken great pleasure in the taste of beef — in all kinds of cooking. There are dozens of unbelievably satisfying dishes in Vietnamese cuisine in which beef plays a starring role, many of which I grew up eating regularly and with great alacrity. I’ve had beef in France and Italy and even in the culinarily-challenged United Kingdom and thought to myself each time, “This is living.” I’ve relished the taste of a great hamburger many, many times and, gawd, I’ve unabashedly driven far out of my way to get my hands on one.
I’m thinking a lot about this because I’m going to dinner tonight with friends at a restaurant in New York that, though not the most famous of its kind, is my favorite steak house in the city. The rib-eye steak there is gorgeous and decadent, and it’s going to take an herculean effort to resist it. I’m not sure I’ll be able to; in fact, I’m more confident that, afterwards, I’ll be filled with a stomach full of expensive red meat and a chest full of regret. Rationally speaking, I’m so sure that beef is cruel and inhumane, and that it constitutes a kind of velvet assault on my cardiac health, and yet I’m drawn to it. Jeez, if they only had a version of the nicotine patch for people trying to kick beef, I’d head to the pharmacy right now.