I like meat. I just can’t cook it. Over the past decades a landfill or compost heap no doubt owes its existence to the cuts of meat I have ruined, burned, crisped, turned into items resembling the soles of old leather boots discarded by Victorian wastrels.

prime ribThe cooking of meat, in my hands, is a crime against cuisine. I know my way around a chicken thigh or trout fillet, but a steak or chop is my downfall. A raw roast, rack of ribs, sirloin will stare at me from the platter, daring me to do my worst. And I do.

Many years ago, I was diagnosed with high cholesterol, and welcomed the opportunity to turn my back on meat, and the scent of failure I associated with it.  I became one of those obnoxious people who trumpeted their purity and higher calling. “I never eat red meat,” I would say, nose in the air (no doubt to avoid the smell of hostility.) I was insufferable. I pontificated on how I could smell a meat eater from five paces. (To a certain extent, I think this may be true. Once you eschew red meat, your sense of smell changes, or at least it did, in my case. But, of course, I was busy being obnoxious.)

My fangs were not desecrated by the taste of red meat for almost three years. I saved money on groceries. I lost 10 pounds. I also lost at least three friends. Maybe more. But who’s counting when you are a superior being.

Times change. And the righteous have fallen. I am still unable to transform red meat into anything edible, but how I crave it at times. I have thrown myself back into the arena of foodie gladiators, ready to chomp on anything rare and red to keep my strength up.

If the Grey Eagle Casino ever opens again, I will be first in line at the buffet, plate aloft, tongue hanging out unbecomingly. I have been getting my iron fix there for years. Sometimes, despite all the other delectable offerings, all I take is prime rib (medium rare) mashed potatoes and horseradish. Maybe a green bean or some bok choy, for the illusion of a balanced plate. I ignore the dessert and salads. I concentrate on second and third helpings of prime rib. The carver no longer even asks what I want, just smiles, and slices off some nice hunks of juicy prime rib. I am (pretty) sure it is the pandemic that caused the temporary closure, not this shameless diner.

Happily, I have discovered another source of prime rib not devastated by these times. Sunterra Market in West Market Square has a carving station for prime rib. Gold mine. Sure, you have to put pedal to the metal to get home in time so that it is still warm, but despite the fact that you can’t go back for fourths or fifths (oops, did I say that?) it is well worth the money.

I have gained back more than 10 pounds. I am round. I hope I am no longer obnoxious.  But me and meat, we’re okay.