Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Theory of Scarcity

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Let me ask you a question: what is your most favourite food?
For the vast majority of my life, my answer to this question would have been "steak". The peculiar thing about this said choice of mine is that for the majority of my life, when steak was my answer to the above question, I was in no position to have much steak. My parents would serve me with regular servings of steak, but frankly given their financial position and my mother's approach to cooking we are not talking about the world's best steaks here. No disrespect, but when I think of my mother's steaks the image that pops up in my mind is that of a tough sandal.
The years did not render my steakly years better. Getting a good steak in Israel used to mean going to a restaurant with good steak offerings, and these are not that common or cheap. Even less common was the availability of good company to go to such a restaurant with.
Only when I moved to Australia did the picture change. Suddenly, good steaks are everywhere; good steaks are affordable; good steaks are easy to cook at home on my own barbecue. Steak heaven.

Or is it?
Roughly at the same time steaks became easy as pie my preferences started changing. I started becoming more aware of the fact a sentient animal was murdered for the pleasure of my stomach. I started becoming aware of the beef industry's environmental impact. I started becoming more aware of the health impacts of red meat on one hand and barbecue cooking on the other (in case you were unaware, it is very much unlikely barbecues would have received health approval were they to be invented now). Clearly, my stomach no longer belongs to the steak.
There is a new king in town. There is one food now that utterly dominates my dreams: it's the one food I can happily live with for breakfast, lunch and dinner; it's the one food I had available for the bulk of my life; it's one food that's actually not that bad for one to eat. It's called humus, and for reasons unclear to yours truly but regularly lamented on these very pages it is one food that is very hard to put one's hands on at Australia. At least in its higher quality manifestations.

And this is why I am suggesting that the things that attract us the most are often things that are generally not that attractive in the first place; they are just hard to get.

3 comments:

wile.e.coyote said...

I had few Porterhouse in my life (not enough) and it is always appears as T-shape, one side fillet and one side NY strip.
In the middle as a desert you get to chew the bone.
The image suggest another part or even worst...you removed the bone!

I still look at steaks at the best food ever created.
The old country provides few good places to eat one, best was and still is NG.
You are right, prices for good meat around here can make you go for a lower quality places, most of the local places for steaks around here makes me miss Dallas.

It's funny that one of the most famous steak houses in the world is branded Australian, but not a lot of people there know Outback.

Moshe Reuveni said...

Not that I claim to be an expert on the matter, but my understanding is that in Australian you call the steak served with the bone T-Bone while the same cut served without the bone is called Porterhouse. Given I'm not a dog and have no use for the bone, I prefer to go porterhouse.

Re Outback, I wonder if its world fame is similar to the World Series encampsulating the universe entire?
Anyway, remind me: NG = ?

wile.e.coyote said...

NG is...NG.
Steakhouse in Neve Shdek in TLV.
They serve the best Porterhouse I tested in this part of the world.
Price is the sad point, 340 NIS ($97 USD) for 1.2KG.

T-Bone and Porterhouse are very similar, they both got a T-shape.
T-Bone is closer to the front of the cow, so the ratio is more fillet and less strip.

The best part of T-Bone and Porterhouse comes at the end, you take the bone in your hands and start to dig in.