Please, take a long look at the above juicy slab. Gaze at it, fill your nostrils with the imagined scent of its cooked glory and think of what an amazing taste it will bring to your buds. Doesn't it look wonderful? When cooked, maybe it will be seasoned with a foreign herb or domestic spice, perhaps it will be served in its natural splendor or maybe with a dab of A1. It might be made rare or well, but regardless it will melt in the taster's mouth. The cut can be prepared so many ways; so many tender possibilities.
I have a confession to make: I can't stop looking at meat. Every day, when no one is looking, I open up cookbooks or surf recipe webpages trying to find a good shot of a savory cut. Sometimes I sneak down to the local supermarket and stand around the butcher section for hours, absorbing the rays of uncooked meat.
As I look, I imagine the possibilities: A T-Bone with lemon and pepper. A sirloin made just so. Or maybe a classic Bourbon Street steak. What cut should I pick? How will I eat it? How long will I cook it? At what temperature? The more I think, the more my mouth waters and the longer I gaze.
When I eat other foods, I'll keep a cookbook handy to imagine I am actually eating steak. For that matter, I hardly go anywhere without a photo to remind me of the awesome flavor of meat. One look at the picture, and my desire is temporarily satisfied, although it often returns stronger than before. My computer desktop image is similar to the one above, only it has been airbrushed to remove the fat and accent the bone lines. Edited photos look better and are more effective at inducing hunger, so I prefer them to the untouched images. Sometimes I purchase videos of people eating meat or read stories about other's culinary adventures. This, too, can be satisfying for a fleeting instant, but meat has a way of always calling you back.
I have purchased large posters of uncooked meat and placed them on the walls of my room. Each slab is in a different provocative position. Some of them are adorned with sides of vegetables or steaming mashed potatoes, others are left at awkward angles leaving the viewer to guess what is on the other side. They are all beautiful cuts, well above average, some even surgically enhanced to look more like meat. When I wake up, they welcome me to the new day.
Every now and then, when my family purchases meat at the supermarket, I go nearly ecstatic with anticipation. Sometimes I wake up during the night, rip open the plastic wrap and hastily cook the cut. The result is often unsatisfying and pangs of regret tell me that I might have enjoyed it more had I waited for the others. Other times I gorge myself, eating many times a humanly decent serving in one sitting. That feels good during the feast, but the negative implications of stuffing one's face become readily apparent soon after. A belly ache, temporary inability to eat and, in rare circumstances, food poisoning are inevitable.
After a great deal of soul searching and self reflection, I've decided that my habit is perfectly natural. I mean think about it: we all need to eat, right? Looking at pictures is just part of anticipating a natural human physiological need. Videos, desktop images and stories are a natural extension of human hunger . Those who feel I should put the cookbook down or reduce my consumption habits are obviously starved themselves, or they wouldn't feel the need to criticize. Most of them are vegetarians anyway.
Sometimes I get the feeling I am not the only one. Others look at meat in an equally lurid way and that makes me wonder. Tell me: Do you enjoy gazing at a piece of meat?