Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Thing About Meat

Before I met CP, I had learned to survive on a staple diet of stir fry, Mexican food, Asian cuisine and Italian dinners. As a university student, mince and chicken met my food budget. And as a first year teacher, friends and flat mates inspired my stir fry craze. Back then, I couldn't tell whether or not I was eating beef or lamb, and steak was something you could eat at the Breakfast Creek Hotel for half my weekly earnings.

On the first few outings with CP there were no opportunities to actually eat. It was usually a night out at the Pub with friends, which involved more alcohol consumption than food intake. On the rare occassion I did see CP eating, it was probably a steak burger or something similar.

Early in our relationship, I visited the farm. It was an opportunity to meet his parents, and take a small tour of the most important place in CPs life. It was a lovely afternoon.

His mother took the time to ask me if I could cook and clean. Luckily I can. But I didn't have the heart to tell her that if CP had two arms and two legs and a beating heart, so could he.

When he came to visit me on weekends, I usually prepared a healthy stir fry. Lots of chicken, loads of veges, and a nice flavoursome sauce. I was cetain that my meals would be enough to impress him. He ate every last bite. Even though he probably enjoyed those meals, he probably snuck out for a roast of the day when I was sleeping.

Over the next few months, dinner with his parents usually consisted of a roast, with potato and veges, or cold meat and salad, or chops, steak or even stew. I should have seen the signs far sooner than I did.
For even though CP ate my chicken, all the poor boy really wanted was beef and lamb.

The simple truth about all the farmers I know, is that meat, three veg and potato is all you need impress them.

Ten years after meeting CP, the large majority of our meals revolve around red meat, salad or veges and some sort of potato dish. And CP couldn't be happier. On the nights I serve up a stir fry or a quiche or something similar, I am met with either 'This looks delicious! What's for the main course?' or 'What meat will we be eating with this?' A meal is incomplete until red meat is served alongside the other ingredients. I have developed my cooking skills as a farmer's wife, much to the credit of CWA cook books and The Country Table.

And don't get me started on seafood! Living 650km from the sea, I am always slightly dubious about using seafood as an ingredient in my cooking. CP is even more dubious. I love a good prawn on the Bar-B as much as the next person, but it's become something of an extravagence these days.

Thankfully (according to the Blood Group Diet - of which I am not really familiar with at all) being an O+ means that I can pretty much eat all the meat I like, as often as I like. And thankfully being married to a sheep and cattle farmer means we have the luxury of not having to pay for red meat. Our grocery bill is scary enough without even having to add meat to the equation.

On the down side, there is such a thing as 'too much of a good thing'. On more than one occassion CP and I have had a discussion something like this:

Me: "What do you want for dinner?"
CP: "I don't know. What do you think?"
Me: "We don't have any meat left."
CP: "There is lots of meat! I saw it myself yesterday."
Me: "Only roast lamb. And I can't be bothered cooking and eating roast lamb again. I'm sick of it."

The craziness of this isn't lost on me!

I'm doing my best to decrease carbon emissions at our place, one animal at a time...

Meat is THE staple food of a farmer. CP likes his food simple. He talks about how if more people ate meat, the world would be a better place. But maybe not in those words. And this addiction to meat is clearly genetic, because my kids are all meat addicts. If we go to a BBQ, they will choose steak before sausages. And me? I still like my 'chook food' (as CP calls it). But I can definitely handle a good lamb chop every now and then too.

If you ever find yourself in a position of having to feed a farmer, keep it simple. A well cooked (as opposed to well done) steak is definitely the way to a farmer's heart. Just ask Sam Kekovich.

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  1. Funny post. I particularly agree with the idea of impressing a farmer by producing meat and 3 veg continually. You don't need to get too complicated....

  2. I wonder if there is a farmer anywhere who doesn't love their meat and 3 veg? The only way I ever got to cook anything else was to invite visitors from town for dinner and hope the farmer wouldn't make a fuss about the lack of "staples".


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