Before we get into the meat of today’s cooking lesson, I want stop anyone who would read the title and decide that baking steak is a viable option. It is not. For heaven’s sake, keep your steak OUT OF THE OVEN! Now… let us continue.
Sickness had taken hold of me the night before and had stricken me bed worthy for the entire day. The sun had come up and the sun had gone down, and still, my tookus remained prone. I had made a few raids on the fridge, eating everything that was quick and easy to make, but I was now staring blankly at the tomatoes and chicken broth in my refrigerator at 7 pm. And I was hungry. Calculations started spinning in my head estimating the amount of time each item would take to prepare and how long would I have to be standing to make it?
As I scanned the items numbers popped up in front of each one:
- Frozen Chicken… 30 minutes cooking – 30 minutes standing
- Fried Cheese Dumplings… 20 cooking – 20 standing
- Rice… 15 cooking – 15 standing
- Eggs… 10 cooking – 10 standing – 2 minutes picking the eggshells out of my omelet
- Mayonnaise Sandwich… 5 cooking – 5 standing – 1 eating – 1 minute throwing away disgusting mayonnaise sandwich
At this point, dinner seemed hopeless.
Then I saw it. The beef I had put on the bottom shelf to thaw. I had planned, before the Ebola got me, to make a nice stir-fry for this evening’s meal. That would not be, but this beautiful ole bovine was just waiting to be devoured. The only problem was the prospect of actually cooking it…
- 5 minutes to clean unwashed pan
- 3 minutes to dry meat
- 15 minutes to sauté meat
- 5 minutes putting on the BBQ sauce (I like BBQ sauce)
It would’ve had me standing for hours.
So instead of cooking the steak the way God intended, I lit the flames on my “Guess the Temperature Now” oven, dumped the wet meat on a metal tray, and shoved the whole lot in. Done and done. I set my alarm for 15 minutes and skedaddled back to the sheets gleefully. They were still warm. Success!
But oh, how wrong I was.
When the timer went off, I threw some buttered toast on my plate to complement the meal and retreated once again to my bed. I took a bite. And another bite. And another bite. And another bite. I chewed so ferociously I could’ve eaten through a watermelon, but to no avail. Those tender beef cubes I had spent so much delicate time preparing were now square-ish mounds of Michelin tires. The best, and only thing, I could do was to lick the BBQ sauce off them, eat my toast, and sulk in my hungered state.
I could easily go into a line of complicated thoughts about why trying to save time will actually lose you more of it in the end. Or I could go into greater depth about why and how we should cook steak the right way. I could, but right now, I’m in mourning. I’m sad that what I thought was a brilliantly lazy idea would backfire so disastrously on me. I’m sad that a cow had to die so that I could mis-cook his flesh. I’m sad that I’m hungry. But the saddest part is that my tears of grief and shame will do nothing to soften the baked steak that will never ever be my dinner.