Yesterday afternoon I was in the Big Chickenhouse with Landlady’s Brahmas, making some revisions to the nesting arrangement. Some of them have taken to sleeping on the top shelf and raining copious chickenshit down onto/into the milk crates where the eggs are supposed to go, so I cut a piece of old plywood and covered the top shelf with it. The egg count is creeping upward (five yesterday, though somebody hasn’t figured out the concept of a ‘nesting box’) so they’re starting to earn some of those hundreds of pounds of pellets they’ve gone through.
Anyway, as I said I was scraping chicken shit off a shelf when my phone rang. (forgive another digression: When I lived in the city, I really hated my cell phone. I called it my electronic tether. All it ever did was let people hand me bad news and unwanted tasks. I used to turn it off for days at a time and dread the inevitable angry messages when I turned it back on. But since my life changed, my cell phone works for me. That’s an unexpected benefit.)
(Ahem) Anyway, as I said my phone rang and it was my neighbor H. And she said something incredible, something I don’t recall anyone ever saying to me before.
She said, “Do you want a New York Strip Steak?”
“Um…is this a trick question?”
“No, see, I’m thawing some steaks, and [J] doesn’t want this one because he doesn’t like the color but I swear it was red when I froze it two weeks ago and I think it’s fine. I’d hate to throw it away.”
“Yes. Yes, that would be wrong.”
She laughed. “So…”
“I’m over at [Landlady’s] right now, up to my elbows in chicken shit and have to finish what I’m doing. But you can expect a visit very, very shortly.” As you can well imagine, I was as good as my word.
Now: I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t always been the gushing fountain of useful skills you see before you today. And I had to admit to myself, on my way home with my wonderful slab of deceased bovine goodness, that in the absence of a barbecue I’d never actually cooked a steak in my life. I’m aware you don’t pan-fry them, not ever, not unless you’re planning to use it to re-sole your boots. And you’d be proud of me, for this time I actually remembered that I possess that greatest of all possible research tools, right there blinking on my desk. Or it started to blink when I switched it on.
And almost as fast as you can type “how do you broil a steak,” I was rigging my second-best bread-cooling rack over my iron skillet on the broiling shelf of my oven, and pre-heating them just right. A little salt, a little of this liquid smoke a kind reader just sent me, into the oven, watch the clock most carefully…
And yes, it’s true I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s true I make this shit up as I go along most of the time, and my failures can be uncomfortable and sometimes even my successes are inadequate. but I gotta tell you, once in a while,…