Friday, December 5, 2008

The Berkeley Meat Torture

(photo from the flickr commons)

I have written before about the Chicago Meat Torture, a fateful Christmas involving a near endless supply of restaurant grade prime rib, and the Brazilian Meat Torture, an all-you-can-eat experience at the restaurant Espetus.

I have now discovered the Berkeley Meat Torture. One might be surprised that such a bastion of California Hippieism should have its own Meat Torture bearing its name, but that just makes it all the more insidious.

To fully understand this phenomenon, I must first divulge an egregious misrepresentation of truth that I have propagated. Indeed, I have told several members of my immediate family that my girlfriend Diana “doesn’t really like Turkey that much”. Not true! I must now strive to correct that error and impress upon my family that she is indeed not a very picky eater as they may perceive her to be.

Truth be told, Diana “does not mind turkey” at all. Why then, at her request, did we not have turkey for Thanksgiving dinner? Because of the Berkeley Meat Torture.

I am sure I will get details of this story wrong, but the gist of it will reveal the truth. You see, her father had, at an inappropriately young age, a heart attack which lead him to a very restrictive diet involving virtually no meat of any kind. Her mother cannot eat poultry. These two facts when combined with her grandparents being of the typical doting kind and her sister being several thousand miles away in Japan have resulted in numerous Thanksgivings wherein Diana was on the receiving end of an entire Thanksgiving’s worth of turkey leftovers. Now, that much turkey could put even a turkey lover off turkey, at least until Christmas, so imagine how that repeated event affected someone who “does not mind turkey”.

So this year, we had ham. I didn’t mind as I figured I’d have turkey of some kind while I’m home for the holidays. That and I like ham. And it was a Honey Baked Ham. A really good one. But the smallest ham you can buy is still a f@#$ing lot of ham.

And guess who got ALL the leftovers?

Even after giving away huge quantities of the ham to various friends, by lunch on Tuesday, a mere five days after Thanksgiving, I had chocked down my last humanly endurable piece of ham. Diana, being the veteran of the Berkeley Meat Torture that she is, made it all the way through dinner Tuesday night before waving the white flag and foisting the remaining leftovers on her co-worker. I don’t think I need to eat any more ham for several months at least. Maybe I’ll have recovered by Easter. We shall see. I'm not even sure when I'll be able to bring myself to make soup from the ham bone.

That ladies and gentlemen is the Berkeley Meat Torture. May it long enjoy its place in history.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.