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Friday, 25 February
Meat; The Parents

A few weeks ago--as my tens of readers may remember, and they'll have to, since I am too lazy to link to it--I wrote about how we organized a large anniversary get-together for the wife's parents. (I say "organized" because we, being substandard children, did not actually pay for the whole dinner. In fact, we cleverly skipped the check entirely by spiking everyone's dishes with a violent emetic; the attendees all stand to come into a good deal of money thanks to several pending lawsuits against the soon-to-be-bankrupt establishment.)

Anyway, the in-laws were wholly surprised and delighted by the entire event (well, up until the mass vomiting and subsequent ambulance rides), and we learned last week that they were sending us a gift of thanks in the form of Omaha steaks. (They are not apparently themselves believers in surprise. Unless they spiked the steaks with botulism as revenge.) So the wife and I waited in gleeful anticipation for the mailman to drop off some . . . meat.

(It is a testament to the wonders of our age that we think nothing about trusting strangers in Nebraska to throw a quantity of beef into a box and give it to the United States Postal Service for it desultory journey across half a continent, where it will then be consumed without much thought or worry. Someday soon we can look forward to having Byelorussian whore-borgs teleported directly into our geodesic yurts for those lonely Antarctic nights at McMurdo station to relax us after a long day of making Shoggoths in the intellisnow with our grafted multi-limbs. [Hey, I'm Neal Stephenson! Or, more troublingly, Cory Doctorow.])

Yesterday, the meat arrived! I don't know what I was expecting . . . some little insulated box, I guess, like a puffy pizza box with the steaks huddled inside, hiding from warmth. What I was NOT expecting was a middle-sized styrofoam tub of approximately beach-going size. It contained mini-bergs of dry ice and several sub-boxlets containing: Six top sirloin steaks, a bunch of preprepared and flash-frozen twice-baked potatoes (soon to be thrice-baked), and a quantity of cheesecake. This embarrassment of riches was less "Hey, have a nice meal on us!" and more like, "Hey, you guys should pretend to be the Roman senate!"

There is a lot of food in our freezer now, where it is probably bummed, after all its travels, to be confined with some homebody blackberries and old hamburger. I can hear it sighing: "Man, I really liked traveling. Idaho was beautiful, and I liked the plane rides. Now we're just stuck here in loser city with these lousy peas."

Naturally, we cooked some of it up right that evening. The steaks were fucking marvelous--nicely marbled, juicy, and flavorful, which I think are qualities that we all as a society associate with anything that comes from Omaha. (It's a little-known fact that Marlin Perkins was enthusiastically eaten by his family after his death.) The potatoes were . . . probably an experiment that should be abandoned: they had a slightly chemical taste to them that gave me once again sinister suspicions of gastrointestinal revenge on the part of the in-laws; perhaps they had laced them with molybdenum? And once you got to the actual potato skins themselves, they proved leathery and inedible, like Marlin Perkins.

I did not touch the cheesecake, since cheesecake in all its forms is utterly horrendous, and should only be fed to recalcitrant sociopaths in prison.

"That's it, Simmons! You shoved that guard's face into a belt sander! Your choice: Thirty days in the Hole? Or eat this cheesecake! What'll it be?"

(Sneering) "I'll take the thirty days, you rotten screw."

"You bums are all alike. Sure, take the easy way out."

It eventually dawned on me that this very generous and very extravagant gift of thanks probably cost the in-laws more than we actually spent on their anniversary party. I felt guilty about this for a little bit, but it was gradually eclipsed by the memory of getting meat. In the mail. I get kind of misty just thinking about it.

And we haven't vomited at all. These guys are all class.


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Comments

Ye've got yerself some awfully skewed ideas on cheesecake, mein freund. Perhaps you've never had delicious NY cheesecake, the stuff so good babies kill their mothers from the womb just to get a slice. (That was a little over the top, wasn't it?)

Comment number: 005531   Posted by: Joe on February 25, 2005 07:10 AM from IP: 67.101.249.220

Your penultimate paragraph would make an excellent thank-you note.

Comment number: 005532   Posted by: Kate on February 26, 2005 07:25 AM from IP: 63.202.20.53

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