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Such A Deal I Have, For You My Special Friend…

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So I’m busy making supper and a guy knocks on my door and says, “I’ve finished making my deliveries and have extra steaks. Only $3.00 each. Would you like to buy some? I have filet mignon and ____.”

I didn’t hear the second cut of beef he was selling. My brain was too busy trying to process the fact that this guy showed up out of no where – well, actually New York (and I live in Rhode Island)  – and he just happens to have these extra steaks… for $3.00 each.

There was this little mouse in my head scramblin’ around squeaking things like, “Who are you?” “Why my door?” “Is it the house? It’s a perpetual construction zone of unfinished projects. Does it look like I would eat filet mignon?” Maybe that’s the thing. He figured I would jump at the chance to have filet mignon on a ground beef budget. (Which, come to think of it, isn’t cheap either.)

The truck he drove was the size of a small pick-up and had a box refrigerator unit in the bed. (About the size of a small U-Haul truck.) Emblazoned on the side of the white refrigerated box were the words ‘USDA Beef’ in a red and blue diamond logo.

  • He appeared spiffy and clean, but what was the name of his business?
  • Have the steaks been kept at proper temperature on the trip from New York to Rhode Island and during an entire day of deliveries?
  • Has the meat been federally inspected? (Maybe that’s a mediocre argument given some of the documentaries out there, but still… mad cow, anyone?)
  • And again, what’s the name of the business?

Okay I admit, I was running on instinct powered by that silly mouse and these questions didn’t pop into my head until after I said ‘no thanks’ and closed the door. I’ll never know the answers. But standing there confronted with this mobile meatman, I just couldn’t think this was a good thing. After all, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Right? (I know, I need to be more open to new things – but food poisoning isn’t one of them.)

Filet mignon for $3.00. Each.

It’s been forever since I’ve even seen one. With my frame of reference, he could have passed off almost any cut of meat (well, not a T-bone steak or a lamb chop) as filet mignon and I’m not sure I would have known any better. (I just had to google to be sure I spelled it correctly.) And then I have this magnificent piece of beef, (how many ounces do you get for $3.00. Each.??) and I don’t know that I’d do it justice ‘cuz I like my beef cooked and an expensive (except this time) cut like filet mignon is more of a stick-it-in-the-oven-turn-around-three-times-take-it-out-and-eat-it piece of beef. USDA beef. Butchered who knows where, by who knows who and only $3.00. Each.

I wouldn’t do it justice grilling it either. I know your supposed to use tongs to grill meat, but I lost mine someplace (how does that happen?) so I use my long handled granny fork and, yes, I lose some of the juice and I’m sure grillmasters everywhere are breaking out in hives. Deal with it. I don’t want to buy another pair of tongs when I have a pair around here… someplace. And for filet mignon, I’d feel obligated to buy tongs. (There goes the savings on the filet mignon for only $3.00. Each.)

And here’s the spooky thing. I already told you I was busy making supper when he showed up at my door, right?

I was grilling a (bought-on-sale) steak out on the back deck.

It’s like I drew him in with the smell or something.

So what do you think? Did I say ‘no’ to a good thing? What would you have done if he showed up at your door?

Holiday Perfection Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

This is the time of year that I feel like a little kid all over again. I have so many sweet memories of Thanksgiving at Gramma Dinwoodie’s with all the aunts, uncles and cousins – the dining/living room so crowded with people and the extended table, you couldn’t move an inch. The family was loud, the food smelled wonderful and as a child, all I had to do was show up to the feast.

Several of us kids would have to duck beneath the table to get to the sofa on the other side in order to take our place. No one cared that we knocked elbows or could barely hear each other over the din. In the small house Grampa built using the lumber from another house he’d torn down, we celebrated our very own Norman Rockwell and Currier and Ives moments.

No, our table wasn’t beautifully set with matching crystal, silver or candles. An open flame in the middle of this crowd could spell disaster. And the turkey never made it to the table beautifully browned and decorated with parsley and kumquats. It was sliced in the kitchen, loaded on platters and set on the table for passing and fast self-service.

After the feast, when the table had been cleared, we would sit around the fruit bowl, each of us swathed in a turkey torpor, cracking mixed nuts or slicing through the tough skin of a pomegranate to suck on the juicy membrane around the seeds. We didn’t have an internet to tell us how to slice and eat a pomegranate without making a mess, but we had fun – mostly because it was the only day of the year we had a pomegranate at our disposal.

My Thanksgivings are still celebrated with family, but it’s not the huge gathering it once was. Now I’m one of the aunts and there aren’t as many little ones underfoot. But the love and the fun and the fellowship is still part of the celebration. There’s still no expensive crystal and the turkey continues to be carved in the kitchen, but I don’t have to climb beneath the table to find my place and there are lovely place cards at each setting and appetizers to enjoy.

So many happy memories, and all of them have melded with, and some how become attached to, the happiness depicted in Norman Rockwell’s painting and modern media’s idea of a perfect Thanksgiving. I see beautiful holiday pictures in home decorating magazines and immediately feel that warm rush of recognition. My real-life experience jumbles with the ideal depicted on the page to create a fantasy Thanksgiving that, though I may never fully live it, serves to enhance the homey, down-to-earth imperfect perfection of my real-life holiday which is truly a time of thanksgiving.

If you want to see bits of a  fantasy Thanksgiving mingled with the reality , hop over to my board at Pinterest and take a peek.

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