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People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading*


It's my sister's birthday today, and the Boy and I went out with my mum, sis and her boy to a lovely French restaurant in Edinburgh. The food was all delicious, the service was good, and the surroundings were comfortable. I had crusty bread with olives and feta cheese to start, followed by lamb with a redcurrant and rosemary jus, french fries* and seasonal vegetables.

Just one problem.

My lamb was still bleating when my plate arrived.

Now, I know it's supposed to taste better if it's a bit pink in the middle, but I just can't eat something that is oozing blood onto my plate. The waiter warned me when I ordered that the lamb would be medium-rare, so I asked for medium. The only reason I didn't ask for it to be well-done was that I knew I would get disapproving looks from both Sister and Sister's Boy (who are both major foodies - Sister's Boy works in the restaurant trade). But I wasn't expecting it to be quite so pink.

Sister's Boy ordered a rare fillet steak, and I couldn't even look down at his end of the table until he'd finished. He practically had to spear it with his fork to stop it scampering off his plate and back to the field. It looked fine when it arrived but as soon as he cut into it it became apparent that it was really just a hunk of raw flesh that had been briefly introduced to a hot pan.

I know this betrays my extreme ignorance when it comes to food, but it just seems wrong to me. When I cook at home I'm always paranoid about NOT cooking meat properly, so it just seems unnatural to me. And my lamb was more than slightly pink. Bill Bryson writes in 'Notes From A Big Country' (one of my all time favourite ever books, EVER) that 'a barber will give you the haircut he wants to give you, and there is nothing you can do about it' - it seems that French chefs will give you the steak they want to give you, and there is nothing you can do about it.

But despite my squeamishness, the lamb was lovely. The best thing was that there was enough of it that I could eat round the pinks bits, and still be full at the end of my meal. Not so full that I couldn't squeeze in the creamiest, most delicious creme brulee I've ever had in my life, thankfully.

*Yes, I went to a fancy restaurant and ordered CHIPS. I'm a pikey.


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At 27.2.07, Blogger Cat said...

I generally don't eat meat, other than chicken here or there - for the most part, I just don't like it. I'm terribly squeamish though, and if someone has something that's virtually still breathing, it makes me feel quite ill. I recall a memorable occasion when I was retching over the dinner table as my companion mopped up blood with his bread with relish. Bleeuuccchh!    

At 27.2.07, Blogger James said...

Mmmm - rare lamb. Delicious.    

At 27.2.07, Blogger Drama Queen said...

Way back I had a flatmate who's uncle was a butcher. We went to his one sunday for sliced sausage rolls. I watched as he fried the sausage for approx 5 secs either side and whacked it into a bap. I meekly asked for it to be cooked longer and he refused looking totally insulted. I decided to make myself eat it and prepared my gag reflexes. Biting in I was surprised to realise that it tasting bloody delicious. But not good enough for me to venture there again.

Happy B'day to your sis.    

At 27.2.07, Blogger Random Reflections said...

Definitely not keen on the whole bloody food thing (have been trying to think of a way of saying that to not sound like I'm swearing. I'm tired, so I've given up. Sorry)

I also try and avoid most food that looks like it did when it was alive, so I avoid things that still have eyes and when I was in Russia last year they kept serving tongue (I was more careful on my phrasing there), I politely declined. I'm not a fussy eater but I have to draw the line somewhere.    

At 27.2.07, Anonymous Al said...

When I was about 11 we went to France for the day. We had lunch in a restaurant where I had a less than well done steak (it was sent back for additional doing and still walked back to the table itself). I then barfed it all over the Eurotunnel duty free shopping centre thing.

I've never been too keen on French cooking...    

At 28.2.07, Anonymous david said...

We went for a French meal in Perth last week after a truly world class concert by the Scottish Ensemble (played Elgar with a passion to die for)at Perth Concert Hall. I ordered my meat medium rare, but it was certainly what I would call rare in my book. OK on the outside, but gey red and wobbly in the middle. It was a question of mind over matter, as it actually tasted delicious. 'Medium' next time should do it. And the creme brulee was wonderful too.    

At 28.2.07, Blogger SpanishGoth said...

I love meat and because I haven't lived in the UK for 9 years now I've pretty much got the hang of eating on the continent.

Rare = point meat at cooker and announce "if you don't watch it, you'll be on then" before tossing on a plate

Medium rare = doesn't bleed till you poke it (even with a spoon)

Medium = bleeds when you cut into it

Well done = cooked

If you want UK style well done use the phrase "nuke the bastard please"    

At 28.2.07, Blogger Teeny said...

So it seems I'm not the only one that has this aversion to rare meat! I was expecting lots of 'you don't know what you're missing' type comments...

Next time I'll use Goth's 'nuke the bastard' tip. Stuff the chef!    

At 1.3.07, Blogger SpanishGoth said...

Now I can't do the bag-tag that's going around at the moment (contents of my handbag being fuck all) so I'm going to create another TAG - if you have an iPod, you have to switch it to random and list (truthfully) the first ten songs, artists that it throws up and seeing as you cannot tag just one person I tag the following 5:-

Shaz, Drama Queen, Teeny, Tippler, and Cat

Answers on your blogs please and then you have to TAG another 5 peeps - let the fun begin.

(No iPod? not getting out that easy, pretend you have one and let's hear what weird crap you listen to.....)    

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*Logan Pearsall Smith

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