July 2008 Archives


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In the couple of years since I started eating meat, I've come to realize that I just don't care much for it. Oh, there's bacon, but I don't eat that every day (and wouldn't want to). But the biggest disappointment has to be barbeque.

I swear that on a regular basis, maybe once a month or so, for all the years I've been in California, somebody has told me that they would not be able to be a vegetarian because they would have to give up barbeque. Now, given that I couldn't be a vegan because I would have had to give up brownies and butter-fried eggs, I expected barbeque would be something special.

It turns out that barbeque is meat with sugar syrup basted on it.

I'm sorry, but that is gross. I've had grilled meat, which is just fine, nice stuff, a great way to eat meat. But slather on a mixture of sugar and a few spices, and you've taken what could have been a great piece of meat if it had been minimally processed and turned it into an attempt at dessert.

The biggest disappointment is the local barbeque restaurants, touted to me as a great place for really good food. Not only is everything slathered in a fairly unappealing sugar sauce, but for the most part, the quality of cooking on the side dishes leaves a great deal to be desired. I'd order the vegetarian option but there usually isn't one, or if there is it manages to combine the worst of both worlds, slathering a piece of tofu with sugar sauce. And since tofu has no inherent fattiness or saltiness to balance the sugar, it ends up even more sweet.

The question I have is this: why can't you just cook the meat as meat? What's wrong with the taste of ribs that you have to make them so sweet? I can understand marinating a piece of meat before cooking to tenderize it, but does it need to be sugared to be edible? I've eaten ribs cooked straight up on a grill, and they seemed really good -- the meat had decent flavour, and they were cooked just enough to bring out the juices, so you got the flavour of the meat in every bite. It was delicious. Then I have barbeque, and I can hardly tell what sort of animal I am eating for the over-seasoning. What is wrong with meat-eaters?

Next week on the grumpy diner, corn bread: would it kill you to make it fresh every day?

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