My long strange relationship with red meat.

In college, a friend of mine turned 21 and we went to Outback for her birthday. I guess because of the margaritas? I’m not sure. It wasn’t my choice. It was actually a fairly uncomfortable night for me in general, for a whole lot of reasons, but the one I will mention here is the food. I ordered . . . soup and salad, I think. I am pretty sure. Maybe I ordered chicken, but I think it was soup and salad. And a friend of mine (not the birthday girl) was sitting next to me, and she ordered steak. And another friend of ours who was sitting next to her also ordered steak. This completely freaked me out.

You see, somewhere in my mind, I seem to have gotten the idea that women don’t order steak in restaurants. Women eat steak at home, but wouldn’t . . . purchase it. In a restaurant. Obviously. I think that this happened for a few reasons: First, when I was young, my family didn’t go out to eat very much. Second, when my family did go out to eat, we were very price conscious. And third, my mom generally isn’t the type to order steak in a restaurant, both because of price and personal preference. Add all of that together, and Young Kari gets the idea, somehow, that it’s not . . . ladylike to order steak. And yet there are two of my friends, brazenly ordering large pieces of red meat. I felt very awkward. I probably looked awkward, because I remember declining vehemently after Mike encouraged me to order a steak. On the way home we untangled the situation and he kindly explained to me that it was perfectly fine for me to order steak if I would like.

But still, even now, I don’t order steak in restaurants very often. Sometimes when we are at a steak house, Mike will insist that I JUST EAT STEAK, ALREADY, and in those cases he will place my order for me, since he knows how I like steak and I know very little about it. And I will joyfully devour my large piece of red meat. But, in general, I still don’t order steak. I am more comfortable, I think, eating it at home.

You can imagine, then, that I broke into a cold sweat when I was told we were going to Gene & Georgetti when I was in Chicago. But, but, but . . . that’s a steak place! And one of our guidebooks says the waiters are notoriously brusque! And Mike’s not here to order for me! And I don’t know what kind of steak I like! And the waiter might yell at me! And so, I did what any independent young woman would do in my situation: I called Mike before we went to the restaurant and got him to tell me what kind of steak I like. My brother was also there, and he weighed in with his opinion. I’m so ashamed of myself. I mean, really. I should know that. (I do know it, now. Hopefully I won’t forget.) At least I didn’t chicken out and order chicken.

And, I must say, the steak I had was quite excellent – probably the best steak I’ve ever had in a restaurant. The waiter was nice. The cosmopolitan was very good. All in all, a very positive experience. I am now, on Brandi’s recommendation, trying to convince Mike to take me to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I’m like a whole new woman. Stay tuned for my new and exciting cholesterol problems.

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