A couple years ago, my wife and I decided to give up red meat for health reasons. Basically, my wife has a history of high cholesterol in her family, so we decided to try to nip it in the bud by basically cutting all mammals (except pigs) out of our diet. I didn’t really have any medical reasons to join in on the boycott, but I decided that eating a prime rib in front of CinC HOUSE while she was gnawing on a chicken breast would be bad for my health in a completely different way.
I thought it would be awful. I grew up on the Northern Great Plains in a meat and potatoes household. There were very few days when beef wasn’t a part of our dinner. In fact, since my grandfather was a rancher, I had actually met our meals quite a few times. When we went out to dinner, I nearly always got a hamburger and fries. This habit continued well into my adulthood. I seriously thought that I would go into withdrawal if I tried to remove cow from my diet.
It was actually incredibly easy. We just substituted in meals that included chicken, fish, or pork. The favorite dinner of this household is when I make chicken fried steak (seriously, our daughter requests this meal for her birthday). I simply amended the recipe so that it included pork cutlets instead of cube steaks. After a couple attempts and a few minor tweaks, it turned out better than the original. Every once in a while, I’ll crave a Philly cheese steak, but it quickly passes. There was also an asiago-infused prime rib at a Brazilian steakhouse in Kansas City that still makes my mouth water. Other than that, it isn’t an issue.
In fact, the thing that I miss most about red meat has absolutely nothing to do with the meat. I just mostly miss pickles. For those of you that just started looking at your computer screen a little oddly, let me explain.
Growing up, I inhaled pickles. There was actually a Christmas or two where I got 2 gallon jars of them as gifts, and it wouldn’t take me long to finish them off. When I ate hamburgers, I would stack the pickles so high that they were thicker than the actual patty. It’s safe to say that I was a fan.
As I grew older though, I grew out of the habit of eating pickles by themselves. I had a hard enough time getting girls to talk to me. I didn’t need hands that smelled like pickles helping me out. I kept loading down my burgers though. My wife would make fun of me, but I didn’t care. This was just between me and those beautiful little green slices.
Now, of course, I no longer eat hamburgers. I’ll have a turkey or veggie burger every once in a while, but they just don’t scream for pickles that way a good old fashioned piece of ground cow does. As a result, I almost never eat pickles anymore. That’s why the food that I miss the most since giving up red meat is pickles.
Probably the only thing that could be more pathetic than that is writing about it….