Medium rare no more

January 10, 2010

I have never had any interest in being a vegetarian, despite my complicated spiritual views. My days of eating huge steaks are over. I’ve become friends with eating chicken feet (dim sum) and tripe (ditto) occasionally, I love chicken and fish of all kinds. I don’t eat too much red meat, knowing it’s not that great for you and I’m convinced eating too much red meat gives one a strange smell.

Last week I read in the paper “these days, no one in their right mind should ever eat anything less than medium-cooked hamburgers.” At a birthday party at Burger Bar on Melrose Ave last Thursday I almost ordered a rare burger, reading that is was grass fed (so how could it be bad?), but settled on medium rare. Later that night, and for the next two days, I expelled every ounce of anything in my system. To be fair, quite a few friends ordered the same thing and were fine. Luck of the draw I guess.

The experience was a sobering one. I realized how devastating vomiting is for older people. Every muscle in my body aches. Laughing, sneezing and coughing all hurt. The acid over my vocal cords make me sound like Tom Waits.

I’ve learned from twisting my ankle last year that as we get older, we must always be mindful with every step we take. Now, I add to that list, food, and how it’s cooked.

There was another nauseating thing about going the the Burger Bar: the volume of the music and people talking was deafening. We were all almost hoarse at the end of the evening from shouting at each other. My body was rebelling even before I ate the bad burger. I just don’t get it: is it a turn on to scream at people at close range while eating? Is there something I’m not getting? In that my whole body is part of my hearing apparatus, I have resolved to protect it from such insensitive ignorance on the part of restaurant owners and will spread the word to boycott to anyone who asks.

Remember: after an evening in a loud environment where you return home with ringing in your ears, you have done permanent damage to your ears. That night, I ripped up some black napkins to use as temporary earplugs. One young man commented on how cool my temporary earplug looked. I replied: “tell the hearing aid makers this, as people in your generation will all be wearing them by the age of 50, and I agree, black looks much cooler than the icky flesh colored ones so common today” to which he replied [shouted] “What??”

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