Suddenly we have a cow. Not a whole cow but just a quarter of a cow, butchered and dressed, with hooves and hide and other extraneous bits removed. It lives in the deep-freeze waiting to be cooked, although, come to think of it, "lives" isn't really the right word.
Living as we do surrounded by farmers who raise beef cows, I suppose it's about time we sampled some of the local product, but nevertheless, I was not expecting a cow to show up in the freezer uninvited just when I need to devote my grocery budget to the many pounds of butter and chocolate required for Christmas cookies. But the resident farmer struck a deal with one of his Farmers' Market buddies and the result is a quarter of a certified black angus grain-fed antibiotic-free cow in the freezer.
"I thought you might want to cook some beef," he explained.
Now beef is not my best thing. I can do remarkable things with chicken, fish, and pork, but I've always found beef overpriced and underwhelming. I can go months at a time without buying, cooking, or eating beef, except that I craved cheeseburgers while I was pregnant with my son, which led to our referring to him before birth as "The Beefeater." (And won't he be surprised to come home from college next week and find a cow awaiting him.)
But I digress: my husband's usual method of asking me to make some special dish is to bring home the ingredients and say, "I thought you might like to cook some [whatever]," even if [whatever] is something I've never expressed any desire to cook, so when he comes home accompanied by a cow and says "I thought you might like to cook some beef," he's really saying "I want beef."
So the other day I cooked some beef--nothing special, just a pound of ground beef browned with onions and peppers and mixed with tomato sauce and spices and rotini, topped with cheese, and baked in the oven until bubbly. I noticed, though, that the ground beef was a rich red and very lean, and while browning it released an aroma that I can only describe as really beefy.
And the taste? Astounding. If this is what beef is supposed to taste like, then what's all that stuff in the grocery store masquerading as beef? Where has beef been all my life? And when can I cook some more of it?
Plenty more in the freezer. Steaks, burgers, or stew? I think this cow and I are going to get along just fine.