June 18th, 2008

Buffalo — It’s For the Birds

My husband and I went to an upscale restaurant here in the city we live in. We thought we’d be chic and try it out. (Can you ever really be chic if your house is filled to the brim with plastic Star Wars toys?)

We sat down and took in the atmosphere. Very nice. Beautiful decor.

Then we looked at the menu.

There was absolutely NOTHING for me to eat.

We caught eyes and telepathically sent this message to each other, “Are we THAT pathetic that we can’t find something — anything — we like on this menu?”

Had our palates been so tainted over the years by chicken nuggets, hot dogs and so much ketchup you could sink a warship that we were no longer interested in new and exciting foods?

Then I saw it. A buffalo ribeye.

That was it. I was ordering the buffalo ribeye.

I initially looked past the fact that it said “buffalo” and I focused on the “ribeye” part. How could I go wrong? It was ribeye for Pete’s sake!

Then our plates came. They were beautifully presented. And my ribeye looked somewhat familiar. I felt safe. I felt happy.

But all that changed after my first bite.

There was a hint of gaminess — you know, like my uncle Earl had shot it earlier in the day and hauled it home in the back of his 1978 pickup.

And it was a little tough. It was then that the idea completely took over every cell in my brain . . . I WAS EATING BUFFALO.

How is this any different than eating, say, cow, you ask?

I don’t know. But I couldn’t get the image out of my head.

I kept seeing log cabins with no electricity and Conestoga wagons and Native Americans being kicked off their land. It was horrible!

I put my fork down and tried not to ruin my husband’s meal of some strange sea creature.

I was through with buffalo.

I don’t know why we insist on going out to restaurants and subjecting ourselves to someone else’s idea of what a good steak is.

It’s never quite right.

We know good steak. And we never mess it up.

Maybe that’s the lesson here.

I know one thing. I will never ignore the word “buffalo” on a menu again. If I ever see it I will keep scanning until I find the chicken nuggets or hot dogs.

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