April 21st, 2008

The Healing Powers of Steak (Maybe)

Good Monday to you!

I was watching old “Seinfeld” reruns (a common theme in my life when I can’t sleep due to an overactive mind and borderline OCD) and I caught the one where Kramer gets a nice shiner and busts into Jerry’s apartment looking for a steak to heal it.

Jerry hands him a big T-bone and Kramer puts it right on his eye with a huge, “Ahhhhh!”

Now, we see this all the time in the arts — plays, movies, TV shows, cartoons — where someone puts a raw steak on their eye to soothe a black-and-blue bruise.

Is it really true? Does steak really have healing powers?

My inquiring mind wanted to know. So I set about looking for the answer. First stop, Wikipedia. Here’s what the collective wisdom was there:

Putting a raw steak on a black eye (an old wives’ tale) has long been known to have no medicinal value; doing this will lessen the bruise, but not the inflammation.

Here’s what I found at answers.yahoo.com (if it has the word “answers” in it, it must be correct, right?):

No . . . however the coldness of raw meat act like ice. 
A bag of frozen peas is better and cheaper, but to get rid of the discolouration you need an astringent like witch hazel or good old vinegar, the white one works the best.

MotherNature.com says this:

Sirloin steak is what my father used,” says Jimmy, a second-generation butcher at Richard and Vinnie’s Quality Meats in Brooklyn, New York. “When I was a kid, I used to get a lot of black eyes, and my father, being a butcher, used to put steaks on them. And it worked!”

Jimmy’s dad had the right idea, but it was the coldness of the steak, not the meat itself, that did the trick. In fact, a vegetarian would have gotten the same results by using iceberg lettuce!

So . . . looks like our steak’s coldness is its true healing power. But my belief is:  If YOU believe it helps you, then it does!