We were trying out a new steakhouse in St Annes the other evening and it reminded me how eating out and lifestyles had changed over years.
The first time I saw a steak served up from the grill was in the 1950s, as a young lad on a family holiday outing to New Brighton.
A well-dressed, single man ordered it on a nearby table at a seaside café come restaurant. We were on fish and chips and the only steak we ate at home was stewed or braised – if we were lucky.
When it was served up to him, the diner, to everyone else’s embarrassment, complained his luxury choice was too small and overcooked.
“Must be a Yank,” my dad commented. Now we all eat choice steak, meticulously choosing weight, cooking time and accompanying sauce with practised style.
In St Annes steaks came with ‘parsley butter, seasoned fries, (deep-fried) onion loaf, balsamic-glazed tomato and choice of lettuce wedge and steak sauces’.
Fortunately, our steaks are still not as huge as those served up in America – where I had to settle for the unmanly choice of ‘Ladies’ Rib’ (still almost a pound in weight).
On Saturday, waitress Debbie (we were introduced - American style) took our order on a hand-held computer with lots of attentive questioning. I struggled to choose between my usual sirloin or a more tender fillet, both matured over 30 days (or ‘well-hung’ as we used to say).
In the end, I went for the fillet but later agreed my wife’s ‘50-day-aged, grain-fed and finely marbled’ American-style ribeye was tastier; while my classic Bérnaise dressing paled against the latest version of ‘beef-dripping sauce’.
Other patrons, I couldn’t help noticing, were bigger, louder and more demanding than we English used to be. I fear it’s all that ‘marbling’ (fat) in modern-day food.
What next – ‘Cattleman T-bones’?
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