A few weeks ago I was out with a group of people from work, including my boss and my boss’ boss (try saying the last part of that sentence fast repeatedly – unless you have a life instead). We went to a French restaurant. The waitress came up to take our order and the conversation went something like this:
“What can I get you all?”
“I’ll have a steak. Medium well”, my boss said.
“I’ll have the same, except medium for me, please”, a colleague chimed in. At which point my boss said:
“Hmmm, you know what, I’ll go for medium as well”
The waitress began teasing the two of them, saying how it was suddenly turning into a macho competition about who could have more blood in their steak. Then my turn came to order and I ordered steak tartare. Continuing with the joke the waitress said: “Yeah, and yours just has to be extra raw, right?”. To play along I went: “Sure. In fact, just bring him in alive, I don’t care!”. Everyone had the obligatory “this-isn’t-all-that-funny-but-we’re-all-in-on-it-so-we-may-as-well” laugh. The waitress went away to see to our order.
You know how steak tartare is basically a dish made from raw minced meat, right? Yeah…I didn’t. I lived blissfully unaware of this particular dish and its ingredients for almost 30 years. Funny, then, that I should learn about its existence in these circumstances. Here I have to add that I’ve never eaten or even considered eating raw meat. My whole life I ordered “medium well” or “well done”.
Actually, had the conversation not gone the way it did, I was in all honesty about to ask the waitress for a well done steak tartare. When she didn’t ask me about how I wanted my steak I figured she’d just bring it “medium” as for the rest of the gang. So I didn’t comment. My guardian angels must have been saving me from an embarrassing situation. That’s right, I sincerely believe that guardian angels’ sole purpose is to save us from making dumbasses of ourselves in public.
So then, instead of looking unsophisticated in front of my boss and my boss’ boss (this never gets old, does it?), I was taken completely by surprise when my steak tartare arrived in all of its…rawness. Since it would have been even more embarrassing to admit my ignorance at that stage, I proceeded to act completely nonchalant and eat the whole damn thing.
I survived, but I won’t be ordering steak tartare again anytime soon. Or, for that matter, “steak” followed by any other word that I don’t recognise. Ah well, at least I know what “surge protectors” are: