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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rant of the Week: Do You Really Want Your Steak Well Done? The Horror!

I'm currently reading a great book called Art of Choosing and it brought up some interesting points about choice that got me thinking about choice in how you eat.

More specifically, choosing to eat something a certain way, as the author herself experienced when trying to add sugar to her green tea when visiting Japan (her request was politely declined).


I realized I've had plenty of moments like those and find myself torn. You know I'm a steak and burger lover, so when I see someone ordering their steak or burger well done, I gasp in horror and do everything I can to stop them or change their minds with limited success. Do I need to let go? Am I obstructing their exercising freedom of choice? Or am I guiding them to make a "better choice," as I'm deluding myself to believe?

I recall going to have sukiyaki, one of my favorite hot pot dishes when it's cold outside, and seeing a friend dip the sukiyaki vegetables in soy sauce and being horrified.

So I ask: is it that bad to consume things in ways different from the way they were meant to be consumed? What is the line between fun improvising and faux pas?

Here's another one. I once brought some kimbab, Korean rolls, to a dinner party and got super annoyed when a friend asked if I had soy sauce she could dip them in. "You don't dip this in soy sauce because they're not like Japanese rolls where you dip them in soy sauce and wasabi!" I thought to myself. Besides, everything in kimbab is well seasoned so there's actually no need to dip them in any sauce, maybe except for kimchi juice?! Was I depriving her or guiding her? I, of course, saw it as the latter since it may have tasted too salty if she had dipped them, given the seasoning.

The point is, some hard core sushi chefs insist we should consume their sushi exactly as they meant it to be consumed. Some steak houses would balk at well-done requests. I remember feeling a rush of victory when I managed to get an acquaintance to try a burger cooked medium (rather than well done) that he liked. Woo hoo! One down!

Have you ever had this dilemma?

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