Steak was the father's food. The end of dining, if you will. To him, there could be nothing finer than a steak grilled to perfection and served with the simplest of accompaniments. Anything more complex than a potato was considered an insult to the meat, which itself brooked no adornment. It made for a boring meal, but this realization never seemed to reach him. I like to think that he was so blinded by his mania that it never occurred to him that mom and I didn't enjoy it as much as he did. The fact of the matter is that it never struck him because we were never more than inconvenient accessories. That, however, is a different story.
There were times when we took trips to the Hilltop Steakhouse in Danvers, MA, just for the sake of their t-bone. Danvers is not much of a trip from where I live now. It's probably twenty minutes, tops, all highway driving. I'm also not completely averse to waiting close to an hour to be seated at a restaurant if I'm certain about the experience. Being packed into a car in Winthrop, ME, and enduring a 3 1/2 hour car ride to Danvers for steak drove me to the edge of my sanity. This was only made worse because he insisted that where we were going was a "surprise." I knew where we were going, and despite his insistence, I knew it was never for me. I think I would have dreaded knowing otherwise.
It begins before that.
It was rare that we ate together at home. I can't recall more than a handful of instances when we did, and more often than not, those were disastrous. What I do remember, I remember vividly. It's difficult to forget getting screamed at for doing nothing more than sitting and eating quietly because the father decided that I made too much noise when I opened my mouth for the next bite. Harder still is the beating I got when I refused to say grace the one and only time he decided that it should be said over his steak. That time, I got thrown up stairs, which even at the time I thought of as a novel twist. Mom pulled him off of me. She got the worst of it. A couple hours later, I got to come back to the table to eat my cold dinner while she sat across from me, stone still and crying.
I have no idea why I'm doing this.
I got to thinking about it all again because I attempted steak last night. It came out... not as good as I had hoped. The basil and olive oil seemed to work well with the Bailey Hazen Blue, but there was too much salt in the rub, and the steaks were on the grill for too long. I wasn't surprised.