Though I often write of myself stomping around the kitchen in frilly little aprons and four-inch stiletto heels like a ridiculously fem-motional domestic diva, that is only me on the outside. I’m pretty sure that on the inside, I am ay-numero-uno A1 steaksauce, superhero USDA prime grade beefy, macho nacho…dude.
Don’t worry. I am not tending toward the transexual, transgenderal, transunionpacific thing. But that sure would make for some interesting dinner dates.
I am a guy on the inside, and we’re not talking about my possibly being a gay man trapped inside a hetero girl’s body.
We are talking about beef.
I never go out to meet new people, let alone food bloggers. It scares me to death. It’s not that I’m unfriendly or snobbish in any way (though I am sure if ever you meet me, it will come off that way). It’s that I am painfully shy. I am ridiculously self-conscious. I am horribly introverted and can hardly attach two words together to form a complete sentence, let alone string sentences into a conversation. Even when there is the bribery of food, I tend to shy away.
Unless it’s beef. Montana Legend Steaks was having a tasting, and I went because it’s beef. I love a bloody steak like the giggling Hello Kitty of an original Japanese Iron Chef judge-ette loves a thimble-sized strawberry mousse with pink sugar pulled into flowers. The way the promise of steak can motivate me to shower, roll my hair in velcro, slip into skinny jeans and put on heels makes me think I’m, uh, guy.
Right…but it’s not just beef.
It’s rare beef. I love steak exceedingly rare, to the point it’s notwarm in the middle, to the point it’s 2” thick carpaccio, to the point it’s straight out of the meat locker. The hosts prepared different cuts to different degrees, so it's difficult to say whether I preferred the NY Strip to the ribeye, or dry-aged to regular aged. I just liked the ones that were the least medium. I haven’t met many girls who eat steak rare. Then again, I haven’t met many guys who eat steak rare, either. Okay, so this was a bad example.
For some reason, girls love to marinate. Why? Maybe marinating is like nurturing. I don’t like “marinade” on my steaks. I do like to nurture, but come sit here by me and I'll read you a bedtime story while I eat my naked steak. Though the Montana Legend steaks we tried were tender (they get points for being tender, even when cooked beyond “rare”), I was slightly disappointed that they had been flavored with herbs, and not just any herbs, but a stupid herb like Rosemary, which is just plain fem (it may also be that I am not particularly fond of a very strong Rosemary flavor). Salt. No pepper. And for God’s sake, no sauce. If I want sauce, I’ll eat pasta, and Worcestershire? Baby, that’s for Bloody Marys.
The entire tasting was a lovely event, set up like a casual, comfortable barbecue in the backyard of someone’s house. I met a couple of food bloggers who shall remain anonymous until they out themselves at their own will, the host, the guys who represent Montana Legend, and a few others. The host had provided some other foods to go with the steaks, which again, made me think I might not be a girl. I barely touched the salads, though the bite of the potato salad I did have was pretty good. You know Koreans and potato salad.
I’m not sure why I am, today, so sensitive about gender-izing foods. It might have to do with this idea of men’s and women’s roles, about which I hate, but quite hypocritically love, talking. That right there just goes to show that I am extremely, schizophrenically, an oxymoron of a girl.
Therapy starts now, and I am my own psychotherapist.
My current bi-polar obsession with gender can be broken down into chronological component parts that address ethnicity, nationality, culture, and Delicious family traditions
that have nothing to do with anything but my Dad calling himself “The Captain.”
Let’s start with my being an Asian girl, as opposed to an African-American girl, or a Caucasian girl, or a Latina girl. Yes! I put them in alphabetical order so you wouldn’t think I give preferential treatment based on ethnicity!
Now, despite what a “long way, baby” Asian cultures have come, it is still a far cry from being gender-blind. And even if we aren’t talking about today, if we go back thirty some odd years to when I was *ahem* conceived, not only was it always preferable to have sons, but if you were so cursed as to have daughters tainting your immediate brood, you would at least want your first-born child to be a son.
My grandfather was the first-born son to the Delicious family - win! My father was a first-born son to him - win! I am a first-born…blogger - aka "loser," but that actually has nothing to do with birth order now does it? Needless to say, my grandmother was quite disappointed, so much so that she refused to accept a granddaughter and only sent baby boy’s clothes to my parents before I was born. In all of my baby pictures, I am wearing blue. The few precious moments I have gotten to spend with my grandmother, she has never failed to remind me that I was supposed to be a boy, as if I had something to do with such a disgraceful failure. Oh, the weight of failure for things that are completely out of my control!
See why the confusion started early?
Now let’s talk about being any girl living in America, as opposed to some third world country where women are beaten. Did I just say something about Asia being close, but not quite there, as far as being gender blind? It’s the same in the US! Okay, so perhaps most Americans treat men and women equally, but I know, I just know, that somewhere there are at least one or two people who think women are lesser on all accounts than men. Just one or two, though, like somewhere in Phelan. Let’s be real. Overall, I will never have the same Marketing Director earning power as a guy even if we both have equivalent education, experience and natural skills. I’m not saying that it’s right, just a fact. Then again, it might have nothing to do with gender and everything to do with how much better dressed I am. You know, I’m used to people thinking I’m too pretty to be so damned brilliant.
Take those two together and you have an Asian girl in the US, which is about the most confusing thing in the world after the Jolie-Pitt family reunion. It’s in my head to hate myself because I should have been a boy. But! I am in the US where we don’t farm anymore so boys aren’t better than girls. But! I am Asian and my immigrant parents, no matter how progressive they are, still fall victim to remnants of their mother culture like getting me “married off.” But! I grew up in what felt like the purest white neighborhood in America (now that my family has moved away from there), so I might be a girl, but most certainly not Asian. But! Now I am in LA and being an Asian female makes me exotic erotic. But! Asian females are geishas who are quiet, demure, and obedient. But!
I am not a goddamned geisha.
And I like pink, I like wearing pretty, girly clothes, and goddamit if I like slaving in the kitchen for seven-and-half hours to put on the table a fabulous dinner for eight, by eight with Madonna’s Hung Up playing in the background!
Good grief, I am a gay man.
Or maybe I’m just fooling my hetero girl gay guy self because we all know that you will never find me anywhere but in front of my laptop, unshowered, un made up, unkempt, barefoot, wearing shredded sweatpants and a yellowing Hanes Beefy-T that I never gave back to my ex- ex- ex- boyfriend. I might not have even washed it since then either! I’m a blogger and that makes me…unisex.
It’s all so very clearly unclear now, isn’t it? Being seen as “Ms. Delicious” irritates me to no end (unless of course, you’re nasty) so, my whole logical, intelligent life, I have fought very hard to be treated as just “Delicious.” Even still, there are conflicting messages in my subconscious that tell me to use womanly wiles, then to “be a man about it,” then to hell with girls and guys, I just want to win.
Despite all of my fighting of gender biasing, I still let myself think that there are “guy” foods and “girl” foods. The whole point is that I’m not a guy on the inside, but that there is nothing wrong with my acting in such a manner that other people might perceive as masculine. Yes!
Now shut up and bring me a steak-flavored cupcake.
Montana Legend Steaks