Many years ago, before the Internet had connected us (and deconnected us in may ways, as well), a friend brought me a steak for my birthday. It was a massive rib-eye, cut thick, straight from the butcher’s case, except he wrapped it in holiday wrap and put a bow on it. When he brought it by, he told me to put it in the fridge.
At the time it seemed like an odd gift. My wife thought my friend was nuts, “Who does that?” she wanted to know. “He can’t just be normal and get you a book or a CD or a new tie?”
Thank god he didn’t get be any of those things, because he has horrible taste (I would have ended up with a self-help book, or a Wayne Newton CD he ironicall thought was “the greatest thing ever”), instead I got a fantastic dinner for two built around an aged ribeye that would have cost just by itself about $200 in a decent steak house.
I bought some very good wine to go with it – the kind of stuff that sells $100 a bottle in a restaurant, but only a third of that from a local bottle shoppe – and now my wife the naysayer is still talking about that dinner as one of the most romantic and satisfying we ever had at home. Moral of the story? My friend the weirdo is now my friend the genius.
(Bon vivant, food writer, raconteur)