Saturday, February 26, 2011

alexander makes a steak (lyn)

When Alexander asks me if he can go to the Bahamas over spring break, and offers to use some of his Bar Mitzvah money, I say yes.  Why not?  He'll be with more than 50 classmates, all unsupervised.  I of course would prefer that he not go, but I trust him, and soon he’ll be on his own anyway. 

Surely if he can travel 1,000 miles with a bunch of 17 and18 year olds, he can make a steak.  I am going out tonight and this morning Alexander says he'd like steak for dinner.   I take a gorgeous12-ounce prime rib-eye from Zabars out of the freezer, and teach him the basics.

I don’t want him using my “new” cast iron frying pan from Le Creuset, for fear he’ll burn the bottom, so I teach him the simple method. His steak will just be on the stove top, not the stovetop-to-oven method that I sometimes use. I go through the basics. 

  • Leave the steak on the counter until it’s room temperature.
  • Coat each side with a small amount of olive oil.
  • Sprinkle each side liberally with sea salt and pepper.
  • Put in frying pan for about 4 minutes per side.
  • Let sit for about five minutes.
  • Eat and enjoy.
His questions are not the ones I’d expect.  He doesn’t ask the obvious, like, “How will I know when the steak is done?”  or, “What if it’s undercooked?” or even, “What if the smoke detector goes off?”  His questions are of a more mundane nature:

  • “Where do you keep the olive oil?” (as if I hide it).
  • “Where’s the salt?”
  • “Where’s the pepper?”
My mother always gets annoyed when I visit in the summer and don’t know where something is.  She’ll impatiently say, “See if you can figure it out.”  I loathe that answer, so I take the ingredients out, and show Alexander where they come from.

I arrive home and the kitchen is spotless.  Everything clean and put away.  Alexander tells me the steak was perfect.  Is this the first step of letting go?

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