Friday, March 02, 2018

happy cows are tasty cows

"Steve, there's something wrong with my telephone. There is nothing on your blog since you wrote about my birthday."

From some mothers, the subtext would be chiding. But my Mom was merely concerned that she had missed a post.

She hadn't. I have been a bit lax in posting for the past month. Not that nothing has been happening in the lives of the Cotton clan. We have been busy on most days enjoying the sybaritic pleasures of Mexico. I just have not been writing about it.

Well, today I am.

The Cottons are beefeaters. We may as well be outfitted in red and black uniforms before being plastered on a gin bottle.

Other meats do not go untasted. But beef is our celebratory meat. We have not consumed a turkey for Christmas or Thanksgiving for decades. None of us would be interested in such a boring plate.

If there is a party, it requires prime rib. With a Cabernet au jus. And a wide variety of sides. Oven-roasted potatoes with fresh grated horseradish and stone-ground mustard. Soy-garlic-blistered green beans. Apple-beet-ginger-jicama salad. Kumquat-mango sauteed chili peppers. Greek wedding rice.

The supporting cast possibilities are endless. But the star is always the prime rib. Cooked to rare perfection. Literally.

And why are we even considering the king of foods at the beginning of March?

When I told you about Mom's 90th birthday, I mentioned our big celebration was going to occur when her granddaughter (my niece) Kaitlyn arrived. Well, she will be here on 6 March. And we will then announce, in true Indy 500 style, "Gentlemen, start your ovens." Because only the gentlemen are allowed near the oven.

When we bought our prime rib a year ago for Christmas 2016, it turned out to be one of the best pieces of meat my brother and I had ever tasted -- let alone prepared. So, we returned to the source. My favorite butcher in San Patricio: La Vaquita Feliz. The Happy Cow. The name somehow always reminds me of Al Capp's shmoos.

After a bit of negotiation and clarification with the butcher, I paid a $1000 (Mx) deposit, the remainder to be paid the next day on delivery.

It arrived while Darrel and I were waiting. An 8-rib roast. Just under 10 kilos. All for $4,948 (Mx) -- about $263 (US).

We asked the butcher to cut it in half because the house oven is a bit small. Last year, the 4-rib size was just perfect.

And there it is. The danger every cook faces. Building up expectations based on past experiences.

But that is all right. If the meal is not as good as last year's, it will mean the other half of the roast will have an opportunity to excel. It is the American way.

For Mom, it will be like a Hanukkah of birthdays before she flies north later in the month.

And for all of us -- Mom, Darrel, Christy, Kaitlyn, Omar, and me -- it will be another guaranteed time enjoying one another's company over the best food in town. 

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