Eating a Sacred Cow and The Super Bowl Shuffle

June 22, 2014 at 11:27 am

One of our neighbors is a Chinese Canadian who is married to an Australian woman, Josie,  who enjoys wearing extremely revealing outfits.  She would stop the traffic in Hyderabad if it was not already moving at a crawl.  Kathleen spent yesterday with her shopping and said that women and men were staring at her.  Even guys driving in cars were staring into Josie’s CRV.   I asked  Kathleen if guys were walking into light poles or if the cars were running off the roads.    You have to understand that women are covered up here.  Bare arms are common, but generally the Hindu women wear floor length sari’s or some form of leggings.

Josie recommended a steak place to us that we decided to try.  It is a classic hole in the wall.  There might have been 6 tables in the place in addition to 2  dining room size tables that lay flat on the floor.  Folks sat on pillows and ate  Indian style.    As I went to take my chair at a table, I was surprised to see a picture of Refrigerator Perry.  I said to Kathleen, “There’s my man.  The Fridge!”  It was a picture of him from the back.  He was standing on the sideline looking out over the playing surface of Lambeau field.   I then noticed that the walls were covered with 3 rows of photographs.   Directly above Kathleen’s head was a picture of   “Sweetness”  Walter Payton.  His helmet was off and he had a big smile.  To her left was a picture of the Sears Tower with lighting flashing across the sky.  To her right was the John Hancock Building.   I then had to get up and look at all the pictures.  All the pictures were of the USA.  The Chrysler Building, Kansas City, Boston, cowboys of the Wild West, the 1906 World Champion Cubs and on and on.  I could not believe it.

The waiter then came up to see what we might want to eat.  I asked him what was up with all the Chicago pictures.  He said Chicago spice?  And nodded his head yes.  I tried a couple of more times to see if we could get on the same page, but it was clear that he was going to prepare my steak with some kind of a Chicago preparation…who knows what.  I gave up and Kathleen and I decided to take a few minutes to order some food.  We were a little nervous.    When the waiter offered water and I asked if it was bottled, he said it was not.  Bottled water is always available for foreigners with sensitive stomachs.    Kathleen suggested that we should consider leaving since it was such a dive.

Also, bear in mind, we are living in Hindustan.  The Hindus do not eat beef.  I am not sure that they literally worship cows although they are certainly polytheistic.  They  reverence the cow  because it  gives of itself.  Cows provide milk, labor in the fields,  and their  dung is used both as fertilizer and as fuel.  They almost speak in hushed tones about the animal.  The Hindus that work as tanners with the cowhide are not respected.   I wonder with the growth of the hospitality industry if there are Hindus in the kitchen cooking the beef.    A couple of months ago, I decided to stop eating meat since whoever is cooking it rarely prepares it according to the requested temperature.  Medium well shows up rare.  Even so,  energized by a  picture of the Bears doing the Super Bowl Shuffle,   we worked up our courage and took the plunge.  We ordered the least spicy preparation of steak soaked in a balsamic vinaigrette and honey marinade.

In India, you do live with lowered expectations.  We were not expecting our steaks to compete with Gibson’s or Hyde Park and they did not. However, I have to say they were delicious.  Tender. Flavorful.  Perfectly prepared. We devoured them.   I also appreciated the waiter providing us with bottled water.  I am sure it was not a result of a request that he could not understand.

The check is never brought to the table here.  They want you to stick around and relax.  As we were looking around for someone from whom we could request a check,  a swarthy body builder who was in some of the pictures came up to see if he could help.  After saying we were ready for the check, I asked him if he was the chef.  It was Chef  Inan Khan himself.    When asked, he shared that he had lived in Chicago for 3 years before moving to the Boston area for 8.  When he learned we were from Columbus, he was excited to share that he had owned a restaurant in Dayton Ohio for a while.  He came home to India since his father’s health is failing.   As we said good night, we told him that the food was excellent and that we would be back.  What an unexpected surprise.  Thanks Josie!