After a hard day on the dusty range, the cowboy sits near the camp fire, his tin cup full of hot joe, with a plate of canned beans and...and what? It's not the leg of a roast squib in a tarragon sauce or a delicate crepe suzette. Indeed, there is only one thing that could possibly complete this meal. The cowboy has a thick slab of beef standing tall and rugged, like a rocky island among a sea of brown beans and molasses.
The image of cow and man is inseparable and the mystique extends even to our language. For example, to beef up is to make something stronger, better, and tougher. "Where's the beef?" is a rhetorical question in a search for substance. "Bull headedness" is a term that embodies the best of the manly virtues.
Men are known to be fond of steaks, roasts, shoulders, ribs and just about anything that can be sliced, hacked or bitten from a cow short of the hooves and the eyeballs. Simply mention "prime rib" at an all male venue and you will see eyes stare longingly into space and mouths water.
This attraction between MANkind and beefkind has been a hallmark of human history. It runs deep into our pastoral ancestry. Cattle were once the primary form of barter and a prime store of wealth. At that time, when someone got their "pound of flesh" it was a legitimate transaction.
A doctor of physiology would attribute man's inclination for beef to a biological need for protein. A Freudian psychologist might put it down as a subconscious desire to die before our wives by cholesterol poisoning. A behaviorist would explain it as an image thing. Indeed, there is some truth in all of these explanations. After all, beef cattle are the biggest, strongest, meanest, fattest and most protein packed of the creatures that we humans typically eat.
In the end, though, life just isn't that complicated. Beef simply tastes good. That's why we eat it. Try a beef recipe that defies philosophic argument by clicking on "next page", beef pot pie...
Here's the Beef:
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