WARNING:  There be some very foul language ahead.  I drop the F-bomb a few times, and I thought I’d warn you, just in case you’re sensitive to that kind of thing.  Some people are, which is fine.  If you are, then you might want to skip over this post.  I tend to get cussy when I go off on a rant.

By the way, I think that the occasional rant is good for the soul.  Next time you have nothing to do, sit down, put pen to paper, and go off on a really good tear about whatever’s driving you nuts (it doesn’t have to anything earth-shattering–any minor annoyance can be good fodder).  Really let it rip–don’t hold back, no matter how ranty and ravey and opinionated you sound–and then stick it in a drawer and forget about it.  The whole point is just getting it out of your system.  It’s good for you.  Honest.  Try it.

Anyway, here’s my rant du jour:

You know when you cut into a piece of red meat (or dark chicken, sometimes) and a little stream of reddish liquid comes issuing forth (the liquid can also form a wee puddle if you let it sit on a platter for a little while)?  I hear a lot of people refer to that liquid as “blood,” and they get all squeamish about it.  “Ew, it’s not done!  It’s still bleeding!  Are you trying to kill me?  Ew!”

Shut the hell up, you ignoramus.  You piss me off because you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, and ignorance–worse yet–is contagious.  You’re probably making people around you as squeamish and paranoid (and stupid) as you are.  Shut up.

It is not blood, asshole.

It’s mostly water and it has some stuff in it called matrix myoglobin, which is largely iron.  Water plus iron equals rust, right?  And rust is reddish brown, right?  Hence the color of the liquid on your plate.  It is emphatically not blood.  For God’s sake, just look at it–it doesn’t even look like blood.  You’ve seen blood, no doubt.  Then you should be able to tell the difference between blood and matrix myoglobin and stop being an annoying and ignorant twat.

Matrix myoglobin–if you would stifle your paranoid stupidity and actually think about what you’re seeing for a minute–isn’t even the color of blood, is it?  And it sure as hell isn’t the consistency of blood (again, what you’re seeing is mostly water, and blood is about nine times thicker than water).

Matrix myoglobin helps muscles turn oxygen and calories into energy.  Muscles that work a lot have a lot of matrix myoglobin; muscles that work a little have a little matrix myoglobin.  That’s why chickens have dark meat and white meat:  Chickens don’t really fly, do they?  They don’t do a whole lot with their wing and breast muscles, so there’s not much matrix myoglobin there, so that meat is white.  Chickens do, though, walk around a lot, so the muscles from the hips down (the thighs and legs–or drumsticks; whatever you want to call them) contain a lot of matrix myoglobin and are thus dark meat.

Now think about ducks.  When ducks aren’t walking, they’re flying or swimming, right?  They use pretty much all of their muscles, and so ducks have no white meat.  Same with geese and lots of other birds.

Now think about turkeys.  When’s the last time you saw a turkey fly?  Wings and breasts are white meat, legs and thighs are dark–just like chicken, and for the same reason.

Cows don’t have any white meat because they use all of their muscles all of the time.  Hell, just standing up is a fair amount of work for a cow.  They are big and heavy, after all.  Every time a cow takes a step, the whole body gets a workout, so there’s matrix myoglobin throughout.

And, in case you didn’t know, one of the first steps in slaughtering a critter–chicken, pig, cow, whatever–is letting it completely bleed out.  By the time it shows up on your dinner plate, there ain’t no blood left in it.  Trust me.  Stop being stupid and paranoid.

Meat is made up of proteins, which are long, tangled strings of enzymes, which, when introduced to heat, begin to “denature”–they initially start to relax and untangle, but then “coagulate,” meaning that they regroup in a tighter, more efficient configuration (picture yourself with a handful of wet strings, squeezing them together into a ball).  The liquid–mostly water, with some matrix myoglobin in it–gets squeezed out.  The longer you cook the meat, the firmer it gets, and the more water gets squeezed away.  That’s the liquid that you see on your plate.  It is not blood.  It is water with some iron in it.

I swear to God, I’m liable to smack the crap out of the next person I hear say “Ew!  It’s still bloody!”  Most unfortunately, a lot of the ignorant asses I hear make comments like that actually work in the food biz.  Makes me want to quit.

I’m also fed up with idiotic customers who ask for their steak cooked “medium-rare, but closer to rare, with just a little pink inside,” or “rare on the outside but medium-well on the inside.”  Shut the fuck up, you stupid fuckers.  These maddening ass-wipes invariably send their steaks back to be recooked (often more than once), and you know why?  Because they’re ignorant ass-wipes.  If you make an idiotic request like that, you should shut the hell up and take what you get.

No other country on earth (that I know of) lets you get all micro-fussy with blue, rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, and well–not to mention all the subtle, personalized gradations in between.  Either you want it juicy or you want it dry.  It’s that simple.

In my opinion, one of the biggest and most harmful myths ever foisted on the American public is the idea that “the customer is always right.”  Fuck that.  The customer is very often an ignorant ass and a bully.  Shut the fuck up.

Assess your server.  If he or she seems to be squeamish and stupid, ignore them.  Trust the professionals in the kitchen to hook you up.  If there seem to be no professionals in the kitchen, go somewhere else.

Ideally, you’ll get an informed and intelligent server, which is a God-send, and a professional kitchen to boot.  If you can’t find a place that makes you happy, shut the fuck up, stay home, and cook your own damned steak in your own damned kitchen.

Marginally related:

Ever wonder why brown eggs are brown and white eggs are white?

When I was a kid, I heard all kinds of myths and urban legends about that.  Simple fact:  As a rule of thumb, brown chickens lay brown eggs and white chickens lay white eggs.  Beyond that–as far as nutrition and whatnot–there’s absolutely no difference.

So why are brown eggs more expensive?  Does that mean they’re somehow better?

No.  They’re just the same as white eggs.  They cost more because, generally, brown chickens are bigger than white chickens, which means that it costs the chicken farmer more to house and feed them, and the chicken farmer passes the expense–understandably–on to whatever consumer is dingy enough to pay more for brown eggs.

All that’s true for mass-marketed supermarket eggs, but there are exceptions in the area of “exotic” chickens–Araucana chickens, for instance, are reddish-brown, but they can lay blue or green eggs.  That’s an odd-ball niche market, though.

When you get right down to it, a chicken is a chicken and an egg is an egg, regardless of the colors.

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