I hereby challenge you to make a beef stir fry that tastes good.
In my fridge lives a container of raw, stir-fry shaped beef strips of unknown “cut” as I threw out the original packaging.
The beef oozes pure menace instead of juice. It hates itself, yet bathes in the power of its malevolence, and knows no amount of coaxing will produce any beneficial flavor or texture.
It will be tenderized, soaked in various salty sweet liquids (have you ever had Huli-Huli sauce oh my gosh it’s so good I think it’s basically soy sauce and sugar of course), rubbed in acid to it break down, charred and cooked in a wok, and citrafied (not a word) at the last minute in a desperate attempt to bring out some kind of actual taste.
But it will resist.
Ultimately as it enters my greedy maw just a whisper of flavor will emerge. But just a hint, a tease that It Could Be Sweet (like a long-forgotten dream) ala Portishead.
Like the faint but promising heat of an equinox sun I feel on my naked form as I roll out the compost, recycling and garbage bins purportedly for “environmental services” sold at a premium when really my household’s detritus will end up in a domestic hole in the ground since China closed its international holes in the grounds in response to various foreign, trade and economic policies but all along I thought stuff was actually recycled.
It’s a dirty lie. I lie I told myself to make things easier. A lie they told me because they know I want to Believe. A lie the sun tells me now as the last vestiges of heat drift away, nay, whisked away by a sudden chill breeze that seemingly came from nowhere but really it’s here, hiding behind the bushes next to my discarded clothes, ready to pounce on unwary souls married to joy, soon to grow into an icy bluster perfectly suited to driving squalls of equally chilling rain from across the North Pacific.
Whew, I passed out there for a second. What happened? Is the election over?
Really the question here is how do restaurants make beef stir fry taste good? Wait a second, I don’t think I’ve ever ordered something called “beef stir fry” from a restaurant. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’m making something up, creating an expectation of an experience that has no benchmark. It’s the equivalent of boiling a pinecone and wondering why it doesn’t taste like waffle fries.
Man I do enjoy a good waffle fry.
Back to the challenge. If you, yes you, sitting there in your best Julia Child or Emeril outfit, think you can HOME MAKE good beef stir fry, then invite me over for happy hour first, then dinner, then maybe give me a present, a wrapped present, but you don’t need a card, and let’s have Tiramisu for dessert, but ultimately I’ll tell you if it’s good or not.
I promise to wear clothes.