When my mom started getting sicker, and was spending more time admitted to the hospital than at home, I noticed I began to have the strongest cravings for red meat. French dip sandwiches to be specific, but I would have gnawed the leg off a cow just as happily had one been within reach. The first time I remember it happening, I was on the couch watching TV and debating if I was going to go to an impromptu artist's gathering I had been invited to. (I rarely go out now, I think I have grown accustomed to being at home and have allowed my inner social-awkwardness to thrive...but THAT's another story!) Anyway, I became aware of a deep snarling hunger spot deep inside by belly, like I had never eaten anything ever in my whole entire life! It felt like a hole that had been created by snatching something up and out of me. I'm serious! And it had to be fed red meat.
Now I haven't been a big red meat eater for decades now, but in the past, presumably when my iron was low, my car would navigate itself through a Wendy's drive through and a voice from Beyond would order a double. I had been doing some of that leading up to what I shall call The Growl, but it seems The Growl had grown, advanced out of a state that could be sated with half a pound of ground round. Now, The Growl needed something solid, something it could really tear into, something medium-rare!
Back on the couch, I had decided to go to the artist's party so I needed an appetizer to bring. While I made a list of things to pick up from Trader Joes (The ultimate "Food To Bring To A Party and Impress The Hell Out Of Everyone There" store), I sat combing my mental file cabinets for places or people who would be able to drop a French Dip sandwich in my mouth in about 30 seconds. Frustrated, I decided I would find something at TJ's to appease The Growl and ventured into the November night.
As I drove down Woodward Ave, a large red and white sign caught my attention. In bold neon words, the "Sign of the Beef Carver" was visual music to my eyes. I remember exclaiming out loud in the car, alone, "Now THEY will have a French Dip!!" Surely my tires squealed as I whipped up in the parking lot and frightened a number of elder diners who were slowly coming and going from their regular dinner haunt.
Sure enough, no special order request required, right there on the everyday menu board: "French Dip". I ordered and leaned over the glass counter to watch it being prepared, hoping not the drool on the pie case. After I paid for it, I devoured it in the parking lot in about 3 minutes.
I'm not proud of this. But I'm very curious as to what is going on with me.
The next time The Growl surfaced, it was in the days leading up to taking my son to college. I kept rooting around for what would fill it, and found that just any old thing wouldn't do. This is not a hunger to be taken lightly. It came on suddenly and strongly and I just felt hollow. I tried drinking water becuase I had read something that said most hunger cravings are really about being thirsty...not in this case. The water dropped into the cavernous reaches of The Growl and puddled pitifully at the bottom.
This time, my beau had been tooling around the internet looking at healthy food videos and came across one that questions pure veganism or vegetarianism. This video prompted me to do some research as to the red meat craving and what it might stem from. It made me think The Growl was coming from some nutritional deficiency so I decided to try bone broth. That's what I set out to do, and proudly marched up to the meat counter at my local grocer demanding "Bones! I need bones, I am making broth!" The butchress, unimpressed, let me know that Monday's are bone days (it was Thursday)
Not to be thwarted, I ended up making some really good soup. Stay tuned for the next entry about The Growl where I will share my recipe for sorta-homemade chicken soup.