I walked into the kitchen today and found my wife engaging in the primitive practice of pounding on a slab of round steak with the edge of a saucer. Every so often she would pause and sprinkle flour over the meat, then savagely attack it with the saucer again. I have witnessed this strange behavior for so many years, first by my mother and then by my wife, and I have generally taken it for granted. But suddenly it struck me as so Neanderthal that I should maybe ask some questions. But questioning someone who is pounding meat with a saucer can be dangerous. When my mother used to do it she had that same fierce look on her face that she had when killing a snake with a hoe. One learns to address beef pounders very humbly and gently because they are liable to be in a bad mood from having to do such base work. In fact, one of my millions of theories about the human race is that people who decide to pound beef with a saucer are already in a bad mood and are taking it out on the poor round steak.
“Honey, shouldn’t I be doing that?”
Cold stare. “No, you won’t do it right. Go out and bring in some potatoes if you want to help.”
I don’t want to do that either. “Why don’t you use the regular metal meat tenderizer?”
Even colder stare. “That thing doesn’t do the job. And the flour plugs up the teeth. Go get some potatoes out of the pit.”
Thus it shall always be.
I like to talk about pounded round steak in this holiday season of eating high on the hog—or cow— mostly because