There were so many things Abby wasn’t psyched to eat when she was three. Most things, actually. Fish, for example. She threw up when we made her eat flounder. Carrots (she couldn’t chew them). Waffles (she only ate pancakes). Eggs (they smelled horrible). Green beans. Pork chops. Yellow cheese. Tomatoes. Macaroni and Cheese (for Chrissakes!). We once went four straight weeks — no joke — when Abby basically rejected all solid food, and there but for the grace of Pediasure… well, I don’t even want to think about what would have happened had it not been for Pediasure. What she did eat during those dark days: pasta with butter and “Abby’s spice” (garlic salt); pizza; apples with peanut butter; and breaded chicken (as long as it was drowned in ketchup). Then one summer weekend a couple years ago, when we went to visit my brother Tony in upstate New York, she discovered the joys of steak, and our lives got a little bit better. Tony had taken a flank steak, marinated it forever in teriyaki sauce, and grilled it. He sliced it thin. Abby was, of course, initially skeptical. We begged her and tried to reason with her and explained how steak was exactly like a hamburger, only sliced instead of chopped — can’t you see that? — and finally bribed her (you want ice cream tonight, right?) to have a bite, one bite… at which point her stubborn little mind was blown. She had seconds, and then thirds, and “Tony’s steak” was born. Ever since that day, Abby has judged all meat dishes by this standard, her gold standard.
“I don’t really like it,” she’d say when we served her a premium grilled ribeye or a tender filet, cooked to perfection. “I like Tony’s steak better.”
“Is this Tony’s steak?” she’d ask, sniffing out our lame imitation and forcing us to admit that it was not, in fact, Tony’s steak, not exactly. “It’s okay, but it’s not…”
Tony’s steak has proven hard to live up to. Until last weekend, that is. Last weekend, we grilled a steak that even Abby couldn’t argue with: the meat was grass fed and organic and all that, and we somehow achieved a marinade that was just the right amount of salty and sweet for Abby’s discerning palate. We sliced it thin. We served it with fresh, grilled corn and bok choy. We called it, without shame, Tony’s steak. We placed it before Abby. And this time, Abby believed us. – Andy (more…)