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My most embarrassing food preference

John McIntyre sent me this as a possible topic of discussion, and I was so taken with it I thought I would post his whole e-mail. Unfortunately, I can't think of any new embarrassing food preferences to tell you about because if you read this blog regularly you already know about all of mine. The one that probably caused the most consternation was my liking bagels toasted and buttered -- and not too dense. Here's John. EL

John McIntyre's entry: I order steak well done.
This is rank heresy, shameful, disrespectful of meat and of the chefs who prepare it. Kathleen (who tells my son, "Put your father's on the grill ten minutes ahead of ours") attributes this to unfortunate formative experiences in my youth in Kentucky, where people are suspicious if the meat is a different color on the inside. I am still a rube. ...

I sometimes mention feebly that this was also General Grant's preference. Yes, the commander who sent tens of thousands of soliders to slaughter was so squeamish about the sight of blood that he ordered his beef cooked to a cinder. I am not the first to reflect on the irony. I also understand the sentiments of the people in Willa Cather's "Death Comes to the Archbishop" who, when Father Vaillant orders his lamb lightly roasted, gaze in horror at "the delicate stream of pink juice that followed the knife." But no quantity of historical or literary anecdote will cancel the look I get when I say that I want my meat served well-done.
That is why I don't dare go to steakhouses (that and stinginess). I tremble at the thought of an irate chef, blood in his eye, sweeping down on me with a cleaver in his hand. In ordinary restaurants, I lower my head and mumble apologetically, "Make it as well done as your conscience permits." Then I order a second martini.

(Elizabeth Malby/Sun photographer)

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