Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire



Mr. Ruhlman directed me to a story in The New York Times that warms the soul; well, the soul of people like me.  Before we get too much into it, let me just reprint one little sentence as a teaser:

“He grilled tenderloins (the muscle used for filet mignon) over charcoal, sliced them, dipped the slices in melted butter, served them on slices of white sandwich bread, added French fries on the side, and let everyone eat as much as they wanted.”

Do I need to go any further? No.  I had you at “butter”, didn’t I?

It seems a rather wonderful New York experience, a celebration from times past, thought lost forever like the Dodo or Vermont Republican, was re-discovered, living on over the river in New Jersey.   Beefsteaks,

“boisterous mass feeds featuring unlimited servings of steak, lamb chops, bacon-wrapped lamb kidneys, crabmeat, shrimp and beer, all consumed without such niceties as silverware, napkins or women.”

once a staple of New York political rallies and manly get-togethers of the 19th century, slowly faded away into obscurity and disappeared altogether by the 1960’s.  Unbeknownst to those saddened and deprived New Yorkers, just over the river in Bergen and Passaic Counties (but, only those two), New Jersey, the tradition lived on.

In an ironic twist, the happy gluttons of Jersey were equally unaware of it once being a New York tradition.  Of course, there is no cultural divide so stark in it’s proximity or embraced by both parties as the New York-New Jersey divide, so it’s not actually all THAT odd.


January 31, 2008 - Posted by | Random Blather

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