An Unexpected Surprise · 26 December 2012

Christmas dinner was great like I always remember, but I got an unexpected surprise when I tasted the prime rib.

Since we have been married, Christmas dinner at our house has centered round the roast beast. This year was no exception. Naturally, we had the usual delicious fare of mashed potatoes, rolls, and salad to go with it. And with a berry pie for dessert, it was a sumptuous meal to be certain.

I carved the meat as usual. Not surprisingly, it made my mouth water. Especially, as I cut off a small bite to have with my dinner as I had planned.

The reason I planned on eating any meat was because I wanted to see whether the memories of deliciousness were just an illusion. I have many memories of tender tasty prime rib from years past so I could not poison my thought process with the idea that meat is bad. So as Christmas approached, I figured the meat would either be delicious or detestable.

To my surprise, it was neither.

As we were finishing our meal, my wife was the first to ask me how the beef was. When I said it was a bit bland, she said it was probably because I had cut off such a small piece of the outer portion of the roast. She did not know that when I prepared the bone for the dog as her Christmas present, I took a small piece then as well. But bland does not really describe the taste of either piece I ate. Both bites had the same meat flavor and mouth watering smell. The beef had the same seasoning. And I am sure it was the same deliciousness as in years past. At least to everybody else. For me though, there was no flavor ecstasy this year like there was before.

I probably should have remembered that my taste buds really have changed. Meat is not as tasty as it used to be. It is probably because the diverse flavors of all the different fruits and vegetables makes beef boring. Even choice cuts, though mouth-watering, do not have the draw for me that they used to. It was a shocking realization. I am not a carnivore and I do not really crave meat after all.

This realization, though shocking, was actually a relief. I will probably continue to have mouth watering sensations when I carve the roast for others, but I know my taste buds were the ones being deceived. I really can take or leave meat. Even when the memories are so strong. That is probably why I wanted to taste the prime rib in the first place. I wanted to see whether my taste buds or my memories that wanted the meat.

In the final analysis, I was quite surprised to find during Christmas dinner that my desire for roast beast was really due to fond memories rather than taste.

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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