I hate A-1 steak sauce, from that first overly bitter bite that puckers your taste buds to that acidic finish that leaves a trail of soon to be agida all the way to the pit of my stomach. I hate A-1 steak sauce the same way I hate those stupid clear plastic living room couch covers. The second you sit on the plastic protective skin, the back of your knees start to sweat, which starts a chain reaction of bodily perspiration from head to toe.
Something else that takes places besides the grotesque sweating of a 300lb man when he sits on a plastic covered couch. Along with the pools of sweat comes a tsunami of memories of summers in his grandmothers non-air-conditioned house. His grandmother’s living room furniture was covered with clear plastic covers. Sometimes, no matter how much you hate something as an adult, it brings back a rush of childhood memories. Enduring the discomfort today, brings rewards of memories greater than the anticipated opening of Al Capone’s safe. (Hey Geraldo remember how promising your career was)
Back to the topic at hand.....A-1 steak sauce, I find the taste to be putrid, the slightest taste though brings back memories for me. Memories of Mom & Dad and me at a place called; Parsonage, Duchess, Tick Tock, Galaxy, All of which were managed by Gus or George. (For those of you not from New Jersey these are the names of fabled NJ diners)
As a child in the 70's my father would order a hunk of animal flesh at every diner we ever ate at. (having owned several diners himself, we ate at quite a few) and he would lather that steak up with A-1 steak sauce. As a young man, having yet to be introduced the silky smooth texture and flavor of say; béarnaise sauce, I thought A-1 was the epitome of a steak sauce. As a young man I just assumed you ordered a steak, poured on the A-1, grimaced at the vinegar bite, and choked that meat down.
To this day if I’m eating a steak that the natural flavor just isn't “cutting” it with me, the first words out of my mouth will be “Do you have any A-1”? When there is grave disappointment, there is comfort found in the old familiar bitter taste. You will never find me pour an ounce of A-1 anywhere near a quality steak, but when I’m disappointed in the quality of my steak, I find such comfort in the memories of the bitter taste A-1 provides me.
So how about you my friends…..what food or food accompaniment(s) do you truly not like, but love for reasons greater than the enjoyment eating them brings you?
(The inspiration for this came as I just asked for a bottle of A-1 as I was greatly disappointed in the steak I ordered)