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I’d Like to Eat Like an Eskimo, Please

August 14, 2011

During my first pregnancy, I had aversions rather than cravings. Mostly I ate carbs.

Now I’m not *excited* to eat broccoli, as I normally am, but I wouldn’t drive my car into a tree on purpose if some ended up in my mouth. It did tonight. I ate it. No big deal!

Mostly, I’m craving, rather than averting. Lately I’m craving grilled steak or lamb.

I started in with my craving a few weeks ago, while we were on vacation at a lake in New Hampshire. I started to think about a strip steak my brother-in-law had grilled for me a few summers ago. We’d gotten some Italian bread to eat it with, and we had cold butter on that bread, and the steak was juicy and perfectly chewy and salty and there was the butter on the bread and the steak juice on the bread and I think we probably had some salad for contrast.

Man, I could fall on the floor thinking about that steak.

For a freelance job I’m reading a book about Eskimo life, and how they have all of this frozen deer meat around, and then hack some off and heat it up — maybe in seal fat, or maybe just in some snow, depending — but just ’til it’s warm, not ’til it’s hot, because that way you can still taste the blood.

While they are eating, they put a hunk of meat between their teeth, and saw off the part hanging out of their mouths with a little saw called an ulu.

When the meat is gone they drink the “blood-water soup” that leached out when they heated it up.

To me, at this stage, this sounds about right.

In New Hampshire, we stayed on a lovely organic farm with my husband’s family. We had a plan to grill one night. I said to my husband “maybe we could grill steak!” and he told me that we already had bratwurst in the fridge. Ah, ok, it was really good. We also grilled some chicken that night. The chicken was delightful in its own regard, in other words, as pieces of what the Eskimos call “light meat.”  They don’t bother to feed light meat to the dogs, by the way, who have been running hard for all three hours of daylight over the ice and snow. I suspect they don’t feed it to the child-bearing women, either.

I looked longingly out the window at the brown lowing beasts grazing between the farmhouse we’d rented and the barn, teasing me with their rippled necks and well-marbled rib regions.

I knew we’d be going through Connecticut on the way back home and I emailed my brother-in-law about getting together, ostensibly to see him and my beloved niece and nephew, but you know the truth. He already had plans in place, though.

I emailed my parents to see if we could grill a steak over at theirs, but their grill isn’t working.

Finally, last Sunday, a friend decided to take Henry and I out to dinner.We went to a neighborhood restaurant. I must have brightened when the waiter told us about the steak special, and though it was expensive, she urged me to order it.

In between eating a piece of bread they’d brought to welcome us and the arrival of my steak, I needed to, in no uncertain terms, hurl. But the restaurant is small and someone was in the one-seater bathroom. I changed directions and ran outside and threw up into the street. Sorry, street. Sorry, passersby, sorry, horrified people sitting on a bench trying to enjoy your evening.

Sorry, blog readers.

It may have been a dramatic exit, because after I’d come back in, the waiter stopped by the table to ask if everything was alright. “Oh, yeah. I’m pregnant,” I told him.

“But you looked so cool and composed when you came back in!”

“Yeah, well, it’s my second time being pregnant,” I explained.

Then he handed me my rare rib-eye with jalapeno jam and fried green tomatoes and spinach.

I ate a whole lot. It was lip smacky.

I brought some leftover steak home and offered it to my husband, who agreed that he’d like to eat it. Before he could, I changed my hormone-addled mind and finished it myself.

The next day, I felt like one million dollars — which is enough to buy more steak.

Monday, I made steak tacos, and then on Thursday, I ate the world’s largest lamb chop, a shoulder blade chop, at a restaurant. On Friday, I shared a hangar steak with another friend.

My last baby wanted crackers and bread. This baby spits those things out into the street. This baby wants meat.

Where is my ulu, I need my ulu, somebody grill me a steak.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    August 15, 2011 6:50 am

    Did you see/hear the recent item on NPR about how what you eat while pregnant can supposedly affect your baby’s palate? Well. We went to visit my inlaws for Xmas when I was pregnant with Mia, and had horrible nausea (never vomiting, just unrelenting nausea, 24/7, for the first 14 weeks or so). My MIL had been similarly afflicted when she was pregnant and they were very kind to let me choose what we were going to eat every night. One night I ordered steak (which back then I did only once in a blue moon), and this thing was mammoth- like a 16 oz prime rob or something. They watched in amazement as I put away that entire thing with extra helpings of horseradish sauce. Mia is now, at age 3, such a steak fanatic that my non-meat-eating husband has agreed to learn how to cook it. She also has a voracious appetite for the thing I missed most during pregnancy: lox.

    • August 15, 2011 6:58 am

      I did not hear that! Sounds interesting, but my theory is sort of the corollary to that, which is that the baby knows what it wants even (and perhaps especially) when it is the size of an almond. And you wanted lox because Mia was the boss of you at that point — same with the steak!

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