A.I. (steak sauce)


The Epic Tale of a Condiment

How do you like your steak?


Once upon a time, a man wanted to invent the perfect condiment. So he gathered a group of people in a dimly lit room to discuss the possibility of producing the ultimate steak sauce. He held up a tomato, the foundation of all good meat sauces, and asked, "Where do we go from here?"

The room was abuzz with whispered exchanges. First, a condiment dedicated to steak was unheard of. Second, by holding up the tomato, he was implying that ketchup, the reigning king of all condiments, could be improved.

"I'll tell you what is missing," continued the visionary inventor. "Raisin paste!"

The room exploded. It was impossible. Raisin paste could not be blended with tomato puree.

"Up until now," the man lectured, "we have made condiments that differentiated itself from the meat. Ketchup is red; mustard is yellow; relish is green. But what color is steak?"

"Dark brown!" someone yelled.

"Yes, dark brown," replied the inventor, "thus, the need for raisin paste."

The crowd was delighted. Can this really be done? they asked themselves.

"What the world wants is a steak sauce that not only looks like steak but also tastes similar to steak. And raisin paste, my friends, will do just that. If someone has a veggie burger or a bad piece of meat, they will be able to put our special sauce on it and be fooled into believing that it tastes just like steak. You see, what the world needs is a steak sauce dedicated to steakness!"

Everyone broke into wild applause, except a thoughtful woman, sitting quietly in the middle of the room. After the clapping had died down, she spoke up.

"Yes, we may be able to create a steak sauce dedicated to steakness, but the real question is, Will steak lovers be dedicated to the steak sauce?"

The room grew silent.

Meanwhile in another part of town, a young, fragile woman was visiting her favorite piece of frozen meat at the local butcher shop. The woman was so obsessed with this steak that she often spent her days reading recipes to it. Oh, how she longed for the steak to come home with her so that she might devour it. But the time was not right.

Many years passed, and the man, along with his team of inventors, finally succeeded in making the perfect steak sauce with raisin paste. He dubbed this most excellent condiment A.1., and it was very good. But who, he asked, would be the first to partake of this sauce?

One day, Henry, the fragile woman's husband, came home with an unexpected surprise. "Monica," he said, "we have been selected to try out the prototype A.1. steak sauce." When Monica saw the bottle, she was deeply disturbed. She ran into another room and began to cry.

"What's wrong?" asked Henry.

"A.1.! A.1. is what's wrong!" she screamed.

"What do you mean?"

"It's not right! It's not right to put steak sauce on your steak! Steak is good by itself! And besides, we don't even have the steak that I really want. Do you think the A.1. sauce will make me forget about the frozen piece of meat?"

"Of course not. But until we get that steak, let's just try A.1. for a few days. If you don't like it, I promise to return it."

Monica agreed.

The following days were filled with anxiety. The A.1. wanted to be used, but Monica was hesitant. She tried to ignore the A.1. sauce but was constantly reminded of its promise to make everything taste like steak. Slowly, she began to use A.1. on her potatoes and hamburgers and found herself delightfully surprised. After a while she began to use A.1. on just about everything, and so started to crave it more and more.

"What's in this thing?" she finally asked. She turned the bottle sideways and read the ingredients out loud:

Corn Syrup.
Dried Garlic.
Raisin Paste

Suddenly, the steak sauce said, "What were all those words, Mommy?" Elated, Monica felt closer to the steak sauce than she ever thought possible. For the next few weeks, everything that she devoured with her A.1. sauce tasted absolutely delicious, just as she always imagined the frozen meat at the butcher shop would taste.

Then, one fateful day, news arrived that her beloved piece of meat had been thawed and was being delivered to her home. Monica was delighted and immediately threw a party to honor the occasion. But she was also troubled. Now that she possessed her beloved meat, did she really want the steak sauce to supplement the steak? As she was pondering this dilemma, her guests were busy examining the prototype A.1. sauce.

"What is it?" someone asked.

"It looks kind of like steak," another replied. "You know, it's brown and all."

"Well, why don't you taste it?" requested a third person. So the guest holding the bottle did just that, and proclaimed that it tasted very much like steak, in a weird sort of way.

Everyone laughed. Then someone suggested that they put the sauce on the beloved meat. As the sauce was being poured, it suddenly gushed out of the bottle, completely drowning the steak with its artificial flavor. Someone screamed, and Monica came rushing toward the steak. Seeing her beloved steak drowned in A.1., she realized the error of her ways: Steak was sufficient on its own.

Days later, the A.1. sauce was dumped in the woods.

To make a long story short, the abandoned A.1. sauce was taken to a Luddite steak convention where condiments were being broken into pieces. The leaders accused these artificial flavors of being an insult to the purity of steak. The frightened A.1. sauce, however, was able to convince the crowd that he was good for steak, so much so that the audience began to hurl tomatoes (the primary ingredient of all meat sauces) at the convention leader, demanding that A.1. steak sauce be offered at every fine restaurant serving choice meats.

Freed from the madness of the convention, the steak sauce spent the rest of its life in pursuit of steakness, until it too ended up in a deep freezer, where it stayed for many, many years, until some mysterious strangers with British accents thawed the condiment and allowed it to be used once more by the woman who had rejected the sauce and was now dead. And so the moral of this epic tale is that love is not quite as strong as death, but it is just strong enough to make everything around it fake.

posted by editor ::: May 02, 2001 ::: philms :::