well, guess what? I am making it. beef goulash.
I haven’t cooked beef, or any meat really, pretty much ever before. cutting it up was a visceral experience. I worried I was getting the raw flesh caught under my fingernails as I held the chunks of it down and sliced with the knife, and that shreds of it would stay wedged there as DNA evidence if I were to die from the experience.
when making goulash, one browns the chunks of beef flesh first. the smell of browning meat is singularly unhuman; the scent of death, grease and bubbling blood. I’m sure it is unnatural because it very strongly felt so.
as the meat cooks it oozes a goo, a plasma perhaps, that coagulates; a process with which I am wholly unfamiliar. it oozes and foams thickly. it is slick and sickening.
once the meat is browned, one pours and scrapes it clumsily into a bowl. then, into the cooking dish, slimy with meat remnants, go the onions, garlic, capsicum, spices and mushrooms. ah, the fresh and wholesome vegetables with which I am familiar and feel so safe! the smell of cooking, despite the greasy slime left by the meat, turns finally wholesome and delicious, and one remembers why one is mostly vegetarian (and entirely so in one’s own kitchen).
unfortunately, once the onions are browned and the mushrooms softened, back in goes the meat. fortunately, before the roasting of once-living flesh again overwhelms, in goes the sweet paprika and the flour. suddenly.. what is this?.. the odorous slime seems to blend alchemically with the fragrant powders, and the concoction seems to take on an almost appetising veneer!
next in, the canned tomatoes and the beef stock. ah, it smells wonderful, but looks now like an unfortunately thick and chunky soup. luckily it is only a short time ’till boiling, and then.. covered! into the oven with you, Witch’s brew!
there it now sits, and for two hours yet. and here is one’s Brenton, in one’s ear, bitching whinily about not being able to play Counterstrike. fine!