Unequivocally Ambiguous

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Osso Buco A La Hemingway

by | May 2, 2024 | Masculinity | 0 comments

Cook your food in style, and like the man you are not.

Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash

I’ve been playing with the idea of writing a recipe for a long time.

You see, I love cooking.

It is something I find very relaxing. But I don’t talk about it that much, so I’m going to change that. Today, I’ll share with you a recipe I got from Hemingway. That’s right, Ernest Hemingway. The author of my all-time favorite short story, “The Old Man and the Sea.”

Well, I bet the recipe’s authorship is apocryphal. Hemingway never really ate; he just drank.

I’ll still share the recipe with you because it is super good, even if Hemingway didn’t create it.

But first, a story.

I pulled my best Hemingway this weekend when I approached my local butcher and asked him, “Hey, duuude, do you carry veal shanks?”

“No. But I can order them.”

“Hmmm yeah… why don’t we do that?” I told him, lowering two octaves of my voice.

“How many do you want?” I couldn’t remember how many the recipe book I used called for. I didn’t want to say that to my manly friend across the butcher counter, so I pretended to be pensive while considering how many people I wanted to feed with my feast while remembering the picture of the finished recipe I left at home.

“Why don’t we go with four?” I said, surprised at how low my voice can get when acting like I have a lot of hair in my chest — which I do, but not that much.

“Do you want them cracked at the bone?”

“Well, maybe if I knew what you were talking about, I could answer the question, you silly man you.” I thought. But just said, “Huh?”

“It brings out the flavor, and you get some of the bone marrow.”

Ahhhh, bone marrow. When bone marrow is an option, the answer is always a yes when pretending to be a foodie. If it is listed on the menu, you must order it because you don’t want your bon vivant comrades to doubt your status as a connoisseur of fine dining.

No one really knows how to feel about it, but we all know that we must like it. Bone marrow is the virtue signaler of the culinary world.

So my answer was a too-eager, “Yes!” Bone marrow!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.

And at least, it is not parsley — which is the biggest prank of all times in humanity. It’s called for in every single Mediterranean recipe, but we act like it doesn’t taste like squeezed old sponge water.

“Okay, I’ll call you when I have it.” The butcher finished the conversation matter-of-factly.

“Sounds good, brother man! Cheers to being manly.” I think this was the way Hemingway used to say goodbye. I headed over to the dairy counter to find my coconut milk yogurt, the one that doesn’t upset my belly.

Today, I got the call.

I drove to get my shanks and checked in at the counter. They brought the bag out, and it was huge.

“Whoa!” Was all I could manage when they handed me the sack of meat. “Hey! I didn’t ask for the entire calf.” I waited three seconds and added for effect, “Goddamn it!”

“Four shanks, right?”

“Yeah, four shanks.”

“This is it.”

“Okay.” I looked at it, confused, and said goodbye. “Thank you, brother man! Cheers to being manly.” Which to be honest, the more I say it, the more I believe it was the way Hemingway used to say goodbye.

I walked to the register, and it was more than nine pounds of lamb shank.

“What the FUCK am I going to do with 9 pounds of shank?” I whispered to myself.

I paid and walked out of the store $100 less rich, and all I could think was, “I don’t think I can fit this many shanks in my sea foam green Le Creuset.”

I do not have the appetite to eat all of them alone. Summer is around the corner, and I need to keep my figure. Looking this good with my shirt on requires a quota of sacrifice.

I will invite many mild-mannered friends to the feast so they, like me, can feel manly even though they’ve never been hunting and struggle to talk to butchers. We will laugh while eating our Osso Buko with prickly pear, fizzy, hard kombucha, and polish the night off with dark chocolate truffle cashew milk ice cream.

Hemingway would’ve been proud.

And now, to the recipe.

“Stop talking about recipes, put salt and pepper, and get cooking motherfucker!” That’s what Hemingway would’ve said.

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