Friday, April 26, 2013

Meat Master

by Lisa Kight
        The world is filled with people who cook.  Then you have someone who not just cooks. This person elevates his cooking and preparing of food to an art form.  If there was ever a man who knew how to handle his meat, it would be my brother Linc. 
        Cooking came naturally to him. He spent his early years perched on the counter watching my mom cook.  I find the fact that he has become such a wonderful cook quite hilarious - because my mother was a terrible cook!  There was only one degree of food preparation when I was growing up: black, with a house filled with smoke.  Mom always said it was better to cook food quickly to save the nutrients, although I suspect most nutrients are long gone by the time they reach “charred”.  Linc has cooked for the former Governor of South Carolina, ladies of “high society”, and presided over hundreds of Sunday dinners at my mom’s house.
        My brother is a man of few words, but if he does speak, the words are most likely preceded by profanity. His appearance might lead one to think that this is a person to avoid on a dark street.  At first glance you see the scowl on his face, his long hair, and the clothes of a construction worker, which he is.  His rugged hands and appearance show he is not afraid of work, but if you take a moment you will see the light in his tired eyes.  He likes a nip of “snake bite”, as he calls it and reserves his smile for our mother and small children. He loves children, and they love him without question.  Where most adults might shy away from him at a gathering, it is the children who rush to him, hands held out, knowing he will lift them up into his strong arms, no matter how tired he might be.

        When Linc is cooking, he swoops into the kitchen ready for battle, armed with a few items: a razor sharp knife, salt, and pepper.  The only time this varies is when he is cooking lamb, which requires rosemary.  He has a finesse and flow that demands no interruption.  He insists on doing everything himself.  His strong hands work quickly as he seasons each piece of meat, places the baking dish in the oven, and closes the door with strict instructions not to touch until the timer sounds.  The real treat, aside from devouring the succulent dish, is the presentation.  He has the ability to slice and display any meat beautifully.
        By special request, he was called in by a friend of our family to cook the main course for a dinner party for a previous governor.  It required S.L.E.D. clearance, which at the time I thought: he will never pass.  He only weighs 132 pounds and has a long pony tail, but he has this intense gaze that could frighten off the toughest guy.  However, the process went through without a hitch.  He has never really been in trouble, so I suspect that played a big factor in his approval process.
        Once the word got out that my brother could cook up a piece of meat like nobody’s business, he became quite sought after.  My cousin, who was employed by one of Charleston’s finest ladies, quickly hired him to - - what else -- cook the roast for one of her dinner parties.  I was a little worried that these grand dames would not see past his outside appearance and would judge him, but they just “ooed and aahhed” at how handsome he was and could not say enough about how tender and delicious the roast beef was that evening.  From that night on, he was in demand.  I am so proud of him and have felt the need to mention this to most anyone who will listen when the conversation leads to his meat of the day.
       My brother has chosen the hard road.  He lives hard and plays hard.  I do worry that one day he might not be able to scale a building holding two pieces of plywood over his head.  Perhaps his cooking will give him an outlet to support himself.  There was a time I worried that his appearance would cause him to be treated unkindly by the ladies of high society, and those that would encounter him when he was in the role of the “Meat Master”.  I would suggest a better shirt or doing something with his hair.  All suggestions were rejected with a resounding response that he was not changing who he was for anyone, that he was there to cook meat and they would have to accept him for who he was. Thank goodness he is a man of substance and if people would like some perfectly prepared meat, they will be able to see past my brother’s façade and see the light in his eyes that makes me know anything he does is done with love.


Post a Comment