Tag Archives: University of Wyoming

Steak, Potatoes, and Corn


I’ve got one.  What did the sushi say to the bee?  Wa-sa-bi?

 I hate to use a word like hate for something I hate because hate is such a strong word, but I HATE sushi.  I hate the smell of it, I hate the look of it, I hate the fact that it’s not cooked, and I hate the fact that it’s fish.  And before you say, “You shouldn’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it,” I have.  Once.  Almost puked.

I did have a remarkable meal at a sushi bar once though.  It was at a strip club in Reno.  The sushi was rumored to be the best in town, so I agreed to go because the girls wanted sushi and I could get a STEAK.  While I’m sitting at the bar eating this one-inch thick perfectly cooked Porter House, my wife and friends sitting on my left being served raw fish wrapped in rice, a completely naked, blonde, five-foot four, dancer sits in the bar stool next to me on my right and strikes up a conversation.  Best steak I ever had.  You should have seen the looks I was getting from the sushi-eater on my left.

Why do I remember this on March 28th, 2012?  Well…you got me.  I have no idea, except I saw the “joke” and that led to thinking about the hating of sushi, and that lead to the best steak I ever had.  Well, it really wasn’t, but it was memorable.

Which now makes me remember the famous “Dream Steak For Four” in Bosler, Wyoming.  Clearly on the list of one of the best steaks I have ever eaten.  As I remember it, after the University of Wyoming home games, a great many fans would head north 20 miles to a small town called Bosler.  Bosler isn’t very big, and is known more as a speed trap, probably the only revenue source other than sales tax from dream steaks during football season.  I got a speeding ticket there once on my birthday.  The officer said, “Happy Birthday” and wrote me a ticket.  I had to pay the ticket right then, or wait until Monday when the JP got back from fishing, if I wanted to contest it. Wait in jail.  Needless to say, I paid it.  It was $75.  You go from a 55 mph speed limit, up a hill and curve to the right where the speed limit drops to 35.  I was going 41 when I hit the top of the hill.  The cop hides behind the curve, in case you’re ever up that way.

 So, for a reasonable price – and I don’t know how much that was because I didn’t pay for it – you got a four-pound rib-eye cooked to the group’s accord, all the salad you could eat, all the baked potatoes and ranch beans you wanted, and a bottomless basket of rolls.  You would cut your piece of steak off the huge steaming piece of beef delivered to your table, which had probably been butchered and aged right out back.  All I remember is, it was fantastic.  Don’t rush off to Bosler to try it though.  I’m pretty sure the restaurant is not there anymore.  This was back in the early seventies.

The Famous New York Strip. No I didn't take this picture at McMahon's

If I have to pick the best steak I have ever eaten, I would have to say the New York Strip I had in Scottsdale, Arizona, at “McMahon’s.”  This almost two-inch mouth-watering delicacy could be cut with a butter knife.  It literally melted in your mouth.  After every bite I would hum in ecstasy.  I remember the steak right now.  I can see myself basking in the soft light, surrounded by etched glass, and Tiffany lamps savoring every bite.  I’m right there at the table, embarrassing my companions with the “ummming” because we had come from a wine tasting party and I was still tasting during dinner.  Funny how I don’t remember the ride home, but I remember that steak.

You can probably tell that my favorite meal is of the simple, steak, potatoes, and corn menu.  My mother would ask me almost every year what I wanted for a birthday dinner and I would always say, “Steak, mashed potatoes, and corn.”  I really didn’t like baked potatoes then, back in the day, but I would replace the mashed potatoes with a baked potato slopped with butter, sour cream, chives, bacon and cheese, any day now.  That’s what you call a “loaded” baked potato, right?  Loaded with high cholesterol.

“Don’t you want to try something else?” she would ask.  Bless her heart, and her limited budget, she always made me flank steak, mashed potatoes and corn every year.  The last time she made it for me was on graduation night, and I never had a steak dinner at her house again that I can remember, although I’m sure I did.  I don’t see flank steak in the store anymore, but it’s the same cut as a London Broil, right?  You slice the steak in thin angled pieces.

All this talk about food – except for the shushi –  is making me hungry.  I’m pretty sure I don’t have any steak in my freezer either.  I’m more than pretty sure, in fact, I’m positive.  Steak is completely out of my food budget currently.  At $5 to $8 a pound, or more depending on the cut, I’m forced into the ground-up type of beef.  I have some of that in the freezer.  Maybe I can shape it into a T-Bone.  There is a 22 oz. “Cowboy Steak” at Michael Jordan’s restaurant that costs $1,500.  I’ll bet that’s go0oo—d!  WTF.

I always heard that steak was very expensive in Japan.  According to my research, although Japan exports beef, it would cost you around $110 for a steak dinner in Tokyo, give or take a few dollars based on the current exchange rate.  You would think that if you raise cattle in Japan, it’s not like there is a shortage of beef.  Kind of like buying gas in Houston, Texas.  Why is gas so expensive in a place surrounded by oil refineries?  Los Angeles, same question.

Here’s another question I have.  Why are a lot of cuts of beef named after New York or restaurants in New York?  There aren’t any cows out there.  Cattle are in the West.  Reminds me of that Pace commercial…  


 

(Sushi photo credit Flickr Creative Commons by lotusutol.  You didn’t think I took it did you?)

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How Much Laude Can You Get?


University of Wyoming 1908. The main building still stands today.

I attended the University of Wyoming for one semester in 1975.  At least I think it was 1975.  More correctly, I attended one class, one semester at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.  It was a required writing class.  Creative Writing 101.  I got an A. (Yeah, bragging.)

I was living in Laramie, Wyoming, while working full-time for Mountain Bell.  My intention was to finish my degree in Communications, one class at a time.  In fact, on my lunch hour, because there was no night or weekend classes at UW, period, and, of course, an online curriculum was still a few decades into the future.  I had transferred to Laramie with the express intention of finishing my degree, but failed to check the availability of off- hour classes before I made the leap.  I had been forced to drop out of college after only completing a year and one semester.  We won’t go into the “why” at this point.

Anyway, after one class, one semester, I saw the impossibility of the undertaking.  It was going to take me a long time to garner enough credits to graduate.  But then, today, I read that someone is graduating summa cum laude from Iowa State University taking one class a semester for 19 years!  Kathy Vitzthum, 48, is graduating in May, the school says, after attending one class each semester since 1992.  WTF

Talk about dedication.  I had a college astronomy professor, whom I really liked and respected, tell me once that there were only two reasons to get an undergraduate degree.  “So you can prove to the world that you can start something and finish it,” he said, “and to learn how to look things up in the library.”  Pretty true statements I think.  Now you spend more time on the Internet looking things up and it’s much easier than the library, so that only leaves the first part about proving you can finish something.  Working at it for 19 years is a pretty impressive way to prove that.

When I finally finished up my BA degree in Journalism, at the University of New Mexico, I was taking seven to eight classes a semester.  A little more difficult to graduate “summa cum laude” I would think.  That’s latin for “with highest praise”.  In order to graduate with a latin honor such as this, you would need to maintain some serious high GPA and be in the top 4-5% of your class.  A grade point average on the high side of 3.8, although it differs from school to school.  If I’m only taking one class a semester, I think I could pull that off, even if it did take 19 years. (Yeah, tinge of jealousy exhibited.) 

But here’s what I don’t understand.  Even though her company paid for all or a percentage of the classes, I’m sure, (Mountain Bell paid 75% of tuition if you maintained a C average) what benefit will she get from having a BA degree in Accounting?  She is already a senior accountant at the firm where she works!  She’s been working in the accounting field for well over 20 years.  She initially took the classes because her boss offered her a promotion if she did.

 I quit my job after 5 years with Ma Bell and went back to school to finish my degree.  I accomplished that 10 years after I originally started college.  I did it with the idea that a degree would open up opportunities for me to get a better job and get into something I really wanted to do.

I was a lot more serious about it than I was at age 20, so I worked harder to get the grades.  I graduated “with distinction” (Yeah, bragging again.) which translates to the upper 10-12% of my graduating class.  The same as a latin honor of “cum laude.”  Hasn’t opened one door for me.  Let me say that again.  It hasn’t opened one door for me.  The BA degree lets me send my résumé for jobs that have a minimum college requirement, but then I don’t know of any company that ever pulled my transcripts.  So the GPA means nothing.  If I wanted to go on to graduate school, or law school, or med school, yeah, it would mean something.  In the job search, nope. 

So I just wanted to say “congratulations” to Kathy Vitzthum for proving to the world that she could start something and finish it…..and for doing it with the greatest of dedication and summa cum laude.

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