Tag Archives: steak

Hangar Steak and Queer Youth Space

On the topic of conversations with rad queers over meat, I got to share a Hangar/Hanger steak in Seattle this week with Kennedy of YES, Queer Youth Space and the documentary film Put THIS on the map, which was just accepted into Frameline this week!  Our hangar steak at Cafe Presse “from Oregon” was medium-rare and served with pomme frites.

Hangar steak, the cut that ‘hangs’ from the diaphragm, is prized for being flavorful with a slight kidney-ish tinge.  Presse does a nice job of preparing the steak to bring out that flavor and keeping the steak relatively tender (it tends to get tough if cooked slowly or for too long).  Several butchers I’ve spoken to in the US have bemoaned the lack of demand for Hangar here.  Even in good economic times, when steaks are selling better than they are right now, hangar is often ground into hamburger rather than separated as a delicacy as it is much of Europe and in Mexico (can someone set me straight on whether Hangar would be carne asada or arrachera, please?)

It was wonderful to learn more about the path that Kennedy and a strong group of queer youth on the East Side of our city have been on for the last several years, from documenting their individual stories to launching a project to make real change and safe space in their community.  Check out how you can support Queer Youth Space, follow them on facebook, and see what they’re up to!

Queer Youth Space is a community initiative and coalition in which the overall campaign is to secure space for queer youth in the Seattle area. This space would be led, owned, and organized by the very constituency that the space would serve. Queer Youth Space is radical and revolutionary in that it is a youth-led, adult supported model. The ideas and values inherent within this structure are at the very core of the philosophy of the collective, chief among them furthering the model of youth leadership in which Queer Youth Space believes should be dominant structure locally as well as nationwide.


Sure_you’re right in liking meat (Meat Art Installment 1)

My biggest question is about the use of the underscore, or is that just a really low hyphen? My next question is a story: I’m sitting alone at the counter at Mistral Kitchen, polishing off some kushi oysters, sipping something brilliant involving gin and waiting for my pork belly (served on a sweet steamed bun with cippolini onions-gone-asian and cilantro?  Was that even cilantro?  Might I never need to touch another actual burger?).

WAIT: My PORK BELLY. On day four of “taking a break from meat,” the day on which I reflected back on the smoked chicken I had Thursday (Jack Timmons had smoked it in his backyard for 14 hours! How could I resist? And he’s from Texas, that dreamy drawl…), the Seafood with our hand-shaven noodles on Friday…and…

Waiting for pork belly.  Which was fucking delicious.

I’m not sure what the question is actually.

Look at her fingernails.  The red of the poster and the red of the steak and the red of her FINGERNAILS!  I am in the process of responding to interview questions from Cassie Marketos of Kickstarter.com, who asked:

Where did this idea sprout from? Meat is an interesting entry-point into conversations of sexuality and power. I’m curious to know how the idea evolved!

And I keep on wanting to respond with images.  Because meat is simultaneously so un-ladylike to devour, and so owned-by-men in most narratives of “how labor has been divided” and such an essential part of the ideal American woman preparing food at home for her husband and children and used as an explicit stand-in for “penis,” for “a woman’s ass,” for woman more generally, in language, in images,

Which we could either say perpetuates the idea of women as commodity, as consumable/consumed…

Or acknowledges that this image in an almost magical realism way is a better representation of what it feels like to live in a female-marked body, or to work in the sex industry or pornography, or to wake up in the morning, and make it all into a day marked by meaning and whatever it is we each hope our days might be marked by…than this image

Miss Wasilla 1984

Finally, as the title of this post was written before the post itself, and it seems to plead for one more piece of Meat Art,

Roy Lichtenstein  –  Meat
acrylic/canvas    21 1/4″ x 25 1/4″   1962

The chef in charge of pork belly came over and asked how it was.  Fucking delicious, I told him.  I asked my waiter where it was from, he asked said chef, and the relay response was Snake River, Idaho.  Before leaving for the evening, I asked chef/owner William Belickis if I might come in some time and talk to him about meat: the hand-powered slicer, their butchering, charcuterie, sourcing, their menu.  He said of course, Tuesday through Thursday, any time, and asked what I’d ended up deciding about love, women, immediacy, and patience.  He remembered the conversation we had my first time in the restaurant, when multiple women felt like the most enormous metaphors of decision-making: protection v. vulnerability, immediate return v. investment, love v. fear.  I made the right choice I told him–didn’t you meet her the next time?  I did, he said, I just didn’t know which one it was.  That, I think, is a special thing: to have someone, particularly someone you have only met twice, remember what matters to you most.

Mistral Kitchen  –  Pork Belly
Saturday March 27, 2010

The first photo of a truly naked animal, “Original Size”

Two days later, I am still eating meat.  I finished all but one bite of my steak and eggs (Niman Ranch) at Counter Cafe, but the final piece just stared at me, bloodier, like the outside of it was meat and the inside of it was animal.

While it was happening I was in it like a fascinated tourist, like a biology student on an awesome field trip: the first pig I just watched, from entrance to airgun to bleeding to feet off to skinning to eviscerating to halving to cold room.  The second pig got to “airgun” as the first pig got to “feet and skin”.  The second pig I captured with photos and videos like a proud aunt at a birth or a soccer game.  In retrospect, my behavior seems bizarre.  I spent some time in the cold storage room, and though I didn’t feel it yet, those pictures reveal that something had shifted–I can’t smile in them, whether out or respect for the cows next to me or because of the goat head installation art against the wall.

Or are they cows?  Cows would make much more sense, and would match the bodies hanging in the cold storage room.

So it has been two days and I have eaten meat several times (chicken enchiladas mole & fish tacos at guero’s in SOCO, that steak at counter cafe, chicken tortilla soup at Chuy’s) and I have not yet looked at any of the photos past the airgun at any size larger than the requisite thumbnail on an iphoto scroll-through.  Except for these.  The heads.

I’m not sure how to write about this, how to post these images, or how to tell the story, even how to document my own processing of the experience without sensationalizing the moment the bolt hits, the killing of the animals, without pimping them to get a reaction, because the airgun was not the climax, or at least it did not seem to be the climax until much later.  So for now, desensitization through hanging heads, and later, an actual engagement with the process.