Sunday, December 24, 2023

Prime Rib Roast for Christmas


New York Times - "The Rise and Fall of Prime-Rib Nation"

"“That big roast in the middle with the side dishes was a symbol of a meal that was fit for Americans,” she said. “‘Freedom From Want’ was Norman Rockwell’s way of describing it.”

A print ad from the American Meat Institute in the mid-1940s connected those ideas quite literally. Under a photo of a raw standing rib roast on a crimson background, the text read, “This is not just a piece of meat … This is a symbol of man’s desire, his will to survive.” Published in Life magazine, the mass-market bible of white, middle-class America, the campaign was seen by millions.

The gendered nature of that early pitch language found its way onto the menus of the prime-rib restaurants that proliferated in the 1950s and 1960s — places where you could get “Paul Bunyan’s Cut” or the “King Henry VIII Cut,” or, for less hungry diners, the “Queen Cut” or “Ladies Slice.”


"To the chef Angie Mar, though, that formulation never made sense. The granddaughter of Chinese immigrants, she grew up in Seattle, eating prime rib not only on Christmas but every Sunday for family dinner. “There’s something that’s really wonderful about seeing it carved,” she said. She now serves prime rib every Thursday at her Manhattan restaurant Le B.

“For food to have a gender association to it, I find to be so ridiculously American,” she said. “Great food is great food. And it brings all people to the table.”"


"“I think there’s got to be some connection to the past and some connection to the family,” Mr. Dobbels said. “The meal where we’re all sitting around the table is one thing that can really bring it back home. So I think that meal’s always going to be there, especially on the holidays. There’s a division happening in this country. But obviously there’s a lot of people who like to do things the old way.”"


"When you indulge in prime rib today, he said, “You’re almost on vacation in a different time.”"

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