Let’s say that I started this post for the Super Bowl and now it’s become a March Madness idea. Good thing turkey jerky lasts that long.
I have been negligent here because of some travel and some moving of my dad from Denver to Santa Monica – now my he’ll have to become a liberal, get pedicures, and buy his weed in back alleys.
My dad’s profession was in sales of athletic wear. He worked for a company that manufactured all the uniforms for nearly all the professional sports teams. Long before Nike, this humble company, located in the middle of Wisconsin, wove the textiles and then constructed uniforms that would protect the likes of the Packers, the Yankees, and the Lakers. Like a Midwestern Don Draper, he’d go to conventions and meet up with team owners and coaches, drinking Canadian Club Manhattans while jotting down next season’s orders on a napkin and then sealing the deal with a handshake.
It was good that his job was in a male-dominated field because when he came home, it was all girl from recital to curlers to eye rolls. He would get in on the girl action with skills like timing my headstands or making snow cones (first time I heard him swear – an s-bomb – my ears bled). He wasn’t chatty, in fact for awhile I thought my name was ‘ahem’. He was practical about life and emotional about telephone commercials and, as my mom joked “super market openings.” He was a family man who didn’t tell us he loved us but who showed us by respecting our world and respecting us. He didn’t mock our desire to shop, instead, he came along. While we tried on clothes, he would feel the textiles of the retailers garments as if doing recon work for his job. Likely it looked more pervy than professional.
So cat’s in the cradle, cause a zillion years later, with my daughter mostly at college, I am in a male-dominated world that happens to be about spectator sports. I don’t have a team nor a a god-given interest, so I do the next best thing – get in on three March Madness pools. I’ve learned the key terms so at my son’s baseball I can yell out good eye and basketball box out. I drink beer like a sailor and I feed them when the big game is on. Note to the unseasoned, the big game is always on.
I don’t make wings or layered dips or even game-day shaped foods – I’ll save the food themes for Oscar parties – ’12 Years a Cheese’ anyone?. For that big game I can think of nothing better than tough, chewy jerky for taking on the spectator’s tension – tension that comes from watching action while not exhibiting any real movement himself. The battle is all in the teeth.
I didn’t think much was wrong with store-bought jerky until someone pointed out that they’re loaded with sugars, salts, and preservatives. Duh. Then, along came The Fast Metabolism diet. I like a program that is based in simple real food and might kick start my spring cleaning – what? You should know that the diet in this book breaks down into three weekly phases – carbs, protein, and healthy fats. The theory is to focus our daily diets on one of these food properties in order to keep our metabolism at peak performance. The hardest days – 2 of them within the week – are protein intense and not because of the protein, but because you don’t eat carbs or fats those days; just green vegetables and the darker the better.
I’ve made this jerky probably a dozen times and it continues to satisfy everyone in the house. For the ambitious, Alton Brown’s beef jerky does not disappoint. Jerky is easy but you need to plan out the marinating and slow baking period; I bake mine overnight. If you start now, it’ll be ready for the Final Four. And if Michigan State is in the final game it will be the Big Game in our house, for real.
We’re gonna need more jerky! Madness.