A New Personal Best

For many, Easter is a time to reflect on their religion, or spend time with family. For me, Easter is an opportunity to prove my dominance over the buffet at the Benson Hotel in Downtown Portland. This year was no exception.

Before you start thinking I’m a glutton, I should explain: I’m not simply a volume eater; I don’t count up how many plateloads I down. My focus is more sophisticated, my goal nobler. Simply put, I try to eat as many different kinds of meat as I can. I found an old blog entry from 2008, in which I ate 10 varieties. That’s certainly a feat to be proud of, but nothing compared to this time around.

This year’s tally: 17 meats. I know, it’s impressive.

The Rules:
The first rule is pretty simple: at least one bite of a meat makes it official. The second rule is a subject of debate between my friends and family. What constitutes a meat? Can one animal produce two different kinds of meat? In the end, we decided that eggs are not a meat (although I believe they should be), and that one animal can give us several kinds of distinct meat products. After all, can you say that bacon is the same as a pork chop? However, in the case of salmon, we concluded that there isn’t enough of a difference between smoked, baked, and poached, so I only got one check mark there. Alright, enough with the explanations, let’s see the list!

The List:

  1. Bacon – standard
  2. Sausage – breakfast
  3. Ham – standard
  4. Pork – 2 kinds: chop and roulade (but it only counts once)
  5. Lamb – chop
  6. Duck – breast
  7. Clams – steamed
  8. Chorizo – served with clams
  9. Oysters – smoked and on the half shell (but again, it only counts once)
  10. Salmon – see “The Rules” section
  11. Whitefish – smoked
  12. Scallops – smoked
  13. Tuna – sushi
  14. Eel – sushi
  15. Shrimp – cocktail-style
  16. Crab – legs
  17. Beef – roast

Lessons Learned:
When it was all said and done, I was quite full. Although I’m quite pleased with my meat consumption, there were consequences. Nothing unpleasant, I assure you, but consequences nonetheless. I stumbled into a bit of a meat stupor toward the end of the meal, but then again, so did everyone else. No, the main problem was that my single-minded pursuit of meat meant that I left some really delicious food on the buffet table. Blintzes, eggs benedict, cheese, cheesy potatoes, omelettes, and other taste treats went barely touched (by me, at least).

Questions still abound.  Can I top 17 meats next year? Is it worth trying? I guess we’ll have to wait until next Easter to find out.