Let Him Eat Steak

Let Him Eat Steak December 6, 2011

or, palliative feeding. Wherein I argue with a 91 year old.

So, I’m still bringing those Saturday night dinners to Mr. and Mrs. S. And this Saturday night, we had a little argument, Mr. S. and me.

I told him I’m going to bring a steak every Saturday night.

He said I didn’t need to do that.

I said,

I know that, and what kind of steak sauce do you like?

He said,


I said,

Okay, I’m bringing A1 next week.

He said,

No, it will make a mess.

I said,

I’m just going to buy a bottle and bring it with me.

And he said,

Now you’re making this complicated. Don’t do that! Don’t make a fuss! I take what I get.

{note: and he means it; he does, which is part of why he’s part of the Greatest Generation, I guess.}

And I said,

Fine! I’ll never bring you steak sauce, ever, ok?

And he said,


When I was little I thought the bottle said “Al” steak sauce–like the man’s name Al, nickname for Albert or Alfred. My parents thought this was hilarious; I still think see the name “Al” if I squint. Plus, “Al” steak sauce sounds friendlier.

As I’ve written about before (Grace and a Steak Dinner) Mr. S’s favorite food is steak. It’s the only thing that he seems really excited about eating. And since his appetite’s so poor, that’s important. So I think he’s going to get a steak every Saturday night for the rest of his life, if I can possibly make that happen.

Maybe it sounds really macabre, but as with last meals, feeding Mr. and Mrs. S is less about health and more about love and grace and comfort–palliative feeding.

palliative |ˈpalēˌātiv; ˈpalēətiv|


(of a treatment or medicine) relieving pain or alleviating a problem without dealing with the underlying cause

I can’t fix the cancer and the infections and the paralysis and the pain from all those things plus the leftover WW2 injury that earned Mr. the purple heart. I can’t erase the fear, the anxiety, the loneliness, or the confusion. There’s so much that I can’t do.

But I can grill steaks.

And I can bring A1 sauce.

Which is what I plan to do.

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