I was reminded this morning of a piece I once wrote explaining the word Meaf and its origins. It was first posted on a blog I wrote many years ago in the character of Doctor Pockless. Although this site died long ago, I recently found all of the content. You may come to regret this.
Meaf, ladies and gentlemen, is the essense of flesh when served for consumption. It may be distinguished from meat on syntactic grounds, although it is certainly inseperable from it. Meat describes the edible part of animals in any of its forms, down to the meagre flecks of ham that might render a salad unsuitable for vegetarians. Meaf, however, describes with oleaginous zest the superabundance of butchery that is brought about by a proper passion for cuts of just-slaughtered sustenance. Meaf, ladies and gentleman, is meta-meat, such as might be served at a banquet of all-conquering carnivores. The salty knuckle of pork that bobs in your soup unashamedly flaunting its ringlets of gristle – this is Meaf. An entire piglet skewered and twisting gratefully over the fat driven flames of an open fire speaks Meaf with the uninhibited enthusiasm of infants. Larded loins of game and lubricious lengths of sausage are unambiguous Meaf of the first order, especially when served with a pork tiara.
I first encountered Meaf in the leatherbound menus of the Markus Vendéglo in Budapest, Hungary. Like many before me I immediately assumed that this was a simple error of typography, rendered from the non-native transcription of the menu into English. But I did not need many dishes of Magyar cuisine to help me come to terms with feelings towards meat that had long been half formed in a bulb-blown pantry of my mind’s kitchen. Meaf was not merely the mistake of a myopic monoglot. Meaf was an epiphany boiled in beefstock, and served with spicy beans. It was then that I first gnawed on the bones of awakening. An understanding of Meaf assured me that meat need never again be lost in the pinkish glow of an unvisited corner of the supermarket. Meaf glistened with a thousand new shades of meaning, like the very cutlet of sense.
Meaf, ladies and gentlemen, is the epicurean scorn of a sensible diet and all that is implied therein. Meaf is the second helping taken when you’re already full, simply because you like the feel of scorched flesh against the ever vital buds of your tongue.
This then, is the root of Meafmania, a delirium of gravy drenched remonstrations against the prudery of light lunches.