I am currently hanging out in the Free State. Farm country; and the only thing people here talk about is the price of lamb, how much rain there has been, when the next rain will come and whether or not they should spray Round Up on those invader trees down by the river. It’s fantastic fun.
The Free State is also the place where a lot of meat comes from. The perfect place for a carnivorous young woman to spend her vacation? Not really and here is why:
Just because steak can be grown in the Free State does not mean you will find good steak in the Free State. The meat is here is cheaper than in the city, because of transport costs and, a little secret, all the good steak goes to Johannesburg. And once it’s there, it’s tricky to get hold of, but always worth the effort. For obvious reasons, you can’t grow good steak in Johannesburg. It’s not a great place to raise a good piece of meat – too much noise and pollution and no room for the steak to mature. This makes places outside of Johannesburg necessary and very important for the enjoyment of steak.
It’s too bad really. The Free State has the potential to produce good steak, but it fails miserably. There isn’t that much to do, so from a very young age everyone eats a whole lot of meat, but it’s not good meat. It’s really boring, talentless meat. But because the locals don’t know any better, they spend their lives indulging in low grade beef and often relish in its toughness. So everyone goes about their daily lives without knowing what a great steak tastes like. And this makes me very sad for the average Free State dweller.
I’ve been here for just over a week now and I find myself missing steak. I dream about steak at night sometimes, I think about it during the day… All of this even though I can have as much meat as I want. It’s easy to find and requires little effort to prepare. But it’s just not the same. Once you have had good steak, you just want more of it.