The primary time I had A1 sauce was once at a tiny Glendale, California diner tucked right into a strip mall: Toasted Bun, like an ordinary Anytown, USA eating place, had dusty mini blinds, formica laminate tabletops, tan vinyl cubicles, a waist-high counter, and sassy waitresses. My father, a Korean-born, Brazilian-raised former espresso farmer who turned into a loan banking government, cherished consuming American breakfast there each week ahead of taking me to Little League video games. Ham and eggs have been his go-to, however steak and eggs was once the occasional deal with, and a chance to create his favourite taste mixture: meat with A1. I at all times copied what my dad ordered, so I did the similar with my steak and eggs, dipping a chew of half-inch griddled steak into the darkish elixir.
There’s one thing about the best way A1 sauce spreads whilst you pour it into the nook of an elliptical plate, the viscous brown liquid permeating the corners of a medium-well steak, seeping into runny sunny aspect up eggs, and soaking into the crispy fringes of hash browns. Its taste, ineffable however at all times memorable, is like raisins mashed into an outdated orange after which plunged into the dregs of a long-neglected red meat inventory with dribbles of expired tomato paste. It makes the whole thing style so excellent that it tastes overwhelming, and subsequently more or less dangerous, like an ’80s energy ballad or ’90s motion flick that works on account of some mixture of nostalgia and bewilderment from how inexplicably over-the-top it’s.
And but, true gourmands frown upon A1, relegating it to the desk ends of myriad diners as a covering agent for steaks of questionable provenance. At first conceived via one in all King George IV’s chefs in 1824, A1 lives within the strata of flavorings known as brown sauces, influenced via chutneys in India and co-opted via the British as one thing to hide the flavour of outdated hen and meat. Till the ’60s, A1 was once advertised as steak sauce — till the emblem learned that may prohibit its doable, at which level it was once declared excellent “on the whole thing,” like rooster, red meat, seafood, or even greens. This may provide an explanation for why critical chefs and meals other folks see A1 as a marker for low-brow consuming, regardless of being a truly tasty aspect. And in some way, on this technology of “know your butcher” and consuming native, A1 has misplaced the plot. Maximum grocery retailer or eating place steak is lovely excellent now, and the folk serving prime-grade, dry-aged stuff at fancy steakhouses would gasp should you requested for a bottle of it.
However, like any issues, the appropriate time and position can provide one thing goal once more. There’s no disgrace in searing up ultimate night time’s fancy steak leftovers with some eggs or toast, and slathering them with A1 for a fast breakfast. On a up to date tenting go back and forth, a couple of buddies and I grilled some grocery retailer T-bone steaks over picket, the fireplace as the principle supply of sunshine, with A1 as the one seasoning past salt and pepper. It pooled onto our paper plates, mixing the crunch of onions and candy child peppers I cooked on a forged iron skillet with the juicy, blackened slices of corn-fed red meat that was once comfortable, if differently unremarkable. A1 finished our dinner, making us really feel like a number of Outdated West cowboys with complete bellies falling asleep to the crackle and heat of the fireplace.
That’s why I like A1. It makes me be mindful glad Saturday mornings with my dad within the Toasted Bun, absorbing the ultimate bites of egg and fried potatoes with a dab of brown sauce. It takes me again to a time when I used to be much less desirous about what number of days the meat was once dry-aged. A1 is probably not known as steak sauce anymore, however there’s one thing magical in the way it can take any mediocre piece of meat — a grocery store T-bone, leftover rib-eye, and even tricky diner steak — and make it into one thing I in reality need to consume.