“Watch out for the stone, ” the short order cook says, as he slides my meal across the counter to me. ” It is very hot.” I look at a dark stone shaped like a huge pill on my plate, then look at my under cooked meat next to it. The hot stone, it appears, is used to finish cooking the little slices of steak, as us customers desire them. By placing each slice on my own hot stone, I can cook my steak rare, medium, done, or well done, just like I like it. I am not just a consumer of a product, but a participant in it’s preparation. I’m sure this cooking technique has been around for thousands of years in Japan, but it is new to a trail tired New Mexico cowpoke. The whole process makes it twice as long to finish my dinner,as it usually takes ,but I enjoy my food more. Hearing meat sizzle on the stone reminds me of summer backyard barbecues and cooking over a campfire. At the end of this meal, I am happy with my steak, and, if I have to blame anyone for it’s cooking, it has to be me. That, I figure, is the final exclamation point of this entire culinary and writing exercise.  
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