If I ruled the world I would get rid of the terms "medium well" and "well done" and punish anyone who would recite those words ever again. It truly breaks my heart when I see a ticket ring up 1 filet mignon, well done or any type of red meat at that (veal, lamb, venison, etc). When I used to work on the line, I would refuse tickets that would say medium well or well done. I've gotten into plenty of fights with servers because they're dumb enough to allow the customers to order such a catastrophe. You might say to yourself, "Well, isn't the customer always right?" Yes and No. Yes because they know what they want, but No because they might not be educated on why people eat medium rare meat. To an uneducated diner they're thinking that anything under medium is a raw product.
This is going to sound racist (I'm not racist) but whenever we see a ticket that rings up well done we assume the diner is African American or Latino. Please correct me if I'm wrong (I don't want to sound like an ignorant prick), from what I understand the majority of the countries in Africa and South America are considered Third World Countries yes? So because they are so poor, most people cannot afford some type of refrigeration therefore they must cook everything all the way through to kill the bacteria. Not only that, but chickens are also easier to raise and cheaper to buy thus the reason African Americans and Latinos eat a lot of chicken. Don't get me wrong, a lot of Asian and Middle Eastern countries are very poor as well. I grew up eating EVERYTHING well done and I liked it! Only because that was the way I was raised and that was the only way I knew how to eat. I was not educated.
Please bear with me as I jump around from subject to subject, I'm not a writer damnit.
"Educate me then..." says the ignorant diner. Ok fuckface...
Chicken and Turkey, dead or alive, contain parasites and Salmonella. Why? I'm not a biologist. Google it.
Duck, Pheasant, and other types of poultry on the other hand can be eaten "undercooked." Why? Google it.
Pork also contains parasites and bacteria but not as severe as poultry. BUT did you know you can actually eat pork loin medium, even medium rare? Well now you do! Because of the change in the way pigs are raised nowadays pork can be eaten "undercooked." If a restaurant has any respect for themselves, they will ask you, "How would you like your pork cooked?" But I recommend pork loin and pork loin only. I do not suggest asking a restaurant to cook your bacon medium.
Fish, depending on the fat content, can definitely be eaten "undercooked" or even raw. Heard of sushi? No? You're ignorant. The reason we can eat Tuna and Salmon raw is because they have a high fat content. One of the things bacteria does not like is fat. They cannot produce on it, they cannot live on it. That's why some families don't even refrigerate butter. Also, what fish do you know lives in "warm" water? I'm not sure if you know anything about the ocean but it's COLD. Bacteria can't live below a certain temperature (I'll give you a little lesson on bacteria in a little bit). When you go to the super market you usually see fish on ice right? Now you know why. Here's a little fact about shellfish. If you are going to eat shellfish raw (like at a raw bar) they must still be alive. When shellfish hit a certain temperature they die and then bacteria starts to take over. This goes for all seafood (the whole certain temp thing, not that they must still be alive). Seafood in general does not have a long shelf life. So once you buy fish, eat it ASAP. It'll probably go bad within 3 or 4 days in your refrigerator. And don't freeze it, you'll hurt my feelings. Really, you will.
Now onto red meat. Red meat is generally very dense and as we all know (I hope we do), bacteria lives only on the surface. Don't be afraid. When animals are slaughtered and everything, the slaughterhouse has to go through a procedure of breaking down the animal and chilling/aging it ASAP. Most, if not, all slaughter houses always have an FDA or Health inspector on site during this process.
How can we be certain there is no bacteria? How can we be certain that washing lettuce with water will make it bacteria free? WE CAN'T! So suck it up and stop complaining.
I'll lightly go into why I eat beef rare. And notice how I said "why I...", everybody has their reasons. Eating food medium rare and rare if more of a textural thing for me. Flavor has little to do with it but texture is everything. I mean, what would you rather eat? Something that is soft and melts in your mouth or something that requires you to chew it at least 20 times before swallowing? If you picked something that requires you to chew, I hate you. But hey, everybody has their reasons. When you cook something; anything, it takes moisture out of the food. Ever heard of chicken being dry? Yeh, not cool. So please stop cooking the food before you've removed all the moisture. That's my two cents.
Ok so bacteria (and this paragraph is completely off the top of my head and what every chef should know). In culinary school I was taught there is a temperature range that bacteria reproduces the quickest called the "danger zone." Any type of protein (i.e. meat) left out between the temperatures of 40°F-140°F for more than 4 hours should be cooked immediately or thrown out. How cold do you think your refrigerator is? Probably anywhere from 37°F-39°F because...? You're right! It's under the danger zone. Now let me make this clear. Obviously food can still spoil in the refrigerator, but the bacteria is not reproducing as quickly.
There are 6 things bacteria needs to reproduce and when I quiz myself from time to time I always think of the acronym FATTOM.
Food - Bacteria needs some type of food to feed on to reproduce
Acid - Acidity helps with the reproduction
Time - Longer sexy time
Temperature - Danger Zone
Oxygen - Why do you think we cover food when we store it?
Moisture - Example, does beef jerky need to be refrigerated? Exactly.
How you eat your food is up to you. But if I ever find out you ordered Venison Well Done, I'm going to kick you in the face.