Philosophy and Food


This steak marinade recipe was published about thirty years ago in a tiny town newspaper in rural Ohio. My mom clipped it out that day and has used it ever since. To me, it’s the quintessential steak marinade. The ginger makes it really special, so it’s worth dropping by the store if you don’t already have some on hand.

It’s a really scalable marinade and easily doubled if you’re feeding a crowd. Even with two pounds of meat, you’ll have a lot left over, so you could probably stretch it across three pounds if needed.

And when you’re waiting for the steak to soak, you can let this ethics question stew a bit:

“If you see someone drowning and you don’t save them, are you responsible for their death?”

This question has always been a fascinating one to me. At my old office, I started an effort called “Philoso-Friday.” Every Friday, I’d get a question up in the break room that we could discuss over lunch. It was really awesome, because you’d learn a lot about the people you work with while also getting out of the regular routine of an office environment.

When we talked about this question one day over lunch, one woman initially said that she wouldn’t be held responsible, because if he was drowning, there’s a reason he was in the water. It was meant to be, so to speak. Then I asked if it was also meant to be that she was there to witness it. We talked about it a lot after that.

We also talked about whether it makes a difference if you attempt to save the person but you fail. Are you then held accountable for the death? Lots of people said, “no, definitely not.” However, the person dies either way, so why does your attempt make a difference? What if it was a half-assed attempt at a rescue? What if it was a fact that if you tried to save the person, you would die? Are you still obligated to try? What if the person drowning was a child, a priest, a convict, a murderer, a grandmother?

It’s difficult to imagine what you might do in this kind of a situation, but exploring the morality of it is pretty interesting. Let the question marinate a bit, and let me know what you think – about the ethics and the recipe.



Prep Time 5 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsps honey
  • 2 tbsps white vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • ¾ cup oil vegetable or olive are my go-tos
  • 2 pounds of steak. I like flank or flap steaks pictured


  1. The easiest way to mix it is to just dump all the marinade ingredients into a gallon-size bag and shake it up to mix everything together. Then, add the steak and seal the bag tightly closed, removing the air. Massage the bag a bit until the steak is completely coated in the marinade.
  2. Allow the steak to marinade in the refrigerator overnight or all day on the counter top. I usually do about five hours, and it’s perfect. There’s enough vinegar and soy sauce in the marinade, that it’s fine at room temp for a while.
  3. Make sure the steak comes all the way to room temperature before you cook it!
  4. Deposit the marinated steak and the marinade into a 9 x 13 pan and broil on high 5 minutes per side. Let it rest a few minutes before you slice or serve to let all the juicy goodness disperse.

Recipe Notes

This is amazing with prepared horseradish or a horseradish cream sauce.

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