Recently some friends goaded me into playing Fallout 3, the predecessor to New Vegas, both of which Mike wrote about a while back. I don't remember if it exists in New Vegas, but I can tell you, Salisbury steak exists in abundance in Fallout 3. Nuclear war has annihilated most society and industry, food comes out of boxes or out of two-headed cows, and Salisbury steak is everywhere (and heals you for five hp, while filling you with three radiation units). I just wandered into a graveyard and found, in a dug-up and abandoned coffin, a medical brace, a shovel, a toy car, and two Salisbury steaks. Delicious.
"Not one but two," I said to Sarah. I then told her this story: the first time I flew, when I was tiny, my nephew endorsed the Salisbury steak served in-flight. I had never touched a Salisbury steak and was almost too scared with flight-terror to eat but he convinced me we were safe and that this Salisbury steak would be worth eating. I was disappointed, but only a little. I probably expected it to taste like candy.
"What is Salisbury steak?" I said (tonight, not 20 years ago, although probably I did say that 20 years ago too, on the plane).
Sarah speculated that Salisbury steak's story was one of faded glory and ruination through overinclusion in microwave dinners. She looked it up and was told by Wikipedia that Salisbury steak is in fact no particular steak, but rather any dish made from "a blend of minced beef, which is shaped to resemble a steak," and, amazingly, that it was invented by Dr. J. H. Salisbury! This name could comfortably fit on a retired researcher who assists plucky cartoon children in a quest to unearth buried treasure, or on a notoriously harsh but secretly caring professor in a bad afternoon comedy, but instead it landed on the man who invented a steak(thing).