Roast or My Boots?

Best thing on the menu, provided by the guests

Posted by Danny

I simply can’t cook.

I woke up this morning knowing that the family was coming over for dinner – 13 and a baby. I was planning on cooking up some Mexican fare but my sister-in-law called and said they were bringing a tomato pie. She then informed me that tomato pie went with ANYTHING. Have you ever seen tomato pie on a menu at Dos Taquitos? I don’t think so…

I knew I could cook a pot roast but I sort of felt like mine was too crock pot and cream of mushroom soupy. My mother-in-law is such a good cook, I sort of thought I should put in a little more effort – less onion soup from a box and more clove of real garlic. By the way, took me twenty minutes and two children to find a clove of garlic in the fresh food section at the Kroger. It was hidden behind the avocado – another thing I’ve never purchased.

I found a recipe on-line – someone’s grandma’s oven baked pot roast. It looked simple.

I got home at 1:30 in a panic. Grandma called for her chuck roast to cook for four to five hours – she must have been retired. Who has time to cook a five-hour meal? That should have been my first clue.

The second should have been a dish that required alcohol. Frozen burritos do require alcohol, but in a glass while you’re eating them. This chuck roast called for searing (had to Google that) followed by a bath in red wine. It killed me to waste a good pino noir like that.

It first called for me to rub salt and pepper all over Chuck.  I found it difficult to believe that I was giving a dead cow a rub down.  I closed my eyes and pictured Meg Ryan.  Didn’t work.  I’m sure her skin would have been softer and warmer.

After searing, chopping, poking, daydreaming, basking and simmering, I finally tossed my new friend into the oven in a big silver pot with an enormous silver lid.  This large kitchen item has not been used since my wife died. And I’m not sure it has ever been used, although it has taken up an entire cabinet since 1995. 

It was 2:15 when I tossed him in the oven – we’d be pushing it, but Stephanie had several new constipation jokes that could entertain the guests for a good 20 minutes.

I set the timer for 5 pm just to check in on Chuck. I pulled him out of the oven and hour before the guest arrived and opened the lid. As I jabbed him with my knife, I realized he was the consistency of myboots. When I took a bite, thoughts of my summer lawn shoes filled my head.

Crap! I’ve ruined yet another meal. I called my mom, as if this woman could tenderize pounds of meat from 90 miles away.  “Is there anything that can be done for a piece of meat that taste like a bike tire?”

She didn’t flinch, “Honey, they have these great chickens in the deli at the Harris Teeter. Why don’t you go buy a couple of those?”

She used to talk me through my cooking failures.  Now she just suggests alternate arrangements. 

As we sat at the table, my oldest daughter critiqued the corn. She then explained to the family how I’d run into the house at 5:30 with a new meat. That was unfortunate since I’d already accepted the compliment of my brother-in-law’s sister who told me the chicken was delicious. I simply said, “Thank you.” Sometimes I’m prone to lying through omission my grief counselor tells me.

So – I ruined another meal. The corn was too creamy. The meat was in the outdoor trash can. The potatoes were mushy. Thank the lord the guests brought a really good salad – and several bottles of wine.

And next time, I’m sticking with Mexican – tomato pie or not.

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2 Comments

  1. I feel for you Bro! A waste of good meat, ouch. Maybe you missed a step some where along the line, easy enough to do. I have only “helped” with roasts. So you at least tried on your own, kudos for that! Next time, yes, try again, do it when there is no rush and just for the immediate family.

    Reply
  2. Aunt Susan

     /  January 2, 2012

    Really, use the cookbooks and food network.com look for easy or beginners recipies. Pot Roast is easy. and what is tomato pie? At least your trying! which is more than others would do. Try bribing the oldest to keep her mouth shut, but then remember the story of the bronzed shoes and how hard we all laughed, this could be one of those in a year or two!

    Reply

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