The Tumultuous Breakup

“I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and say to myself, “Well, that’s not going to happen.” ~ Rita Rudner

After a pork roast debacle on Friday night, I have been (happily) demoted to part-time dinner maker. Finally, there is order in how dinner will happen in this house and I suspect less stress will hang over my head as the rest of my life moves forward and I no longer force myself to try to learn the ways of cooking meat.

Merriam-Webster defines the word debacle as:

  1. a great disaster
  2. a violent disruption (as of an army)
  3. a tumultuous breakup of ice in a river

If we’re keeping it real here, then my pork roast debacle falls into the category of a great disaster, although the very dramatic and creative side of me would love to publicly declare it to have been a violent disruption since tears were involved and a panicked phone call was made to my husband in which he told me to calm down.

There is no question, however, that meat and I have had a tumultuous breakup.

For some reason, I have been linking my ability to feed my family a healthy protein-filled dinner to my ability to care for them at all, period. They are ravenous carnivores while I am happy to continue feeding myself from plates filled with pasta, sautéed veggies, pizza, and pre-cooked seafood.  If I ever feel my body screaming for protein, I cook up a slice or two of bacon or make a hard-boiled egg. I will usually find a non-meat way around being hungry.

My first disaster came by way of lasagna. I have been told quite a few times that it is a very hard dish to muck up, so maybe I am just special in that way. We ate it but we were soon just a sad looking bunch that was still hungry after dinner. But Matt swore up and down that it could be improved upon.

lasagna FAIL :-(

looks can be so deceiving – big FAIL lasagna

The next night, I handed over the dinner-making reigns to my husband who proudly whipped up a delectable layer to cover up the crappy lasagna I had made. We named it Resurrection Lasagna, thanks to Matt’s awesome ability to bring it back from the dead.

The pork roast, on the other hand, was a festering combination of freezer burned meat in a slow cooker (an FDA no-no) after having been improperly handled during a quick thaw (again, an FDA no-no). All I could envision in my family’s future was food poisoning and I called Matt at work declaring, “There is no way I’m eating that.” When Matt came home, he fried up potstickers, boiled some white rice, and assured me that still I’m a good wife who makes really good desserts.

Now he is the cook and I am the baker. Actually, he is only the cook when meat is involved or when things need to be fried (I don’t do that either). But by Sunday evening, I was back in business with a meal that consisted of gnocchi & alfredo sauce, sautéed tomatoes and okra, and French bread.

I cannot begin to explain the feeling of relief I have knowing that dinner will no longer be a continuing source of emotional agony for me. Growing up, if I didn’t like what my mother put in front of me, I had no choice but to eat it or make my own dinner. This new sharing of the meal-making role might lead to Matt making an extra side for himself but he’s okay with this. Even the idea of my daughter having to make yet another peanut butter & jelly sandwich for herself doesn’t worry me too much, either.

My younger brother lived off of grilled cheese sandwiches for the first 23 years of his life until he graduated to boxed macaroni and cheese. He’s just fine. Coincidentally, he’s now dating a vegetarian who is also a great cook.

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9 thoughts on “The Tumultuous Breakup

  1. Love this because I can so relate to your issues with meat as you know though I am basically only a meat eater with a little bit of bread, pasta, etc. thrown in there. Pork is so difficult to make, I made my first attempt at it today and it turned out dry and I cooked it too long. I was feeling frazzled with herbs I didn’t know what to with but dinner actually turned out tasty and I made a mushroom gravy which made the slightly dry pork a forgotten memory. 😉 you seem like a great baker from what I’ve seen so that sounds like a good deal with him handling the meats and you handling the baking!

    • Mushroom gravy sounds delicious! Yes, I have a feeling our cooking/baking arrangement is going to work out well. In fact, I made chocolate shortbread last night so nobody’s really complaining about a lack of meat around here when I shove cookies in front of them later.

  2. I like the idea of sharing the dinner duties; that sounds like a good plan! But I just have to say: not being able to master meat dishes definitely doesn’t mean you don’t have it in you to be a really good cook. Meat is tricky! There’s a knack to it that I can’t master either.

    Part of my problem I think is that I went vegetarian when I was in college, and so any cooking knowledge I gained as an adult was non-meat-oriented. When I got married (to a non-vegetarian), I would occasionally try to cook meat things as a treat for him – but even when I could pull it off successfully (which was not often) I found that I really hated it. The grease! And the fear of food poisoning! So many pitfalls!!!

    If you ever feel experimental, try this website: http://www.theppk.com/. It’s vegan – but don’t be put-off by that; she uses pretty normal grocery store ingredients and explains things really well. Everything I’ve made from here has been WONDERFUL. (And I’ve found that even the most complicated vegan or vegetarian recipe is so much easier for me to succeed with than anything that requires meat! Meat’s hard!!)

    • You hit the nail on the head: fear of food poisoning! Which is ironic because just as many, if not MORE, vegetables and fruits are recalled for awful, awful things. It has encouraged me to learn how to grow my own food although I haven’t tried canning – again, bacterial growth has put me off!

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