Lebanon Reporter

Columns

January 22, 2013

Where's the beef?

 I have never been much of a picky eater. I should probably be more selective about my choices, but I’m pretty low-brow when it comes to food. I can slum with the best of them at any ol’ greasy spoon, and be just as happy, maybe happier, as when dining at finer restaurants.

Hubby, on the other hand, is a bit more choosey. During our first two months of wedded bliss, we had a microwave and stove top, but no working oven. Somehow, he managed to create a fantastic meal of duck a l’orange. I had never had duck, let alone fancy duck cooked in the microwave.    

Hubby was somewhat scornful of the traditional meals of my childhood: baked Spam, beanie-weenies, and a clever family recipe called Shipwreck. Shipwreck consists of ground beef, tomato soup, and green beans smothered with mashed potatoes. For a healthier version, mom would cook carrots with the potatoes and mash them together, giving the whole thing a nice orangey color. Perhaps it would have appealed to him more if I’d called it Shipwreck a l’orange.  

My regular menu rotation consisted of hamburgers, tuna patties, and the ever-exciting “breakfast for dinner.” I ventured into more exotic territory with foreign foods such as spaghetti and tacos, and even tried my hand at Jambalaya.  

As time passed, it became evident that hubby also did not care for the Sunday dinner that had been a staple in both of our childhood homes. Like all good Christian mothers, ours would rise early in the morning to prepare pot roast surrounded with carrots and potatoes. If the preacher got boring, I would dream of going home to the delicious aroma. To this day, I am comforted by the smell of roast.  

Hubby would be content if he never had another roast in his life. Apparently, his mother served it much more frequently than just Sunday afternoon. He prefers chicken. Lots and lots of chicken. I’ve learned to roast it, bake it, fry it, poach it, and serve it in everything from tortilla shells to casseroles. You know what they say: if at first you don’t fricassee, fry, fry a hen!

Lately, I’ve been hankering for a good ol’ pot roast. Hubby has been out of town, so this past weekend I invited my dad and sisters to the house for a meal like mom used to make. I bought a seven-pound roast and kept it in the refrigerator, waiting for the big day. I didn’t fully realize how unusual it is to have a hunk of beef in our fridge until 18-year-old son divulged, “I’ve been telling all my friends at school that my mom is making a roast this weekend!”   

Fifteen-year-old daughter enthused, “Every time I look in the refrigerator, I can’t wait until you cook that roast!”

Oldest daughter called from college, “Are you really making a roast? Can I come home?”

Preschooler and kindergartner poked their thumbs through the plastic and inquired, “Roast? What’s roast?”

Hubby grew up eating mostly beef because his father doesn’t care for chicken. The reason his father doesn’t care for chicken is because it was served so frequently when he was a child. Consequently, my own children think beef is a delicacy, and someday it will be roast that graces their family dinner tables each night. It is quite likely that my grandchildren will never know the joy of a deep fried chicken leg unless they come to my house. I can’t decide if I’m glad to be in the chicken generation, or if I would prefer more roast. Frankly, I think it’s about time we revisit the Shipwreck.  

Ginger is an author, speaker and mother of five. Contact her at ginger@gingertruitt.com.

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