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April 9, 2008

How to Emotionally Destroy a Pot Roast


The evening pot roast is a fairly standard meal – you throw a pot roast and some vegetables in some broth and allow it to cook for several hours. Salt generously, and dig in.


For many people, this is an endurance trial, long hours spent with half a mind on something in a crockpot. The question never asked is – what happens if this is just the first step toward a meal and not the end of it?


Start with a nice round chuck roast. Perhaps you wonder where the “chuck” comes from. Perhaps its name is Charles. Call it thusly, and record its response. Or, you could simply declare yourself disinterested in details and get to cooking.

The first trick is to create the juices into which the roast will simmer over long hours. For our purposes here, combine a packet of onion soup, cream of mushroom soup, beef broth, a sliced leek and a handful of sliced mushrooms.

Stir it all together until it is evenly mixed, and plop your chuck roast right down into it. Turn your crockpot on low, and sit on your couch and stare at a blank wall. You only have about eight or nine hours to wait. Occasionally, break the monotony by turning the roast over in the broth. An unstirred stew allows scum to collect on top (insert Congress-related joke . . .  here).

The roast will be done when it easily pulls apart with a fork. Remove it to a plate and begin cutting it across the grain. If there is something that aggravates a pot roast, it is cutting it across the grain.

In fact, if it is cooked long enough, this will encourage it to literally fall to pieces. You have destroyed it emotionally. Congratulations, tough guy, on getting the better of a slab of meat.

Meanwhile, boil water for egg noodles, and also add some flour to the juices in your crockpot. It will be watery, and add about a quarter cup of flour and a handful of freshly chopped parsley, and it will thicken into gravy. Thin, gruelly gravies are loved only by their mothers and people capable of eating only through straws.

While this thickens, and while the egg noodles soften, and while the chuck roast sits on the plate crying like a little girl, steam a handful of asparagus.

Perhaps now you can see a convergence of several things in your near future – a bed of egg noodles topped by pot roast and steamed asparagus and topped with gravy. See the future, be the future.

Drain the noodles, and lay on top of them the beef and asparagus. Over the top of this, pour your gravy. You can do this into separate bowls and allow the individual the freedom and flexibility to stir them together as that person best sees fit, or you can make decisions for the entire group and mix it all together at once.

Both have their pros, and both have their cons, and it is best to leave sorting out which one proves out to individual circumstances.

© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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