Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recovering Vegetarian Cooks Meat

Let's backtrack a few years, shall we?

When Dan and I were newlyweds (read: when dinosaurs roamed the earth) I was a vegetarian for about three years. You'd think that would strain the relationship a bit because he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but the thing is...I don't cook. It was never really a problem because we ate a lot of take-out or he'd grill a steak. We were rarely together for meals anyway because I was substitute teaching, waiting tables, and going to graduate school and he works retail hours. I relied on cheese pizzas and Taco Bell bean burritos on campus and he made peanut butter sandwiches or chicken noodle soup. And all was right with the world, as God intended.

Then I got pregnant. I craved Happy Meals like Lindsay Lohan craving coke at a Hollywood party. One might argue that I was still a vegetarian because Mickey D's Happy Meal hamburgers don't contain meat (sorry, Holli) but I fell off the veggie wagon and hit hard. After the pregnancy was over I ate meat occasionally but never really liked it much.

Then, three years later, I came home from Kroger with smoked cheddar and summer sausage and, before I could even unload the rest of the groceries, started scarfing slices of both on Triscuits while standing at the kitchen counter. Dan walked in, took one look at the processed food orgy and said something along the lines of, "Dude, you are SO knocked up."

Other than the eleventy-zillion months I was pregnant (at least that's how long it felt) I've never really liked eating flesh very much. I can't stand to touch raw meat, but since the rest of my family are carnivores, I am occasionally required to prepare meals consisting of dead animals. Today was no exception.

I'd bought some kind of pork at Publix and it was approaching the Instant Death if Consumed After date, so I decided to whip up some kind of crock pot pork thing. Only, as I tore off the plastic wrap, I realized that I'd accidentally purchased pork with the rib bones still attached.


Rather than throw it away and run shrieking from my kitchen, I put my big girl pants on and started cutting the usable meat sections off. There were very few pieces left by the time I removed all bones, fat, veiny-looking things, and anything else that creeped me out because I didn't want it touching the lovely carrots and potatoes I was planning to throw in with it. I dumped in some onion soup mix, various and sundry spices (whatever I could reach without breaking out the step stool which wasn't much considering I'm only 5'2"), and a bay leaf (because, even though I don't know what they do, adding a bay leaf always makes me feel like a real cook).

Now here's where it gets ugly.

The pot was looking kind of sad and empty so I decided to throw in some noodles--No Yolks brand, to be exact--because Dan's mom used to make some kind of noodles, potatoes, and meat thing for him. Apparently she was worried that his starch and triglycerides levels were too low. Anyway, as soon as I dumped the noodles into the pot I thought, "Hmm, maybe that wasn't such a good idea since this is going to be cooking for about five hours. Oh well, what's the worst that could happen?"

Um, yeah. Did I mention that I hate to cook? This isn't just your run-of-the-mill hatred of cooking, either. More like an all-consuming fire of a thousand suns-type hatred of cooking. And this is why. I ALWAYS screw something up. Whether I wing it or carefully follow a recipe I ALWAYS screw it up.

So after a while I lifted the lid to inhale the onion-brothy goodness and... lo and behold, when you put noodles in a crock pot they turn to complete mush very, very quickly. Ugh.

So, determined to save dinner since I'd, you know, touched raw meat and bones and things and wasn't about to let that effort go unnoticed, I poured everything out into a colander with a pot underneath to catch all the brothy-goodness and dumped the pot contents back into the crock pot. Then I rinsed off every single little piece of carrot, potato, and meat--doubling the number of times I had to handle uncooked meat today and thereby guaranteeing my Mother of the Year nomination for another year. Stay tuned for the awards ceremony which should happen right after Satan starts selling Push Pops in hell.

I dumped all the now noodle-goop-free food back into the crock pot and said a little culinary prayer that this will turn out to be edible.

But, if not, I think I have a few coupons for free kid's meals at Fazoli's--which is where the kids would rather eat anyway. Honestly, so would I.

Because no one makes me cut fat from animal carcasses at Fazoli's--just as God intended.


Lizzy said...

You deserve some sort of award for your effort, at the very least. I would have stopped at the raw meat still on the bone and decided it was pizza night. There are some crockpot recipes that call for noodles though (like crockpot lasagna). But I'm with ya on not loving to handle raw meat. You are a much more determined dinner maker than I am with trying to salvage your dinner. I hope it turned out ok!

Shelly Conn said...

I don't eat (or cook) lots of meat either! I definitely do not like to handle/cut up the stuff. You get an E for effort Teble AND I bet it will turn out yummy too!!

Sanna said...

I am not a meat person either. Don't like to handle it (in fact, dh does when we have meat) and don't like to eat most of it. I sometimes have chicken, that's it.
I can deal with meat in hamburgers when they are all done, though.

You are one brave girl, Teble.