Thursday, November 13, 2014

meaty issues

One thing I've noticed about this whole working overtime business is how I trim the fat from my life.  I used to troll the internet looking for interesting stuff, but now it's the furthest thing from my mind.  A hundred thirty-odd students, book choices, Lexile levels, recommendation letters and lesson planning is a much more pressing concern than what T-Lo has to say about J-Law's latest dress.  I still binge on blogs on the weekend when I find a spare hour, but the rest of the week I check emails and a bit of Facebook only because these things are easily accessed on my phone.  I can breeze through a few FB posts with half my attention while waiting for the photocopier to run next week's vocabulary quizzes. 

Food has been a bit of an adjustment as well.  The ol' crock pot slow cooks meat at least once a week--tonight it was a pork roast that I shredded with a fork and mixed with BBQ sauce.  My carnivore family requests burgers and pepperoni pizza weekly, and last night Mr. T's sole request for dinner was bacon.  Just bacon, nothing else.  The other two kids asked for Nutella sandwiches, so I acquiesced, placing a pan of bacon in the oven for one and slapping chocolate-hazelnut spread across slices of whole wheat for the other two.  There's liberation in phoning the pizza delivery dude a few times a month and I'm not stressing over serving up a main course with two sides because salad and apple slices are just as healthy as mashed potatoes and green beans. Healthier, really.

My biggest success and failure came in the form of a spiral cut ham (on special last week at the Piggly Wiggly).  I cooked it in the crock pot and glazed it according to the directions.  Team Testosterone enthusiastically ate slice after slice ... after slice.  I boiled the remaining ham and bone into pea soup.  The ham was a BIG win.  The Major Fail came the morning after I had first served it.  I'd eaten some myself and my wonky knee started to swell and ache.  Turns out salty food makes me gimp and hobble along and I had to climb one stair at a time to reach my second floor classroom that morning.  Ah, the humility!  The only comfort was in arriving early enough that I had the stairwell to myself as I groaned along, clutching my coffee in one hand and bag of graded essays in the other.  I stayed upstairs all day, and felt thankful we didn't have a fire drill.

In other meat-related news, a couple of my classes recently watched Apocalypse Now after reading Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness.  Say it with me: The horror!  The horror!  You know how Apocalypse Now ends, right?  Kurtz gets sliced up in tandem with some kind of ritual bull sacrifice occurring in the middle of his Cambodian fortress.  My students were horrified by this, which surprised me since we live in the middle of dairy farms and I know darn well my students understand where cheeseburgers come from.  I told them to just think of the slaughter as a pre-steak fry ritual.

There you have it, I'm bringing home bacon, frying it up in a pan and disturbing my seniors with images of a young Martin Sheen attacking Marlon Brando.  Medium-well, that's how it's going on the cooked meat scale.  Spill it, reader.  How do you like your steak?


  1. I am nodding empathetically with every paragraph here, right down to the ritual use of the crockpot. Do you ever toss a bunch of porch chops in and pour a can of Cream of Mushroom soup over top? Eight hours later, served over rice (love the rice cooker, too!), and everyone's in heaven.

    I'm so sorry about your knee. OY, honey.

  2. Well, been vegetarian for decades now, since I myself was 16, but the crock pot is in use ALWAYS this time of year, for making the hot soup, chili or even applesauce :)

  3. Just to make this all about me -- I'm going to purchase and cook bacon for the first time this weekend and I am freaking out. I have never learned to cook meat and now I really need to for D12.

  4. My daughter came home completely grossed out because of the pig-killing scene from The Lord of the Flies they were reading in her English class. All I could do was say, "Well, if you have to make a movie, we have a pig's head". Honestly, she herself has drug a dead pig out of the pen and into the pasture.
    Sounds like your carnivores are getting plenty of good meals.
    Sorry about the knee.

  5. In these days of violent and graphic video games, I find it interesting that movie violence can still shock teens. But good, really. It should be shocking.

    I'm glad you're finding your new groove :-)

  6. The horror, the horror for me is the Enjoli earworm! lol I remember that commercial way too well.

    Apocalypse Now is playing in the classroom next to my office at this very moment. I was 14 when the movie came out, and COMPLETELY disinterested in it. I still haven't seen it, which I'm fine with and disappointed in myself about all at the same time. There are some movies we should see because they add to our cultural experience, right?

    I am single and live alone but I LOVE using my crock pot. I am happy to crock up a dish on Monday while I'm at work then eat leftovers all week. This week's offering was chicken tikka masala and it was goooood. If the crock pot makes my simple little life easier, I can only imagine what a time and stress saver it is for you.

    Ack, gimpy knees are the worst! As I get older, I recognize more and more how what I consume not only affects my weight and overall health, but also how I feel and move on a very immediate basis. Not enough water today? I'll be slow and achy tomorrow. Increase in fruit/veggie consumption? Springier step and brighter outlook.

    Note to self: get that ham hock out of the freezer tonight so you can make pea soup on Monday.

    Hope the knee is better and you enjoy a relaxing weekend!

  7. Hmm, maybe I should try a ham. Knee or not. Anything to make life easier works for me! Hope your knee feels better soon.

  8. I think cutting the fat from life is a good idea. I've been looking at my social media and pondering what stays and what goes...

    I like my steaks medium rare. :-)

  9. Working outside the home requires a whole 'nother level of organization and energy.

  10. As much as I love ham, I have a similar reaction. It really helps keep my consumption in moderation.

  11. Oh how I remember the Enjoli ad. It plays in my head regularly, I'm sorry to say. Also, now I want Nutella. WHAT? I didn't know about the salty food thing, but that totally makes sense and eating BBQ yesterday may be why my knees are killin' me today. Hang in there!

  12. Meaty issues indeed. It's definitely liberating to realize you don't need to prepare "dinner" every night. Is it edible? It's dinner.

  13. I just finished slicing up apples and turned on the crockpot. There will be glorious applesauce in a matter of hours. I am very lucky that my husband is retired and cooking (usually the soup from leftovers, served with a salad and fresh fruit -- so I'm now craving green beans and mashed potatoes).
    The fat I really need to trim, social media-wise, is facebook.

  14. We working moms know that Martha Stewart doesn't live here - and we know where the crock pot is, too!


Spill it, reader.