Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Great Rotten Burned Meat Debacle of 2012

In every family there are certain stories that get told many times over. Eventually the entertaining details get embellished and the boring details get left off that the true story evolves into a a few different versions of the real story and then everyone has to argue about who is telling the truth and who is not even though both parties really really believe that their version is the more accurate portrayal. Just to be sure that time and retelling don't damage the essential facts of this story, let me rehash for you what just happened last week and has already been titled "The Great Burned Meat Debacle of 2012".

First of all, let me say that I have never claimed to be an awesome chef. Cooking skill is just not something I value highly because I was raised in a house where my super fun mom never cooked and we went to restaurants a lot and its pretty obvious that its best to outsource this kind of task to people who really really like doing it or are getting paid to do it and preferably both. Its expensive and monotonous and requires specific measuring of ingredients and time and every mother in the world knows that if you don't make something that everyone has eaten a hundred times already and is even slightly interesting to create you might as well eat a serving of it your self and throw it right in the trash.

At the grocery store you can buy a raw whole chicken for about five bucks or you can walk ten feet and get a delicious rotisserie chicken that is already cooked and seasoned perfectly and doesn't create a sink full of dishes or require you to turn you oven on full blast in the middle of the summer for five bucks. You have got to really love the process of cooking a chicken to take that deal. I'm not that gal.

The problem is that I am also a Mormon and I literally own a full blown year supply of food that requires major culinary effort to be made remotely appetizing. I love the 35 year shelf life freeze dried crap that I can buy with no intention of eating ever and then packing it away in a closet and being like "See ya in 35 years when I am seventy. I'm just going to mark you expiration date here in my food storage rotation app right next to 'babysit grandkids' in 2047." and then I shut the closet door and when I'm asked to teach a Sunday School lesson about preparedness I can deliver that doctrine without a twinge of guilt.

It gets trickier when you start talking about the deep freezer full of meat. There is no way around it. We made the purchase of a half of a cow last year and I keep trying to remember why. Turns out that cows actually posses very few actual pieces of meat that can legally be called Ribeye or Filet. If fact, most of it is just really tough meat with strange names like Flank Rump. What the? How does one even begin to prepare this? And then I have this house full of food snobs (shocker) who won't touch a homecooked steak dinner and beg for hamburger meat. Like, they think we are poor because we have to eat steaks for dinner. How does one respond to a comment like "My friend so and so has a pool with a slide and they get to eat ramen noodles for dinner."?

So anyway, back to the material facts in the GBMDof'12.

I was taking a lot of heat from a certain person who paid for a certain left half of a cow last year (oh my gosh, it just occurred to me that we might have bought a front half or a back half. That would explain a lot.) to cook some meat. It takes days to thaw that stuff out so I can always stall for a while but sooner or later I have to get busy asking Google what it is and how to cook it. This particular cut of meat was probably best cooked in a crock pot slowly for a long time. No problem. Crock pots are great. No. my crock pot has a crack in it and is therefore not technically water tight (or meat tight). No problem, I have a full set of expensive pots and pans and a functioning stove.

Never buy expensive pots and pans. There is no magic in it and sometimes there are occasions in life where it makes more sense for everyone to throw out the whole meal pan and all without the pesky middle steps sometimes referred to as "the refrigerator" or "the garbage disposal". I know that those dollar store pans are probably made by slave children in third world countries but I have bad news. So are the two hundred dollar pans. I'll take 199 dollar store pans instead of that 200 dollar pampered chef crap and take the remaining dollar to send ramen noodles to slave kids in third world countries.

So I had the meat cooking on the stove and I was congratulating myself on outsmarting the smug inventors of the crock pot (by the way, how did the name Crock Pot ever make it past the marketing department? Don't even get me started on the Pampered Chef and all of the reasons a company should avoid words associated with disposable diapers when selling food prep items). This story would have ended happily with the meat in the trash except that I wandered over to Kristen's house at some point in the process and found out the real reason crock pots are awesome.

Fact: burned mystery meat makes your whole house smell exactly like a dirty cheap smoking lounge/motel room.

Fact: Lots of things stick to teflon really really well. Especially when applied at super high temperatures.

Fact: No amount of Fabreeze can neutralize the smell of dirty cheap smoking lounge/hotel room.

Fact: a text message was sent to John before his return from work warning him of the smell and informing him that there was no need to call the fire department upon his arrival. Code 4.

Fact: 24 hours later we were all still in a bad mood about it.

Fact: 48 hours later is still wasn't funny.

Fact: We probably have a legitimate homeowner's insurance claim here.

After this the details are debated but if anyone would like to tell their version of events they are invited to create and author a blog.

I seriously considered throwing away this expensive pan but the lid fit so tightly and I was so busy with the Fabreeze and the air purifiers and I didn't know what to do with it. Back porch? Chihuahuas, kids, bad idea. Front porch? Homeowner's association, bad feng shui. No way. Garage? Maybe. no.

I remember that there was some negotiating about who would clean the pan and I remember that I argued that the industrial nature of the task had exceeded the feminine domain. I specifically remember winning this ridiculous argument and I specifically remember crossing it off of my mental to-do list.

Fact: a week later the stupid pan was still there concealing it's horrible identity with a tight fitting lid. Don't get me wrong, we're not hoarders (not counting the year supply of food in the closet). The house got cleaned a number of times during this time span, it just got cleaned around the Burned Meat Pot. Every day that passed made the whole task much more dreadful and so much easier to procrastinate.

Finally John reached a breaking point and agreed to wash the pot. He explained his game plan which involved putting it in the car and driving it to the police station where the Town of Gilbert also washes the garbage trucks. Yeah, sit com writers can't come up with harebrained schemes like this. I strongly urged John to abandon this plan and to commit to handling the issue here at home.

The next day the pot was gone. Whatever. Drive it away in your car, buy it dinner and a movie, make it a taxpayer project, just get it the hell out of the kitchen.

But then that night I got a frantic phone call.

Fact: John decided to use a super high powered municipal grade pressure washer to rinse the pan.

Fact: When sprayed with water at close range and high velocity The Rotten Burned Meat instantly atomized and covered him in a horrible layer of Burned Rotten Meat Juice.

This is where it gets good

Fact: after the first fateful squirt he put the pot back in the car and drove it back home.

Fact: We had to stay up late to wash all of his gear overnight so that he could use it on duty the next day but we got a good laugh about the whole thing and I was relieved to have the whole thing over with.

Fact: I didn't even suspect that the pot complete with all of it's Rotten Meat was in the passenger seat of the car.

Fact: The next day I saw the Pot on the counter and for a second I wondered if I was living a bizarre horror movie plot.

Fact: Two intelligent adults can argue their strongly held personal opinions about the definition of "rational behavior" for a very long time.

Fact: I am no longer trusted to use the stove or hassled about cooking meat.

Fact: You can drop a little bit of fabric softener into a pot of Rotten Burned Meat and it comes right off and neutralizes odor.

Fact: The town of Gilbert should consider replacing the pressure washers with a bottle of generic Snuggle. Seriously. 

No comments:

Kramer Boys

Kramer Boys