Food: What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch? Or maybe you could write a poem about that time you met a friend at a café.
“Food – Delicious through Beat, Beets”
I am a big man. 6 feet tall, and currently about 250 pounds, though I have been over 300 pounds, I usually top out at about 275 pounds, then work to reduce.
Food and I have a somewhat unhealthy relationship – primarily unhealthy in portion size or number of portions, over quality of food, but, there is too much take-out and processed food in my diet, as well, than there should be.
Mornings are fine. Most days start with a mixture of a half a cup of old fashioned oats and a quarter cup of ground golden flax meal, combined with just enough water that it shakes when wiggled, and then microwaved for 2 minutes. Once the microwave announces it is done, I mix in a tablespoon of ground cinnamon, then add a handful of blueberries on top, and just enough milk that I can see it, and I mix it all together. I find it delicious, heart healthy, and an excellent start to my day. Others cringe. Each to their own.
Regarding heart healthy, I was told 4 years ago this October that I had at least 2 clogged arteries to my heart, and possibly all 4. Scary stuff. A surgery date for implanting stents was set up, I arrived, discussed these same numbers with my cardiologist, and was put under.
I awoke to my doctor and mother-in-law standing next to me – my wife was in a graduate school exam, but on her way. I asked, “so, tell me what you found.” The doctor said, “nothing. Your heart is fine, it must have been shadows on the images. You can get dressed and go home.” I laughed, my mother-in-law was relieved, and my wife, when she arrived a few minutes later was deeply puzzled. Oh well, it is what it is.
Lunch for me is a throw away meal. During the week, it is either nothing, or leftovers, or occasionally food from the cafeteria where I work. Leftovers are usually the healthiest of the options. Weekends it is often nothing.
Dinner is the highlight of the eating day. I went to culinary school, and am a decent cook. My wife is a natural cook of extraordinary quality.
When we aren’t lazy or exhausted at the end of the day, we cook. A recent go to, has been forgoing smoking a pork shoulder (the air quality from the fires up north have dragged the AQI to dangerous levels) for doing it slowly in the oven. It won’t win any competitions, but it is easy and tasty.
I use a bone in Pork Shoulder. The night before I slather it in cheap yellow mustard, and let it sit open, on a bowl, in the fridge overnight. The dryness of the air in the fridge, helps the meat absorb the moisture of the mustard.
In the morning, I get out an 8” deep, full size hotel pan, and fit it with a matching rack, and add three or four bottles of beer, poured into the bottom of the pan, being careful to keep the liquid below the rack, and preheat the oven to 190 degrees. At this point I remove the pork shoulder from the fridge, and place it on a large cutting board. Usually I have my own secret rub, passed down from my father, but I’m out, and I haven’t taken the time to make more.
So, I have recently gone back to my commercial cooking roots, and mixed up Montreal Steak Seasoning and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, about 2:1, respectively. I then rub it all over the meat, and then place the meat in the pan, on the rack, fat cap up, so as it melts it moisturizes. Once the meat is in the pan, I then banquet wrap it in plastic (see this for the concept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykrb9qPhMwo) and then cover the plastic with foil, crimped tightly, and put in the oven.
Let the pork shoulder cook a good 10 hours at least. When you are ready, turn the oven off, carefully remove the pan to the stovetop, remove the foil and plastic wrap, and admire your handiwork.
I then, using tongs, remove the meat to a casserole, or large bowl. Be careful, as the meat will fall apart. Once you have it in your new vessel, use two large forks to shred the meat, and pour a bottle of inexpensive (you can use expensive if you want, or homemade, but I save those for the fully smoked product) tangy BBQ sauce over the top of the shredded meat, and mix it in, well.
Now you have a choice – both of which involve coleslaw. Traditionally, pulled pork is piled on a white hamburger bun, topped with coleslaw, and additional sauce. Simple and delicious. Or, you can bust out a cast iron skillet or griddle, and add a little oil, and then crisp up the meat over medium high heat, and serve it on corn tortillas, with coleslaw, hot sauces, guacamole and/or salsa. This makes delicious and simple street Carnitas Tacos.
My preference has become the street taco, which is a little off for an old white guy raised on his father’s Texas BBQ roots. I do still love a pulled pork sandwich, but the crispy carnitas is where my heart is, right now.
In short, I love food, and will try anything, at least once. The only thing I have not enjoyed in the culinary world, are beets. Roasted meal worms are delicious, compared to beets.
“Wild, Not Farmed”
I want to tell you how excited I was to buy you fresh salmon.
How I practically skipped up to the counter, How smoothly the knife slid through, How tenderly I carried each filet, How precious each was wrapped in its paper.
How I felt I had conquered a world
Or a heart.
How somehow it had all slipped away or frozen over Or both.
How somehow I was tumbling down a hill,
How I melted into dusk.
How I stared across the land where I know a river turns.
How I gazed at the hospital where you work and wondered:
Will it always be like this?
And what is “always.”
And what is “like this.”
I wanted to tell you how it would have tasted:
The garlic and Sriracha,
The freshly squeezed lime.
But I cannot write.
My mind is wordless —
And I am?