The Answer To Life’s Problems
“Everybody’s Got Problems”. This is one of those little quotations that remains as true today as when it was first uttered. Haven’t we all searched for that thing – you know, that one thing that makes everything better? Well I have found it.
“When the going gets tough the tough get going.” That’s another one. This one is less of a truism, because sometimes even the tough get overwhelmed.
There are those who turn to alcohol or drugs or other kinds of destructive behavior. There are those who dive into their hobbies. Others who pack up and leave, moving to some new place where there are (as yet) no problems and where they can start over. Or try to.
But I have come up with an entirely different approach. I tried it out last week and I am happy to report that it worked wonders. What is it you ask?
Yes, pot roast. Mrs. JPC had pulled a piece of meat out of the freezer and we discussed how we could put it to use. OK, eating it was a given, so the topic was restricted to how it should be cooked.
The winning entry was pot roast. We had everything on hand: carrots, potatoes, onions, and the all important Crock Pot.
We commenced on a team effort. The Mrs. peeled the vegetables the night before. Me being the early riser, I put everything into the big pot and turned it on before leaving for work.
It was a long day. There were many stresses incurred and deadlines to meet. I am engaged in a death struggle with one of my software providers which is going to end with me having to learn a new system and spend time on a changeover. Do those ever go well?
I did not leave until later than normal and made the short drive home in the cold, blustery weather. I parked in the driveway and walked up to the front door, unlocking it. And then . . .
Pot roast. Yup, the moment I got the door open I got a blast in the face of the wonderful aroma of, well, home. Suddenly everything was right with the world and I had not one single problem.
There is something therapeutic about a steamy kitchen on a cold day, one filled with the aroma of cooking beef and root vegetables. It did not hurt at all that I was hungry and ready for my stressful day to be over.
Food goes through cycles and I have lived through many of them. Fads, really. There was fondue in the 1960s and stir fry in the 80s. And then there are the many take-out options. From old standbys like pizza and fried chicken to Thai, sushi and who knows what else. OK, I am kidding about the sushi because I have enough trouble with cooked fish that raw fish is a complete no-go.
None of these other kinds of vittles satisfies me the way a good old fashioned simple American dish can. Pot roast.
The sense of serenity and security that comes from a simple but well prepared hot meal on a cold day is difficult to beat.
In addition to the food itself, it signified other things. A home to go to, and someone there to greet me and share the evening with, in a sort of fortress against the stresses of the outside world. Two of us sharing a hot, home-prepared meal and each other’s company was a wonderful way for the day to end.
I make no warranty as to how long this method of solving all problems lasts. It pretty well handled things for that evening, and things returned to a pre-pot roast condition the next morning. Oh well, I didn’t expect it to be a permanent fix. Drugs and alcohol are temporary too and leave you so much worse off the next day. At least from what I have been told.
So . . . pot roast. I think I’m ready for another hit.
Photo credit: Because I was too hungry and impatient to start dinner, I had to resort to a picture of somebody else’s pot roast. The choice was this one, found at the Jason Lam Flickr page, under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license. It looks like it was delicious too.
Suddenly for whatever reason there is now the smell of pot roast wafting through an otherwise quiet house.
For curing the ills in life, perhaps we all need more pot roast. It was relaxing just hearing about this one.
The best thing is that almost everything I have described can be easily reproduced in the comfort of your own home.
Pot roast does not occur in our home, I have happy Grandma memories of pot roast but Mrs DougD is permanently scarred from too many dry overcooked pot roasts growing up.
Chili is our problem solver. Also you can put it on hot dogs for your next meal, not sure that would work with pot roast.
Chili was the choice at the JPC house last night, in fact. The effect was similar.
I am no stranger to recoiling from dry, overcooked meat. I got a lot of that as a kid. Mrs JPC was the one who got me over my youthful pot roast aversion by proving that a moist and tender version was possible.
I don’t remember pot roast as a kid, though we frequently had stew … knowing my mom, I suspect that stew meat is a lot cheaper. Being retired now, while my wife still works, means I am always the grocery shopper and usually the cook in our household. I don’t think I’ve ever made either pot roast or stew. I do love the smell of slow-cooking meat, but somehow associate those foods with meat that is at once both soggy and chewy, and flavorless vegetables that melt in your mouth. I’m mostly a stir-fry or sautė guy, with an occasional roast chicken. Chili’s or curries are my slow-cooked meals. But maybe it’s time for a little change in the diet.
It’s all about variety. And perhaps there is something regional going on too. And there’s nothing wrong with a good stir fry.
Deciding immediately to eat the pot roast without considering any other alternatives suggests a lack of imagination, JP — but your description of the aroma when you came home says you made the right choice. All joking aside, isn’t it surprising how comforting and deeply symbolic a big pot of home cooking can be? And how wonderful that you appreciate it, on all levels.
I may lack imagination, but then again, by avoiding the question “isn’t there something else for dinner?” I also lack bruises. 😊
There is something about cold weather that makes those hot home-cooked meals all the more satisfying.
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HAHA! You are wise to remain as bruise-free as possible, JP. And I agree with you wholeheartedly about these home-cooked meals being 120% more satisfying in the winter. That, and a warm house. 🙂
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If you ever want to try a same/different taste sensation, put a pork tenderloin with cream of mushroom soup (or any cream soup) and some chicken stock with the same veggies you mentioned. Awesome!! It is tender and filling and amazing!!
Ooh, sounds good! It is hard to go wrong with a nice tenderloin in the crock pot.
I was going to say “it’s not the pot roast,” but you covered all the other things I was going to mention: family, home, and teamwork.
All true, but the pot roast tastes better than the rest of the other stuff. 😊
Another vote for stew here, although our version looks pretty much just like that pot roast, only the pieces are already bite sized. Is that efficient, or just lazy? Also, thanks to Doug, now I’m thinking about chilli dogs.
But not stew dogs? 🤔
Carrots, potatoes & hot dog pieces in a sub bun?
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I am all for roast beef, any time. For a different treat, often my wife will prepare spaghetti sauce which involves garlic, sausage, beef meatballs, and other flavourings. Throw on some pasta and I am ready to dig in!
Oooh, both sausage and meatballs. I usually have trouble deciding between the two but your Mrs has solved that dilemma. Sounds delicious!
BTW I saw your letter inCollectible Auto. Youre getting published everywhere!
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Oh, I had not seen that yet. Thanks for the heads up