Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beef Stew, Tragedy & One Dumbassdog

I live in a part of the world that’s mossy and green, slicked in mud and dampened by an almost constant drizzle from October through June. Our rainfall is the stuff of legend, and this past winter has more than matched the region’s reputation. Even for here, it’s been uncommonly cold and drizzly.

So this morning, I set out to make myself a simmering pot of pure comfort food: beef stew full of tender meat, onions and potatoes. As I’ve mentioned before, I'm not much of a cook, but through the power of Google and a back-of-the-cabinet dusty old crock-pot, even I can make something that smells and tastes like a big warm culinary hug.

By three o’clock, the house smelled savory and delicious. I couldn’t wait until dinnertime. By five o’clock, the boys were asking if they could just have a bite of a carrot. By seven o’clock, though, the potatoes were still rock hard even though the pot had been simmering away on high for almost seven hours (the recipe said 5-8 hours, I swear!). By seven-twenty the natives were about ready to throw me in a pot to stew for dinner. So I punted.

The stew continued to cook while I whipped up a quick substitute meal of pasta for my hungry family. Just before bedtime, I gave the potatoes one last jab and realized they were finally about ready. It was time to let the feast cool so that we could eat it tomorrow—technically left-over, but maybe even better for the wait. But first I decided that I deserved a little tiny serving while it was still fresh. I mean, it smelled so good.

I pulled a small glass bowl out of the cupboard, not realizing its twin had grabbed on for good measure. As I stood watching in disbelief, the lower bowl fell and shattered against the side of the container I’d put the stew in to cool.

So now my stew had steaming chunks of long-simmered beef, tender carrots, onions and potatoes… and about 5000 shards of shattered glass.

Gah! Maybe the universe is telling me that I should stick to spaghetti.

I put the whole ruined mess in the laundry room sink to cool overnight so I could throw it away in the morning. I didn't want to wait up for it to cool, and I was sure that if I left it in the kitchen, our beloved dog would find his way onto the counter to feast on beef stew and broken glass. (He totally would.)

While I was securing the glass-infused death stew (conscientious dog mama that I am), that same beloved dog found his way into the boys’ playroom, which I have just reorganized and am in the process of painting. He proceeded to shred a huge bag of garbage, dragging nasty boy-cave detritus all over the area I have been so busily trying to renew. When I took him downstairs to put him outside while we cleaned up the garbage, he peed in a line all the way across the kitchen floor. That dog knew he was busted, and he was trying to tell me I was the boss. Gee, thanks, Dumbassdog.

So my evening ended up with a big pan of glass-filled stew, a huge shredded plastic bag of garbage, and a long swath of pee. 

Tomorrow has to be better, right?

Yes, that's a glass iceberg, right there in the middle.