Help me feed my family
Q: What is the earliest example of pornographic dialog in a television show? A: "Ward, don't you think you were a little rough on the Beaver last night?" That one tickles me every time.
***I grew up in the 60s and 70s, in a superficially traditional Leave it to Beaver-oid nuclear family. Our neighborhood brimmed with other Beaveroid households. Our dads worked traditional jobs, and our moms were housewives who fixed Coca Cola ham on Sundays and proto-Hamburger Helper dishes on weekdays. Tuna casserole wasn't the punch line of a bad joke; it was dinner. Steak used to make me cringe. To each steak, my mother applied a culinary shoe polish known as Kitchen Bouquet. Then she would lovingly cook every last drop of moisture from the meat. Blood carried disease, so God forbid the steak be slightly pink inside. Too dry? Here's some A1 Steak Sauce. I found a number of creative ways to deal with this trauma. Our chihuahuas were quite handy. I also discovered that a well chewed bolus of meat would stick to the undersurface of the dining room table until long after dinner. While my mother washed up, I would return in secret, retrieve the evidence of my crime, and feed it to the dogs, or flush it down the toilet. At age 16, I took a job washing dishes at Sizzler. Our meals were free. I hung out with the other dishwashers and the cooks, none of whom spoke a lick of English. They were cool guys who, every pay day, would invite me to go whoring with them in downtown LA. (NO, there's no story there. I was hitched to GFv1.0 at the time.) Anyway, one day one of the cooks noticed that I only ever ate salads and hamburgers. He asked me why I never ate any prime rib. They ate prime rib every single night. It's good, man. Try some! Oh. My. God. Was it ever good. I couldn't believe that this was even distantly related to "steak". Yes, that's how underprivileged I was: Sizzler tasted like ambrosia. (Beth: in case you're wondering why I didn't become a vegetarian, some day I'll tell you what my mother did to vegetables.)
***Ribs for dinner tonight. Okay, I admit it. This week I'm hung up on dogs with things in their mouths. I do the shopping and cooking in my family. I'm good at it (cooking, I mean), I enjoy it (usually), and I now have a kick-ass kitchen (or it will be, once we have floors and countertops), so I shouldn't complain, right? But I had a full day in the O.R. today. Then I had to do the shopping and run a few other errands, and so by the time I got home, I was tired. Fatigue takes all the pleasure out of cooking. Fatigue also taxes the culinary muse. Some days, I can't f%*^ing think of what to make. And that's where you, faithful reader, can help me. Point me to your favorite EASY recipes. All I ask is that the recipe be easy and good. I'll pony up my Easy Ribs recipe to get things started. By the way: I'm a bright guy, and I don't need a recipe spelled out. Rough ideas, that's what I need. Incidentally, tired and everything, I still made ribs, steamed broccoli, and corn bread (with blue corn meal, just to be different). So don't go thinking I'm starving my wife and son.
Easy RibsPour about six cups of water into a Dutch oven (or other heavy-bottomed pot) and bring to a boil. Add a heaping tablespoon of salt, a heaping tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning, a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, two bay leaves, freshly ground black pepper, and just about any other spice that strikes your fancy. Tonight, I added cumin seed, sliced ginger, two garlic cloves, and coriander seed. Cut pork ribs (bone in) into 3- to 4-inch pieces and add to the broth. Simmer for an hour. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a foil-lined casserole dish and pour your favorite barbecue sauce on top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for twenty to thirty minutes. Make sure you really pour the sauce on; otherwise, the meat may not stay moist as it bakes. By the way, if you do a good job balancing the spices in the broth, you'll have yourself a fine soup. Play with it. Mexican variation: include onion, celery, and carrots in the broth. After boiling for an hour, separate meat from the bone and add the meat back to the broth. Adjust the seasoning with lime juice. Add chopped fresh cilantro. I never liked overcooked soup vegetables, so I add my vegies perhaps 40 minutes into the simmering time. If you're the kind of person who likes exact measurements, sorry. I cook by pinches and palmfuls. If you're uncertain how to proceed, taste the broth before you add the raw meat. As long as it isn't too salty or too bland, you'll have a great soup at the end. D.