My mom bought me a slow cooker about ten years ago. I used it once—ten years ago. But last weekend I dug it out from the way, way back of my kitchen cupboards because I’d decided to make pulled pork. Why pulled pork? Because the Beast cleaned the washroom without being told—the tub and everything—and when I told him that I’d make him anything he wanted, he requested crab cakes topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. So I made pulled pork.
I googled, “best pulled pork” and settled on a supposed Texan recipe that was less BBQ sauce based and more vinegar & spice based. I couldn’t do the actual pulling of the pork when it was done: I was traumatized over how flesh-like it. So while the Beast pulled, I prepared my Aunt Sandy’s cabbage salad, affectionately known as “lines” and buttered a warm baguette.
We customized our plates: the Beast made little sandwiches while I ate my cabbage salad and pork ala cart in some bites and then on the baguette in other bites.
Plus I made him dessert–one of our favourites. It’s a recipe for a pseudo key-lime pie from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. Now usually when I see a recipe that calls for sweetened condensed milk, I think church bake sale. But I’ve brought this sweet delight to all sorts of events and everybody always asks for the recipe. The hardest part is zesting four limes. But the smell of that labour makes me so happy.
Then you just mix in a can of sweetened condensed milk (splurge on Eagle Brand), a bit of whipped cream and beat that up for a few minutes and pour it into a graham cracker crust. I made my own and added a bit of cocoa to it. But it would be just lovely in a store-bought shell.
I don’t think a meal has ever gone over so well with the Beast. He kept telling me how good everything was. I felt like a star. A real star. What’s more, is that the singular pork butt lasted three meals. This is great for a working woman, especially one that put in about 70 hours last week.
This also warranted me a genuine sleep-in on Saturday morning. And boy oh boy, did I sleep in–until 1:30pm! After coffee and papers, it was about 3:00pm and we were both starving. So the Beast and I headed out to find brunch at the time when all the brunch places are closing. Luckily, Easy, at the corner of Queen and Roncesvalles, was open until 5:00pm.
Foodie: Remember when we came here before?
Beast: Yes and it wasn’t very good.
Foodie: But that was years ago. Maybe we just ordered the wrong things. I’m getting the huevos dish.
Beast: I’m getting the breakfast burrito.
But as soon as he saw my breakfast, the Beast regretted his choice.
Foodie: This is really good. How’s yours?
Beast: It’s okay.
Foodie: I’m a little shocked you ordered it.
Foodie: Because of the whole wheat tortilla wrap.
Beast: That’s the worst part.
Easy was a hit, at least in my books, except for the potatoes: they looked like a million bucks but fell flat on flavour.
From there we went on a big long walk, first to the Good Will so the Beast could look for records, and then to the Dufferin Mall (Mom, the Dufferin Mall is sort of a funny place–it can be a bit sad and scary but also fun because there’s a Wall-Mart, an H&M and a Winners) to try to get our remote control for the Bell Express thing fixed. It was crowded and hot. Just when we were about to leave, the Beast got himself a whiff of Cinnabon–the leading cinnamon roll retailer in the world!
Beast: Hold up there. Let’s get us some Cinnabons for later tonight!
Foodie: Are you kidding? You know Cindy at work told me those things have nearly 25 grams of fat in them–that’s more fat than one person should consume in a day!
Beast: But they’re delicious.
Foodie: Do you want to split one?
Beast: Are you joking?
So we got two Cinnabons to heat up at home. First though, we had more Saturday night activities to do: next up was the Value Village at Bloor and Lansdowne. I used to frequent Double Vs quite often when I was younger. Sadly, these used goods emporiums have lost some of their charm. Maybe it’s just Toronto locations. What I mean is that Value Villages in smaller cities can be bright, lovely places where one can score, say, a vintage Dior handbag or good pair of worn in Levi’s. I think the ones in Toronto tend to be sadder affairs, although I hear testimony from many friends who’ve found incredible things on their thrifting hunts.
Well the Beast certainly wasn’t sad–he was having the time of his life. I turned my back for two seconds and he was nowhere to be found. When he did resurface, his arms had clothing–most of it questionable–hanging from them.
Foodie: What have you got there?
Beast: So much good stuff! Do you like this yellow blazer?
Foodie: No, not at all.
Beast: It’s great! And look at this sweater!
Foodie: It’s got a mock turtleneck! Slow down now. What’s going on here?
I know the Beast, and I strongly suspected he was picking out particular clothes in order to adapt some sort of persona. I do it too. Maybe one day I want to dress like Mary Tyler Moore, or Laura Ingalls, or an old-fashioned newspaper delivery boy. Value Village helps me realize these fashion fantasies for only a few dollars.
Beast: Well, I’d like to start dressing like a jazz musician.
Foodie: Excuse me?
Beast: You know, like Keith Jarrett in his prime, or Ornette Coleman.
He ended up buying the electric blue mock turtleneck and the shiny grey blazer. I didn’t get anything. In fact, I didn’t feel so great once we started walking home.
Beast: You’re so quiet. What’s wrong?
Foodie: Oh nothing.
Beast: Is it because I want to dress like a jazz musician?
Beast: Then what is it? Something’s wrong. I don’t know how to deal with this–with you being sad. This is just wrong.
Foodie: I think I had too much sad time culture today. It was just an overload of shit.
Beast: Value Village? It wasn’t that bad!
Foodie: No, it wasn’t, but us sleeping in until after noon, and then the Good Will and the Dufferin mall and the Cinnabons and then the Value Village: all that together on a Saturday night just makes me feel terrible. And I started using a slow cooker. Is that okay do you think? Does that symbolize my state? Just slow-cooking beans and pot roasts all day long. What am I doing with my life?
Beast: You ‘re doing great things!
And the Beast pep-talked me out of my funk all the way home. Then we got into jogging suits and watched TV.
Beast: Do you want me to heat up the Cinnabons?
Foodie: Yes, yes I do.
Pulled Pork dinner: Foodie **1/2 Beast ***1/2
Easy: Foodie *** Beast *1/2
Cinnabon: Foodie: *1/2 Beast ***