I don’t normally turn to the fashion magazine Flare for recipes, but then I stumbled upon Leanne Shapton’s column in the May issue dedicated to meat pies.
Meat pies have been on our minds as of late: Not too long ago, the Beast brought home a steak and mushroom pie from Epi bakery, which is around the corner from where he works. It was $18 and quite good. After you factor in preparation, labour and top notch ingredients, we reasoned that the price tag was probably pretty reasonable.
Still, the Beast wanted to make his own. So on a recent day off, without consulting me about a recipe, he went to No Frills. They didn’t have stewing beef. But they did have beef on the bone that looks like ass and death and fat and sick. So he bought a kilo of that for about 85 cents.
When I got home from work, he seemed concerned with the progress of his meat pie filling.
Beast: It’s not thickening.
Foodie: That doesn’t smell very good. What recipe did you use?
Beast: Emeril Lagasse’s.
Foodie (examining the meat in the pot): Wait what the fuck is that? It looks like human knuckles were chopped up in there! Where did you get this?
Beast: From No Frills. The butcher told me it was just like stewing beef and the meat would just fall off the bone.
Foodie: It doesn’t look like it. [Sticking fork into a knuckle bone] And the beef is not falling off the bone. Wait. I’m sorry. I’m not being very supportive. I’m just happy you’re making dinner. I’m sure it’s going to be delicious.
Beast: But this shit’s been braising for six hours!
Beast: I’m throwing it out. Let’s get pizza.
Not to brag, but my meat pie came out perfectly. The only thing is that Flare had a small misprint: they said the recipe made four individual pies or one large one.
It actually makes one medium-sized meat pie, or two normal person individual ones. That meant that I couldn’t make the recipe again the next day, when the Beast and I planned on bringing dinner makings home to visit my mom and her partner Russ. We needed dinner for four.
Instead, I picked up the makings for an a fagiolo salad (that’s just kidney beans, Italian tuna, tomatoes–I used cherry tomatoes–red onion, basil, olive oil and lemon all tossed up and served on mixed greens.) I also made a rhubarb crisp.
Because my mom doesn’t drive, when we visit we take her to all her favourite places, like Walmart and No Frills. And she buys enough supplies to last a family of 12 a year or two and the Beast and I put it all away for her.
The only trick is trying to balance her generosity with the Beast’s penchant for junk food. When I walk the aisles of Walmart with the two of them, I feel like a parent and they are two children.
Mom: Oh the Beast did so much work today. Let’s get him a treat.
Foodie: He doesn’t need a treat.
Beast: [grabbing bags of chips and putting them in the cart.]
Mom: Just one bag of Cheetos? Why don’t you taste-test that brand with these two other brands [putting two more bags of chips in the cart.]
Foodie: That no-name brand of Cheetos is no good. Put it back.
Mom and Beast: [Silence and sad eyes]
Foodie: Guys, I’m just saying, we don’t need 10 bags of chips in the house. What am I supposed to do with all that?
Beast: Uh well your mom is buying them FOR ME so you could JUST NOT EAT THEM?
Mom [To the Beast]: Are you out of Reese peanut butter cups? Grab a couple of those 12-packs. No, not just four. Get six of the 12-packs. That’s right. Good.
Foodie: Are you fucking kidding me? MOM!
Mom: Let’s go back to the international food aisle. I just loving learning about different foods.
Beast: Do you think they have Packies?
This is where the story gets tricky: The Beast actually thought that the imported Japanese treat of candy-coated little biscuit sticks called POCKY were called PACKIES. He wasn’t intentionally using a derogatory term. When he said it, I should have corrected him, but who has time for that when you’re in a giant Walmart grocery shopping with two kids? Five minutes or so went by. And then…
Mom [in an aisle with a family of three behind her]: Sweetie, we still need to find those Packies.
Foodie [Grabbing the Beast and my mom by the arms, forcefully and shout-whispering]: LISTEN YOU TWO THEY ARE CALLED POCKY CANDIES NOT PACKY CANDIES AND I CAN’T TAKE YOU ANYWHERE WE ARE GOING.
Luckily, I don’t think the family near by heard her, and therefore didn’t have the opportunity to conclude that we were hicks of the lowest common denominator looking for “the help” to assist us in loading up the car with cases of pop. My mom’s remorse made me feel guilty for my reaction: she was almost in tears. The Beast simply shrugged.
The antics continued in the women’s clothing department. You should know that in high school, when wearing an XXXL T-shirt overtop of tight Spandex short was fashionable for about two weeks in 1989 in St. Thomas, Ont., I–being fashionable–adopted the look. And my mom, who routinely took out the garbage to the curb wearing only an XXXL T-shirt and underwear early in the mornings–“Who’s up at this hour, anyway?”– always threatened to wear the Spandex shorts and show up in the cafeteria at lunch time to embarrass me. So what came next shouldn’t have surprised me:
Mom: Do you think these shorts go with this top?
Beast: Oh, yes! We should get matching pairs! Look at us!
Foodie: Are we just about ready to go?
After we unloaded the car, had dinner, showed my mom on her Acer laptop the difference between Explorer and Chrome, how to bookmark Facebook, Google and her “email page” and how to log into Netflix, which she’s been paying for for two years, the Beast and I drove back to Toronto. By the time I dropped off the rental car and rode my bike back home, it was near midnight.
Foodie: Hey, pour me a glass of wine, would you? I’m zonked. [Looking at the coffee table.] How many peanut butter cups have you had? Did you try to hide them in the Pocky box?
Beast: Eight, maybe nine.
Foodie: Did you seriously eat the entire box of Pocky?
Beast: Yes. Your mom BOUGHT THEM FOR ME.
Foodie: Do you know that I weighed myself this morning and I’ve lost six pounds in one week? How is that even possible? I haven’t really changed my eating habits. I guess it’s the morning runs I’ve been taking.
Foodie: Give me one of those peanut butter cups. [Eating it.]
Foodie: I think I’ll have just one more. I don’t want to get too thin, you know?
Foodie: That means I just have three more pounds to lose to get to my goal weight in two weeks. That’s almost too easy! I mean, it’s weird though: six pounds seems like a lot to lose in one week, without even really trying, and I don’t feel any different.
Beast: Did you ever consider that the scale is broken?
Foodie: As if. [Pause] C’mon! That’s a Weight Watchers-approved, digital scale from Walmart.