06 January 2011

Sunday Pot Roast = Thursday Hash

Back in the day, as the current cliche goes, people were less cavalier about food and waste.  Here's an example of what I'm talking about.  At least once a month, when I was growing up, pot roast was the Sunday meal...Sundays we didn't call it lunch, dinner or supper..it was the "meal".  Mom would load a huge roast into a roaster, load it with potatos, carrots, celery, and seasoning and spices known only to her, and let it cook at least half a day, occasionally adding a bit of water to keep things from drying out.

That roast and those vegetables along with gravy made from the roast's drippings and home made yeast rolls,  green onions in a water glass, and radishes on a saucer, all washed down with sugar sweetened iced-tea were "the meal".  But, as delicious as it was, that was mere prelude.

By Tuesday, that pot roast and vegetables would show up for supper as a meat pie; steaming, savory and rich, made from the pot roast and vegetables leftovers and freshly made-from-scratch pie dough.  Oh, but that was not the end of the pot roast.  Uh huh, not by a long shot.  My mom must have bought a full haunch of steer for the Sunday meal, because come Thursday, it would make its curtain call as hash.  And such hash it was: that left over roast would be ground up on a manual meat grinder, which was screwed down on the table edge, and transformed from a sweetly rich meat to a spicy and mouth watering mixture heated on the stove top with small chucks of diced portato and onion and served over freshly toasted bread.

See what I mean?  We had no garbage disposal system and nary an iota of that roast and its trimmings ever found their way into a garbage pail...and I don't remember that we ever thought of them as leftovers. 

Yep, a pot roast was always good for three meals and at least one school lunch sack with a thick cold roast beef sandwich slathered with tangy German mustard.

And, on roast beef Sundays, it was de riguer' that dessert be pineapple upside down cake.  Now, most such cakes are heavy sodden lumps of dough and sweetness, but not my mom's.  Somehow she managed that the cake it self be light and fluffy with the pinapple and topping complimenting rather than overpowering it.  My older brother and I knew our mom was the best cook in the world and when he got married he belaboured his poor bride with imprecations that she get recipes and learn from his mom how to cook.

Shortly after their honeymoon, they came for Sunday pot roast and after dessert and coffee my brother began boasting of how his mom made everything from scratch and that was the only way he could stand pineapple upside down cake, and that today's may had been the best ever.  Our mom just smiled and said nothing.

Shortly after clearing the table and putting things away, mom called the new bride over and with a wink and a smile  led her on the back porch which the trash can was kept, lifted its cover, and showed her, without a word, where she had thrown the Duncan Hines cake mix box.


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