Trains and Chops
Jun. 30, 2012 11:35 am
Updated: Jul. 5, 2012 6:16 am
I did something last night that I've never done before. What was that you might ask, but first I sort of need to do some preamble.
In my bio, I believe I referred to a moment in my life when I transistioned from being an interested cook to being an avowed foodie. That moment came for me when one fine weekend, my friends and I, tired of partying in our small town, whimisically boarded a
passenger train headed east and travelled 150 miles into the Rockies to spend a weekend partying in another small town. The town, the partying, the friends, I remember little to nothing about them. I was 21 or so and the thing that remains from that train
trip was a steak I ordered in the dining car. A strip loin that the porter convinced me to order no more well done than medium, doused in Bernaise sauce. I sat with an older couple who were travelling across Canada and I think they were amused by my absolute
groans of ecstacy as I inhaled that delectable beef.
It was a banner moment, a transition, almost a paradigm shift. That food could be so utterly delicious. It wasn't like I'd spent my life eating Fruit Loops, I was pretty much like everyone I knew, I ate hamburgers and pizza and stews and soups and sandwiches
and spaghetti etc.. but I'd never dreamed that something I'd had a hundred times, a steak, could be so bloody good.
To that day at age 21, I hadn't spent a lot of time eating steaks. Hmm I ate lots when I was at home, my Dad loved steak but insisted that they were cooked black. For years I thought 'blackened' steak was that horribly overcooked shoe leather that my Mom used
to make for my Dad and I oft wondered why anybody in their right mind would actually write out a recipe for it. I mean, place steak in frying pan, cook til crisp. Yuck. So from age 16 when I left home to that day on the train, I simply hadn't eaten any steak.
The only steak I'd ever had was consistently awful.
So why did I order it that day on the train? I don't really know, more whimsy I suppose and then as in many times throughout my life thus far, being whimsical worked out very well indeed. It begat a stand in the kitchen. I started cooking outside the box. I
bought a wee cookbook called Gourmet recipes and I used to pour over those pictures longing to make them but I never did, feeling they were too far beyond my abilities.I started going to restaurants with cloth napkins, which still to this day tells me I'm
in a posh eatery and over time my cooking started to reflect what I tasted outside my house. I became a feeder, my friends would all come over, they'd bring their beer and pot, and I'd do the cooking. (and yes, I inhaled a great deal) I'd go to a great restaurant
and then I'd come home and teach myself how to make what I'd had or I'd think of something I liked, like lasagna and just make the thing using whatever I had, no recipes, noodles sauce and cheese.
By the time I was 29 I darn well knew my way around the kitchen. I'd made chinese food, desserts galore etc...nothing scared me. So fast foreward 20 more years and here I am and my cooking has gotten pretty good. I so rarely make something bad that when I do,
I have to blog about it and try to explain why in hell I made what I did. So now we come back to the beginning of this blog and what I made last night. I was feeling particularly lazy last night so I bought 5 pork chops and 2 cans of mushroom soup. I know
I've seen a million recipes using these particular ingredients and I'd never pulled the trigger on making it. I got home, dialled up AR and poof, right there, ingredients pork chops and mushroom soup. I finally made that recipe and?
It was so freaking pedestrian, I'm still shaking my head. What was I thinking? I got exactly what I made. The black beans and rice that I served with it was great, as was the early corn, but the chops and soup, meh. I should add, they weren't bad, just not
great and I've kind of gotten used to the latter.
I think it goes with my newly aquired penchant for buying up the works of authors whose books I've somehow missed, like Ken Grimwood and G.M. Ford. Old stuff that I missed, like Mushroom soup Pork Chops lol. Next thing you know I'll be making cheesecake with