Post #657 Sometimes I Miss It

July 10, 2019 at 9:20 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #657 Sometimes I Miss It

Longtime readers of the blog have followed the moves Partner/Spouse and I have made around the country.  I’ve had different jobs in each of the places we’ve moved to and enjoyed them, up to a point.  Working is a pain, no matter what you’re doing.  But one of my favorite jobs was working at the grocery store in Maryland.  Just being around all that food and talking about it all day long was a blast.  I got to show off all the time!

I saw the gamut of people and their confidence about food.  One person reminded me of an old Charlie Brown cartoon where Lucy asked Linus what he was doing.  He replied, “I was going to make us some hot chocolate but I’ve changed my mind.  The box says it’s full of ingredients.”

A few weeks after I started, it got to be the Christmas rush.  I know you’ve been in the grocery store during the holidays.  You’re there far longer than you prefer to be.  All you want to do is get the heck out of there as quickly as possible with as much stuff as possible for as small a price as possible.  So imagine being there for 8-10 hours without being able to get the heck out of there.  For hours on end, I was parked in the middle of the front end keeping an eye on the lines and directing people to the shortest one possible.  It made an impact, and no one had to wait much more than fifteen minutes in any line.  Of course, the cashiers were fast.

At the same time, I would direct people to what they wanted in the store.  I’d made it my goal to memorize where to find nearly anything in the place.  I’d get the comment pretty often “How do you remember where everything is?”  And I’d reply “I don’t.  I remember where the twenty things people keep asking for are.”  They’d usually laugh and wander off.

One time during this rush, a woman rushed up to me and asked, “Where do you keep the crackers?”

“On the cracker aisle,” I said without thinking.  She looked like she was hit by a brick so I said “Aisle seven, halfway down, on the left, lower shelf.”

She smiled and said, “I was getting ready to slap you, you know.”

We both laughed and she went to get her crackers.

My supervisor went out on medical leave to have her knee replaced and when she returned she told me that she’d read my entire blog.

“You make it sound so easy!  I’m laid up; can’t stand longer than five minutes; and I’m thinking, ‘Hey, I could do that'”

One time I was cashiering and a woman put down a bundle of red Swiss Chard.  It’s not the usual kind of greens you see around that area so I asked what she was going to do with it, expecting to hear that she was going to slow cook it for hours with vinegar like most green are cooked in that area.

“I don’t know,” she said.  “I’ve never tried it before and wanted to see what it was like.  Do you know any way to cook it?”

The girl at the next register turned around and said, “You just asked the right person.”

So I told her to cut the leaf off the stalk and wash the stalk, then cut them into one inch pieces.  Over low to medium heat, heat some olive oil and fresh cut garlic until the garlic releases its aroma and put the stalk pieces into the oil.  Stir to coat and cover.  Let the stalks cook for about 7 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  While they’re cooking, use a sharp knife to remove the center vein in the leaves.  It’s the left over stalk and can be kind of tough.  Rinse the leaves and pat dry, or use a salad spinner if you have one.  When the stalks are ready, remove them from the heat, put all the leaves into the pan and cover.  Set aside for about ten minutes.  The leaves will cook using the residual heat.  Once everything is ready, stir or flip coating everything evenly with the garlic oil.  Serve warm.

She came back to tell me they were so good.

Another time, a woman had spent a pretty chunk of change on a very nice eye roast.  An eye roast, or round roast, is one that’s cut from the round part of the prime rib.  It’s very tender, but can be destroyed so easily.  So I asked how she was going to cook it.  Standard stuff, but risky.  So I asked her if she’d like a recipe for a foolproof way to get a perfectly cooked medium rare roast every single time.

“Absolutely!”

So I told her to set her oven to 450.  While it was heating, she needed to prepare any kind of seasoning rub she liked, although I found it tasted best with just kosher salt rubbed into it.  When the oven was ready, cook the roast in an open pan for 7 minutes per pound.  For her roast, that meant 35 minutes.  Then turn off the oven and do NOT open that door for three solid hours.  The residual heat would finish cooking it.  Once it was done, take it out and let it rest while the rest of the meal cooked.  Several weeks later I was describing the process to another customer and she was the next person in line.  She jumped into the conversation.

“He told me about this a while ago and now it’s the only way I cook roasts.”

So I kind of miss it.  However, I get to share things with my new coworkers.  Like the lady whose job I’m taking over.  She told me her husband didn’t like steak cooked in the oven, that there was no way to make it taste good.

“Wanna bet?” I said.

So I told her:

Heat your oven to 450 and put a cast iron pan in it.  When the oven reaches the temp, carefully take out the pan and put on the stove top, then turn off the oven.  Set the burner to medium high.  Take the steak that should be at room temp and sear it for two minutes on one side, then turn it over and sear it for another two minutes, then turn it over and sear for two minutes, then turn it over and sear it for two more minutes.  It should be a total of eight minutes, and the kitchen will get smoky.  Then put the pan in the oven for 7-8 minutes for medium rare, or a couple of minutes longer for more well done.  Bring it out and have perfectly done medium rare steaks.  I also cautioned her not to put any seasoning outside of salt on them because it would burn and become bitter and ruin the flavor of the steak.  Adding the season after the steaks were done was fine, but not before or during the cooking process.

She came back a few days later and said her husband loved the steaks.

So I’ll leave you now with one of the worst recipes I’ve ever seen.   Hope you like it as much as I did.

And feel free to share the post as often as you like.

As always,

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