Monday, July 18, 2005
Sometimes the leftovers are better than the meal.
It's true. This weekend I had a family get-together at my parents' house, which gave me access to a charcoal grill. I saw this as a golden opportunity to grill-roast the pork shoulder which has been waiting in my freezer.
But family events are tricky, and cooking for family events is trickier. I know my mother doesn't like hot spices and my sister doesn't like much of anything, and I try to please them both. I also have to remember to bring everything I need to cook out there with me, because my mother still has spices that were given to her at her wedding over forty years ago. She still thinks I can use them. (You see, my parents and I don't really see eye to eye on the whole cooking thing.) So I have a law:
Pyewacket's First Law of Cooking for Other People: It is impossible to cook transcendent food for one's family.
You can cook good food for your family, even on rare occasions great food. But transcendent food, no. Even if you start with transcendent pig.
The shoulder was rubbed with garlic, pepper, salt, celery seed and a little allspice, and roasted over a low grill for about three hours. It came out juicy and succulent. But I failed to make any sort of sauce or relish or chutney to go with it, out of a combination of feeling overwhelmed by a hectic schedule this weekend and being worried that my sister would hate anything too elaborate. So it was simple, pork and grilled potatoes and grilled corn. Good, not transcendent.
But I got the leftovers.
The sandwich above is the result. Chewy Italian bread. Pork. Grilled corn. A little of Grandmother's Sweet Pepper Relish. Homemade relish would have been better, but we're talking about a work day lunch here. Besides, I have a soft spot for Grandmother's because they used to be a little family-owned operation in my hometown of Natick, Massachusetts.* Anyway, the sandwich, which I just finished eating for lunch, was smoky, a little sweet, deeply meaty, chewy and satisfying. I might even say "transcendent."
*(They're now owned by Allied Old English, which also owns Ah-So and a few other small brands. Not exactly Coca-Cola, but not the Whipple Company of Natick, either)