Give Me Forty Acres and a Magic Wand, and I’ll Turn This Meal Around

On Easter Sunday, while we were sitting like loaves of Wonder Bread on Hubs’ parents’ leather sofa, trying to recover from all the goodness we’d eaten with gusto and a mild sprinkling of good table manners, I picked up a glossy cooking magazine and began to thumb through it.

I know!

Me! Reading a cooking magazine!  It was almost like Nicole Richie picking up a monthly periodical on automotive repair and proclaiming, “Yes.  Yes, I think I could do this.  Surely putting your own lift kit on a 1992 GMC truck isn’t THAT difficult!”

(I bring shame to my name by even typing those words and admitting that I may actually know what a lift kit is.   In this part of the United States, the trucks are tall, the Jeeps rattle and clank, and the fjords are crossed with great success.  I’m also told that if your windshield is covered with three inches of mud, except where you ran the wipers, when you come back to town, you’re instantly dubbed as the Village Hero, and you must wait a duration of nine days before you take your truck to the car wash, because everyone will want to see that mud, and admire that mud, and proclaim you the best four-by-fourer in existence.)

In all honesty, Hubs’ mama’s magazines on home decor and all things re-purposed were on the complete opposite side of the living room, and what part about I HAD JUST EATEN EASTER DINNER AND DIDN’T WANT TO MOVE did you not understand?  The cooking magazine was what was close, so it’s what I picked up.

And then, people, listen to this.  I actually asked Hubs’ mama if I could bring the magazine home, because I had come across a very interesting recipe called Grilled Mac and Cheese and Pulled Pork Sandwich. And THAT may have been just the rocket fuel my creativity in the kitchen was seeking, because Kraft Macaroni and Cheese had just been taken to the next level.  The INTERMEDIATE LEVEL, if you will.  I showed the recipe and the brilliantly-glossy, accompanying photo to the boy, who asked, “Is that macaroni on that sandwich?”  I think, people, we had a clear Dinner Winner in his book.

I brought the magazine home with a whole lot of good intentions.  Unfortunately, Very Interesting Recipe does not always translate into “Let Me Just Throw My White Chef Hat on, Sharpen My Knives, Get Out My Thyme and Rosemary, Roast Twelve Heads of Garlic, and Throw This Thing Together Tonight.”

After really reading the recipe at home (as opposed to just looking at the recipe’s picture on the comfort of Hubs’ mama’s leather sofa while I listened to seven kids ask, “But can’t we just have TWO MORE Kit Kats out of our Easter baskets?”), I discovered that the other  ingredient was Pulled Pork, which you obviously had to marinate and simmer for nineteen hours the day before, and if THAT doesn’t swirl up visions of WOW!  THAT’S A LOT OF WORK!, I don’t know what does.

And that, people, is the exact reason why we just ate the macaroni and cheese from the box for dinner that evening, and did away with the grilled bread and slices of sharp cheddar cheese and spiced mayonnaise and the blasted pork.

Hubs, however, managed to find a recipe entitled Caramel Mocha Cake with Espresso Powder and Cream Frosting which he proclaimed sounded like something that would be served on the buffet lines in Heaven.  Don’t you even start to think I don’t know WHY it’ll be served there.  Anyone who can turn jugs of water into wine can certainly look at a bag of bleached, all-purpose, Gold Medal flour and say, “Let there be cake!” and the cake will appear.  If I had such talent, I’d bake all the time.

Thankfully, I’ve sort of wiggled my way out of cooking these past few weeks, because of the miracle that is our Traeger Grill, and the small fact that I always hold a hand to my forehead and proclaim like I was Scarlet O’Hara on a balcony in the deep South, “But I don’t know how to use it,” whenever dinner needs to happen.  Sometimes there is a certain level of bliss that comes with the state of being uneducated.

In addition to once having been the Village Hero with three inches of mud caked on his windshield and a handyman jack which saw some action when he got himself stuck, Hubs is also our Dinner Champion.  All I have to do is keep the refrigerator stocked with hunks of wild game (chicken breasts, fillets, wildebeest roasts), and Hubs will do the rest.  Basically, for the last month, all I’ve done to prepare for dinner is march myself into our friend Rob’s grocery store every afternoon, and tell him, “Rob, I need something on a Styrofoam tray that has been wrapped with Saran Wrap.”  After that, I rip open a bag of already-prepared salad, throw some broccoli in the microwave to steam in its own plastic bag (BPA be danged!), and set out the Wonder Bread and tub of butter.

And then Hubs works his magic with the meat and the grill, and listen, y’all.  Hubs and that Traeger of his are just one step away from having their own show on the Food Network and gaining themselves something of a celebrity status which can be followed on Twitter.  Hubs, the Computer Whisperer, CAN STINKING GRILL SOME DINNER!  He has a process to it, too.  It’s all about the marinade first and the remote controlled meat thermometer second, which he packs around on the waistband of his Carhartts, as he shouts out, “We’re at 120!  Whoa!  141!  It won’t be long now!  ONE-FIFTY-THREE-EE-EE!!!” And then he usually snaps his grilling tongs in the air for emphasis, while he cranks up “Give Me Forty Acres” on his iPad 2.

(“Give Me Forty Acres,” which is an old trucking song.  It goes without saying that it is one of my UN-favorites.  For the record, any song which can be sung in the cab of a semi truck while you have a CB in your right hand and a bag of sunflower seeds and a bobble-head doll of a girl in a hoola skirt who shakes her plastic hips and her grass dress every time you hit a pothole sitting on the dash is one of my UN-favorites.)

No matter.

Today I saw an advertisement for something which could revolutionize our lives and let us use the iPad 2 for something OTHER THAN bad songs about trucks and beer and car chases with the local sheriff.

The iGrill, people.

As far as I know, Hubs doesn’t know that it even exists, because of NEW, NEW, NEW!  Very, very new!  Hubs barely pays attention to ads for new things, because he is usually entirely too busy watching You Tube videos on guys flying over the Grand Canyon with homemade jet packs and declaring, “Oh, man!  THAT is cool!  But I think Brother Joel and I could make one even better!”

The iGrill, people, is a Bluetooth-enabled thermometer that STINKING PINGS YOUR iPAD the very moment your steak reaches the perfect temperature outside on your grill.

So really?

If the thing can interrupt “Give Me Forty Acres” with the sound of bell chimes that lets me know the pork roast is ready, I may be able to pull the Grilled Mac and Cheese and Pulled Pork Sandwich off this time.

With the grilled bread in place.

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