Saturday, May 9, 2009

Impending Earth Mother Phase and an Ethiopian Pork Chop

My first Mother's Day is tomorrow. When I think of moms in general, I think of stereotypical crafty ladies who make kitchens smell like cinnamon and bedsheets like lavender....and then I also think of a specific blog friend out there who crafted amazing homemade decoupage frames for photos of her kids while claiming she has no talent - you know who you are (HabeshaHouse)!

Now, if anyone has no talent in the domesticity or crafty department, it's me. This is a proven fact that everyone I know would testify to under oath. I do not posess one ounce of motivation for the housewifery arts. David cooks. And most of the time cleans. I do clean, but in a grumpy, swearing under my breath kind of way. I try to be Zen about it via the following mantra: "this fucking sucks, this fucking sucks, this fucking sucks"....repeat to fade.

Since I met my husband, I've warned him about a soon-to-arrive Earth Mother phase; an involuntary "transition" where I become folksy and crafty, make and bake things, churn butter, shave sheep, do stuff that saves us money, and teaches our children strong do-it-yourself values. He has heard this warning more than once; on the night we met, when he proposed, on our wedding day, on the honeymoon, during the aftermath of the ruptured ectopic pregnancy, as he was wheeled into back surgery, when we got our referral for Misho, when we picked up Misho, when we got home with Misho, and this morning. There is a snowball's chance in Rio de Janiero that I will ever enter this phase. As I mentioned to someone earlier, the most Earth Mother thing I've done recently is shower less.

And yet, the myth continues. Sometimes, I try. I get wind in my whistle and decide to bake bread, scramble an egg, or braid my hair. Recently, I was forced to cook a pork chop. I bought this pork chop expecting David to cook it for me, per usual, however the bastard had some sort of "responsibility" at work where he had to stay late and subsequently neglect my immediate needs. So he suggested, sheepishly: "you know, you could perhaps try and cook it.....yourself." If in a worse mood, I may have told him to eff-off, however, I had some wind in the aforementioned whistle, and I said: "alright comrade, you're on." Being the man who knows me best, David proceeded to send email instructions on how to cook the pork chop; hilariously detailed instructions, clearly written for someone who had never seen a kitchen, like a feral child who just came out of the woods.

Here are these instructions for the world's review. Let me take you moment by moment through these instructions as I actually prepare and cook a pork chop. An Ethiopian pork chop no less.

Pork Chop

1. Take a small plate and spread a thin layer of flour on it it (flour is in bottom shelf of fridge)

ME AND MY THOUGHTS: This was helpful. I really had no idea where the flour was.

2. Sprinkle some salt, pepper, and whatever herb (thyme is good) or spice (berbere is good -- I would do both) you want over the flour and mix it together a little with a fork.

ME: Multiple spices - does he know who he's dealing with here?

3. Chop up a shallot (if we don't have one, just do onion -- you only need a quarter of an onion)

ME: What's a shallot?

4. Get the garlic out of the fridge and ready to go

ME: Go where?

5. Get the half and half (or whole milk) out of the fridge and ready to go

ME: Again, is there some sort of refrigerator field trip?

6. Open up some white wine, have a glass, have the bottle handy and ready to go

ME: This I can do - no need to remind me to have a glass. The garlic, half and half, wine and I will have a splendid journey together. Look how happy I am about overly detailed instruction #6...

7. Have spatula and wooden or teflon spoon next to stove and ready to go

ME: I would have put these items next to my bed so thank god David steered me to the stove.

Cooking the Chop

ME: Oh god, now we're going to cook it?

1. Put fying pan (non-stick one on the stove right now is fine) on stove and pour some olive oil in the bottom (2 count is good -- tip, "one...two" untip)

ME: Thank you for helping me pour from a bottle. This was a toughie that would have stumped me for hours. Luckily, I had already practiced with the wine. Repeatedly.

2. Turn stove on to medium high (6 or 7 should do it)

3. Pat the pork chop with a paper towel

ME: Or give it a loving hug.

4. Lay the chop on the plate of flour

5. Turn chop over and lay it on the other side -- kick up some flour onto the sides

ME: I literally kicked up the flour. S'fun.

6. Wait 30 seconds or so to make sure the oil is nice and hot -- spread it around the bottom of the pan a little with the spoon or spatula (remember -- no metal)

ME: I was using a metal wrench at first, so thank you for the safety reminder.

7. Lay the chop in the hot oil and cover pan with the grease screen (it will pop and sizzle)

ME: This earth world is so strange - things sizzle when hot. Must report back to home planet.

8. After 4 or 5 minutes flip the chop and take note of the color -- if it's a nice browning in a couple of spots, then just cook another 4 minutes on the new side; if it's a little dark, let it go a little less on the new side; if th color is not brown enough let it go a little longer on the new side and maybe put it back on the originial side for a minute or two after the new side is done (read this again, its really not as confusing as my lame instructions make it)

ME: I read it again and it's still lame.

9. After the new side is done, take chop out and put on a clean plate.

ME: I would have put it on the floor, so thank god I married this man.

10. Turn heat down to 4 or 5

11. Throw in onions or shallot -- stir around for a minute or two depending on how small they were chopped (you'll know when it's about enough when they just start to turn all shiny and translucent).

ME: I literally threw the onions in the pan and was sprayed with hot oil. Must return to #7 for review.

12. Toss in a small spoon of garlic. Stir for 30 seconds.

13. Pour in a 1/4 cup of wine, then pour in 1/4 cup of cream (milk)

ME: But they left on their field trip.

14. When sauce starts to bubble a little put chop back in.

15. Leave chop in, stir and ladle sauce over it every once in a while, watch the heat -- if bubbles really start going turn the heat down, just want to simmer. Flip chop every once in a while. About 4 to five minutes in the pan should do it (for about 12 to 15 minutes total cook). If you're nervous you can cut the middle and check for doneness (a hint of pink is okay).

ME: I was nervous. I read and reread this instruction over and over. Who wants trichinosis?

16. Eat it.

ME: I actually want to shalaque it and save it for posterity.

I'm not sure how I make it through the day without Big D. I'm also not sure how Misho didn't wake up during this whole process with all the whooping and hollering as I sprayed myself in the face with hot oil, planned my getaway with the half and half and wine, hugged the pork, and chanted my inappropriate mantra.

It looks gross in the photo, but the pork chop was pretty good. However, seriously. Not worth the two hours that went into it.

Ah elusive Earth Mother, perhaps we'll meet another day...


Ashley said...

i love how this post shows how funny you both are. and the love in those instructions... happy first mama's day!

Cindy said...

LOL!!!! Happy Mothers Days!!

Lyn-Dee said...

I think making a plane reservation to see Mickey would have been easier. You really do have a good man! Don't worry we won't expect you to do anything mother earth style when we visit. Can't wait to see you.