As I plot my push into the competitive publishing world, I think it is best to prepare myself by eating more red meat. So yesterday I went to Budwey's and I picked up some pork.
I had pork on the brain ever since sampling the barbecued pork of my talented co-worker Andrew Galarneau. Plus Howard loves pork. I managed to find the one Jewish guy in the world who not only eats pork, ham and bacon, but he insists on it. As I said once before, inside of him is an old German woman struggling to get out.
But here is what makes this an adventure: I have trouble learning to cook pork. Beef, too.
Because no one can agree on what different cuts are called. It is just too confusing! I thought I knew the basics. Slow cooker cookbooks -- I am master of the slow cooker -- tell you about pork shoulder, pork loin, pork tenderloin, etc.
Here is how the label on my pork roast reads: "Pork Shoulder Butt Western Ribs."
What in the world is that? Is it shoulder? Is it ribs? What are the odds that I wind up with a cut of meat that is not referred to anywhere, in any of my thousand cookbooks?
On to beef. My specialty is pot roast. By "my specialty" I mean that is the only beef dish I do, aside from beef stew which is pretty much the same thing. I do a pretty good job with pot roast. I made pot roast once in California when I had Leonard Pennario over to dinner. That is a whole story in itself.
Back to my current culinary problems. Periodically I try to branch out from pot roast and beef stew. A couple of times I tried to make steak.
But where do you start to figure that out? "The Joy of Cooking" says that the term "Delmonico steaks" can mean five different things. Then there is the matter of "prime," "choice" and "select." In the supermarket, in the heat of the moment, with carts running over my toes and kids screaming and "Mickey Don't Lose That Number" squawking from the sound system, I am darned if I can remember which is which.
Whenever I have tried making steaks Howard always ends up telling me that they do not measure up to E.B. Green's. He is sweet about it, but still. Then he tells me I have to find out where his buddy Mark Croce, who owns the Buffalo Chophouse, buys his steaks, and buy them from the same place.
If that is not a case for vegetarianism I do not know what is.
It is so much easier just to roast a squash!