And the one shall become two

My grandfather Big Jake has been sending us large quantities of random groceries since the year 2004. Big Jake takes great pride in being resourceful and finding a ‘great deal,’ so frequently he will ship us marinades and dressings that have just passed their expiration date, cans and cans of food with dents in them that were sold for a few cents each after getting damaged in transit in some truck, and bulk quantities of flour, sugar, and oats. Big Jake also loves buying gigantic pieces of meat, and saves them in his own freezer until the time comes to provide for one of his grandchildren. And when it’s our turn, you never know what kind of bounty will spring forth. A duck. 10 million pounds of ground beef. A huge frozen mass of pink which upon further investigation ended up being 20-some odd chicken breasts. I call it ‘the pink plank,’ and I’m terrified of defrosting the monster. You can’t receive a Big Jake grocery shipment without having to pick your jaw up off the floor. And fill up your coat closet with the overflow that doesn’t fit in the pantry.

There have been joys and challenges, laughter and tears, butter sent through the postal service, and spaghetti sauce to last a lifetime, which I always need on hand to throw together my topmost go-to meal.

All this said, about 4 months ago Big Jake sent us two gigantic (almost 5 lb) cuts of meat called “arm roast.” The name of this slab of animal flesh made me pause to ponder some of the deeper questions of the universe. I mean, what the heck is an arm roast? Is there any situation in which you would say “that cow has a nice fat arm”? Aren’t they . . . legs? Any ranchers out there who can clarify this point?

I apologize for this illustration. It seemed a necessity at the time I made it.

Considering the package said “Content: beef,” I chose to move on and ask no further questions. Ignorance can be bliss, as long as it doesn’t kill you via food poisoning–and I’m happy to report that it didn’t.

Our freezer situation was in emergency status. With the 2 arm roasts, the duck he sent us, the tablet of chicken breasts, plus other sundry large items, it hadn’t been able to house ice cream for about a year. It was getting ridiculous, and it was time to clear some space out and cook that dang arm roast. The first arm roast, that is.

Things looked promising. The meat smelled great as it browned, the oven was preheating, and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the tender, falling-apart pieces of beef that the next few hours held in store for us. However, when it became obvious that the arm roast would never in any dimension of space or time be able to fit into the Dutch oven along with the carrots, onions, mushrooms, and sauce, I was forced to reconfigure my plans.

I tallied up the facts:

Fact #1: There was no way I was refreezing any part of that roast. The whole point was ice-cream space in the freezer, and we were not jeopardizing that in any scenario.

Fact #2: Forcing all the meat into the one pot would have resulted in an oven explosion that may well have brought about the end of the USA as we know it.

The simple answer to all my problems came to me in a flash:

And the one shall become two.

It was the only solution. Plus, it sounded biblical, so that pretty much sealed the deal. One roast became two roasts. I broke out my other cast iron pot (also from Big Jake’s basement) and made a second roast, improvising with some onion, some apples, some ginger, and some Asian seasonings. And that, my friends, is how I came to have two big roasts in the oven this past Sunday afternoon. Two whole roasts–for a household of two. One for me, one for my husband.

I would like to report that we will be eating roast for the next month, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Amen and amen.

I will be sharing the recipe for Roast #1 next Thursday, and it is de-licious. I can further vouch for it because it has stood the test of time as I have eaten it over and over again this week. In fact, I will probably be eating it tonight as well, and I’m actually . . . *honest self examination in process* . . . looking forward to it. And that says a lot about a recipe.

Have a great weekend everyone! Sleep in a little, drink a delicious coffee, and work a gigantic bowl of popcorn into your Saturday night. Or whatever floats your boat, really. This weekend, a wine tasting at our friend Cassia‘s house is going to float my boat. This weekend, a good douse of Baileys in my coffee is going to float my boat. And I may even con my husband into giving me a foot massage (conning husband=putting on a cute little alien face and smacking his butt until he agrees to whatever you’re asking) (marital advice at no extra charge).

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11 Responses to And the one shall become two

  1. I am laughing so freaking hard! This post is hilarious! I love Big Jake and I don’t even know him! And arm roast? WTF? Everything about this is awesome.

  2. Rowenna says:

    Jenna! I had to comment because I, too, know the delights of a Big Jake grocery shipment. The wonder. The bewilderment. The canned rutabagas.

    The roast sounds delightful! Enjoy…and keep enjoying…

  3. giselle says:

    I’m a little scared to ask, but what was the second roast like? You mentioned how delish the first one was and that you’ll share and haven’t stopped eating it.. but the second?? With the apples and ginger??

    • Jenna says:

      Heh heh, it was . . . ok. I just kind of threw stuff in there. The meat was good but the sauce wasn’t super delicious. I like the idea of all the ingredients I used, but I’d need to be more careful with the proportions to make it work. =)

  4. justmarriedgirl says:

    Funny and sweet. And, I love the illustrations!

  5. Twinky says:

    Hysterical!! One day when we get their computer back on line, I will call up this post and let Big Jake and Mama Kitty have a great laugh and experience the satisfaction of your talented cooking and writing. How ’bout a post on the Mama Kitty hat-sorting extravaganza of a couple of years ago…. Musn’t let Big Jake hog (or beef) the show!! BTW, his 88th birthday was on Wednesday!

  6. Joanne says:

    My god this is hysterical! I mean, I thought I had some pretty crazy uncles but yours tops mine hands down. I would love it if someone sent me an arm roast. Whatever that may be. Like you said, I have a strict don’t ask don’t tell policy when it comes to free food.

    And eating roast meat day in and day out doesn’t sound SO bad. I’m sure it tastes awesome if you made it!

  7. Sarah says:

    hilarious! arm roast? that sounds crazy!!! can’t wait to see your recipe. :)

  8. Megan says:

    Hilarious! Arm roast?! None of the meat-cut names make too much sense to me, but I’ve never heard anything that crazy. :)
    If the frozen mass of pink has bones in it you could make a really good stock and have cooked chicken meat to throw in sandwiches, quesadillas or other 5 min recipes, and stock for soups and future stews. But then in storing the stock you’d have the freezer space problem again. But if they’re boneless chicken breasts, you could make several different vats of curry and have a party.

    • Jenna says:

      I’m pretty sure they’re boneless chicken breasts–I can’t make out anything that looks like a bone in there. You’re right–that quantity of meat definitely says ‘party time’!

  9. Wendi says:

    Big Jake sounds like a riot. At least family get togethers are never boring for you.

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