I've never bought one of these things before, but I was feeling cocky. . .It's a bone-in picnic roast. Cooking it was not a picnic.
If I hadn't consulted Julia, it probably would have been fine. First off she told me, "The flavors of a marinade will penetrate pork more thoroughly if the meat is boned."
"Oh, great," I muttered. I could foresee trouble as my butcher skills are practically non-existent. I would have to find a recipe that didn't require marinating.
I pushed onward. Julia described the different pork cuts. Mine was next to last in the long list. I read,
"Picnic Shoulder or Shoulder Arm--No French equivalent."
Ouch! What an insult!
She went on to explain "part of it is palette; part is jambonneau."
I don't know what those words mean, but apparently my pork shoulder is some kind of half-breed, not worthy of a French equivalent. My heart was sinking. Then Julia moved in for the kill:
"This is lean meat and should be boned,"
How did she know I was looking for ways to get out of shoulder surgery? Drat and double drat! Heaving a sigh, I resigned myself to the grisly ordeal.
Slowly, I inserted my knife into the meat alongside the bone and started working my way around it. I pushed and sawed and hacked my way through until I conquered it at last. It took me about ten minutes.
|My poor roast certainly wasn't going to be featured in Bon Appetit. |
|Why butchers wear aprons.|
Oh, well. I proceeded to make up the marinade that Julia said was her favorite. It was really a dry rub. I tried grinding it with a mortar and pestle. After three minutes of totally wasted effort, I got out the little electric spice mill. Did you know that if you get in a hurry and take the lid off before the blade is completely done spinning, you will be enveloped in a spice cloud, which will make you sneeze. (Yes, peppercorns.) Then the cloud rains on your countertop, appliances, and floor.
Once I had the spice mixture rubbed in, I went to get my favorite huge yellow Tupperware bowl with the plastic lid. I was going to put the roast in there and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. I peered into the cabinet and found the bowl but no lid. I got down on my hands and knees and rifled through the contents of the cabinet. Still no lid.
All of a sudden, I remembered where I had seen it last. It was not the kitchen.
I went out to the garage and peered into the cat food can.
I lifted out the bag of cat food.
I poked all around the vicinity.
Baffled, I went back to the kitchen. While at the sink washing my hands, I spotted something out of the corner of my left eye. No, it wasn't. It couldn't be.
I must have brought it in recently to wash? I don't remember.
At last I got the roast installed in the refrigerator. Oh, the relief! It was like I used to feel when Nathaniel was a toddler and I finally got him to bed for the night.
Thankfully, the rest of the preparation went smoothly, and I was pleased with the final result.