Tonight in the midwest it is cold. We have had multiple days of ice, winter mix, and cold temperatures that have kept the kids home from school and my husband home from work. After things cleared I braved the grocery store because we were almost out of everything. As I was preparing dinner this question came to mind.
Can one pot change everything?
You see, I think maybe our grandmothers were smarter than us–no offense. As I was preparing a roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions, just like my Nano used to make, I couldn’t help but think about this.
Why do we modern women not make more simple, one pot dinners? Over the last three years or so my cooking has changed a lot. I cook a lot healthier and I finally got out of that food rut. But simple meals have spoken to my soul on a really deep level. Scarlet’s Chicken and Rice from Deep Run Roots, ham and beans (what! I used to hate ham and beans!) or roast like I made tonight.
Getting the roast ready took maybe 15 minutes. But then while it is cooking I have HOURS of free time. I think a lot of things that my grandmothers would cook were simple, healthy, and delicious but they also allowed for ample time for them to do other things they needed or wanted. Boil a chicken…that takes at least an hour let me go work on this quilt. Cook some dried beans and a ham bone…that will take all day let me go visit my neighbor.
Sometimes I think in todays terms these hours are a waste of time. But I think those hours are actually a gift. A gift because you don’t have to be actively doing anything during that time to cook that meal. A gift because at the end of those hours you have something that is so much better than a quickly cooked meal (depending on the season), and you also get to fill your house with the smell of something amazing. When I walked out of my office to get a drink I stopped and told my husband, wow it smells amazing in here! So much joy can come just from the smell of what you are cooking!
Some of my favorite photos of my female family members are of them in the kitchen. I was raised by women who could COOK. But what I am understanding as I am getting older was a lot of these amazing things they made were not complicated. Don’t get me wrong–I love fancy restaurants and can hang with all of the foodies! But, there is something soulful and heartwarming about this food that isn’t complex but often takes a long time to cook, without you having to slave over the stove for three hours!
Tonight, I started dreaming about all of the things I could do while a chicken was boiling, a roast was roasting, or a soup is simmering. So I sat down and wrote this blog to you all. I hope you find a meal this week to cook for your family, that gives you some margin to do something you love and enjoy. I hope that you gather around the table and sit with your people and enjoy the simplicity of a hot meal!
1 chuck Roast
6 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes
6 whole carrots
1 yellow onion
Seasoning: salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Instructions: Liberally coat the roast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In a large roasting pan or dutch oven pan add olive oil and sear the roast on both sides. They should be brown! This is where the flavor comes from. Cover the roast up to the sear line with water, add quartered carrots, potatoes, and onions. Bake at 375 for up to 2 hours and then lower to 250 for up to 2 hours. Once the meat is tender to a fork, serve immediately.
Optional sauce: Nano always served roast with home made bbq sauce and at first I thought she was nuts but came to love the sweet and savory elements. Add 1 cup ketchup, 2 tbsp white vinegar, 2 tbsp brown sugar and melt in a sauce pan until the brown sugar is dissolved. Store in a jar for up to two weeks.