One of the things I inherited from my mom is a talent for cooking and I love to prepare home-cooked meals. Mom’s special gift was in creating gravies and sauces that made any dish taste even better. In fact, my husband said my cooking was one of the reasons he fell in love with me.
I enjoy trying new recipes and mixing things together in a new way. Usually, it works out pretty well. I have a notebook full of five-star recipes that were a gamble, but which paid off big time.
Though my culinary skill is typically pretty sound, it has failed me once or twice. Most notably was the very first week back from our honeymoon. As a new bride, I wanted to continue serving my groom delicious meals.
In those days, my work day ended at 2:15 and Matt’s at 3:45, giving me plenty of time to prepare a nice meal for our first day back to work after our marriage. I purchased four pork chops on my way home from work.
By the time Matt arrived home, the whole house smelled wonderful and I had set the dining room table. The new potatoes were cooked perfectly, seasoned with melted butter and parsley. The salad was crisp and his favorite dressing on the side. The pork chops were seared flawlessly in one of my brand-new frying pans.
The first suggestion of anything amiss came when I tried to cut my chop. The knife would not penetrate the meat. We struggled for a few minutes, then Matt picked up his chop and banged it on the plate. It sounded like a brick. We tried to tear off some meat with our teeth to no avail. We both gave up and while he praised the other food, I sat in mortified silence.
All the next day, I stewed over this terrible dinner. It never occurred to me that perhaps I had simply purchased bad chops. I have never cooked a pork chop so poorly in my life! I pondered and pondered until inspiration struck! I had made the mistake of frying them. With two more chops at home, I just knew that if I baked them in a mushroom gravy, they would become tender and flavorful.
I arrived home and placed the chops, covered in a delicious, creamy. homemade mushroom gravy, in a baking dish. I baked them long and low, to gain maximum tenderness. I paired them with a lovely fruit salad and again set the dining room table for two.
The chops were rock-solid. Concrete would have been easier to cut. We threw them away and I never shopped at that store again.
Matt did not utter one negative word to me at the time. But WEEKS later, I heard him tell the story to friends, summing it up by saying “I learned to never complain about Susie’s cooking, or I’ll get it the next night covered in mushroom gravy!”
There are just some things gravy doesn’t help, I guess. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.