Originally published in The Grapevine: July 24th to August 7th, 2014
It sometimes happens that certain people, in certain circumstances, get a pass. The judgements we would usually make, the assumptions we would usually form, are temporarily suspended. And then there are those times in which an audience will not only give a pass or suspend judgement, but will in fact give their object of assessment points for just trying. Such is the case, in my dear husband Michael’s opinion, when a man makes dinner for his family. Chefs, of course, are a different category altogether, but for an ordinary Joe to come home from work and whip up a meal for his hungry family elevates him to some sort of god-like creature and any food he creates is, by its very existence, divine.
I should note, at this point, that far from revelling in this automatic glory, Mike chafes at the idea that he should be congratulated for simply providing nourishment. In fact, he is annoyed when he is assured his food will be delicious before anyone has tasted it (often uttered whilst casting an envying glance in my direction).
This is all to say, dear reader, that Mike is nigh-on allergic to the thought of making any concessions to critiques of food offerings based solely upon the creator thereof. Therefore, when I asked our son Max to prepare the recipe I had provided him for the slow-cooking of a pork loin roast I had chosen from Wild Mountain Meat Market, I knew Mike would hold nothing back in his assessment of the resulting meal.
I should also note that Mike is not a connoisseur of porcine products (bacon notwithstanding). In fact, one might go so far as to say Mike has something of an aversion to pork.
So today, friends, I am here to tell you that for this man, to whom “it’s okay” is usually tantamount to high praise, to declare the pork loin roast awesome….that is nothing short of, well, awesome. Max was, as he should be, mightily pleased with himself.
The pork loin roast was even awesome the next day in a rice-noodle and other-stuff-thrown-in-together stir fry Mike whipped up (NOT awesome because of his gender, mind).
Wild Mountain piggies are allowed to enjoy a wide variety of foods in their diet in order “to create the opportunity for them to find their ‘inner pig’” according to the informative and entertaining Wild Mountain website. The resulting roast seemed to prompt my family to also find their inner pigs as everyone had a second helping.
Never one to shy away from a new opportunity in pursuit of an experience to share with the world, I had also chosen beef jerky to sample from Wild Mountain’s array of meaty goodness. In fact, the only thing I refused to sample was the array of home-made dog food (which, I’m assured, has legions of fans).
Beef jerky seems like an odd thing to eat – I mean, normally I’m all about keeping the juiciness IN the meat, not sucking it all out. However, I decided to set aside some of my own judgements and assumptions to give it a try. It was delicious. This is not the corner-store dried up hunk of otherwise cruddy leftover meat – this is a carefully spiced and delightfully balanced blend of yummy chewiness. Or as Clara put it, “it’s MEAT!!!!” (ergo: delicious). No biases, just deliciousness.