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Please be sure to read the previous entry or little of this will make any sense to you (at least, less sense than normal).

She ain't fancy and she ain't pretty, but The Joy Of Cooking will carry you through just about everything in the kitchen.

With my “inside round roast” recipe printout in hand, I confidently strode to the kitchen, pulled out the roast, saw that it had bled all over the place, spent 20 minutes cleaning my fridge with disinfectant, and then finally got to work.

Step 1:  Cut the meat out of the leaky cling wrap and let it sit for an hour to bring it up to room temperature.  I sliced open the package, cut off some kind of strange netting thing, and set the roast in the sink.

Step 2:  Read ahead to step 8 and notice that you weren’t supposed to cut off that strange netting thing.

“Crap,” I muttered to myself, trying to tie the netting back together.  I must have cut a support cable because the whole arrangement just unravelled itself to pieces.

“Crap.  Balls.”

I looked around the house for anything like butcher’s cord, but I could only find nylon string, which I was fairly sure would melt in the oven, so I threw out the netting and hoped for the best.

Step 3:  Sear the meat so it doesn’t dry out in the oven.  I tossed the whole hunk into the biggest frying pan we own, then realized that a wooden spoon just makes a slightly dismembered roast slide around on the same side.  Panicking, I grabbed a large serving spork and tried to manhandle the whole thing over with the spoon-spork pairing, which was like trying to pick up a greasy baby with… well with a spoon and a spork.

I finally abandoned the wooden spoon and just grabbed the now sizzling hunk with one hand while I sporked the hell out of it until it finally flipped over.  The burnt fingers-spork pairing did get the job done eventually, and I was left with a marginally mangled roast that had been nicely browned over most of its sides.

Step 4:  Season generously.  I smeared the meat with pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and something from an unidentified shaker I found at the back of the cupboard.  It looked very impressive sitting there in its roasting pan, all salt-and-peppery like George Clooney’s hair.

Now, I think it was around this time that I remembered that my wife and I don’t really eat a lot of red meat.  That isn’t based on a moral choice or even a health choice; we just tend to cook a lot of chicken and turkey instead.   I also began to realize that 5 pounds of roast was actually a lot for two people to eat, even over a few days.  But I was committed.

(It reminded me of a story a very dear friend of mine once told me.  I guess she and her husband had come to a conclusion similar to my “big meat epiphany,” and they decided that they were going to learn how to cook seafood.  They headed out to their local shops (being a hip and trendy downtown Toronto couple, they had the options of markets and kiosks) and bought several pounds of fish, crustacean, and invertebrates.  They proudly carted their seafood home, realized that neither of them had any clue how to prepare most of it, and that neither of them really loved seafood all that much, had many misadventures with trying to “wing it,” (in my mind, they experiment with stuffing the toaster with scallops), and ultimately swore off ever trying to prepare something that had spent the better part of its life under the water.)

Step 5:  Put in oven and set the timer.  When my wife got home, I proudly informed her that we would be eating a delicious roast in just under forty minutes.  I peeled my manly potatoes and tried not to kill my testosterone buzz by humming musicals.  40 minutes passed, and the inside of my roast was still a comparatively chilly 70° F.

“Okay,” I told her.  “Another 30 minutes, tops.”

Half an hour later, “Twenty more minutes, and then 15 minutes outside of the oven for it to rest.”

“Why does it have to rest?” she asked me.

I consulted the instructions, but they offered my very little on that note.  “I guess because it’s so tired from… making itself… delicious…?”

It would be funnier if I could say that I pulled out a burnt, inedible failure from the oven, but the end result was pretty darn close to any roast that my parents ever served me.  We ate roughly 1 pound between the two of use, bagged the rest to put in the freezer, and then suffered from mildly upset stomachs due to our intolerance of red meat.

But now I can proudly and confidently tell any trepidatious stranger at the meat counter that cooking big pieces of meat is “actually one of the easiest thing you can do.”  (It’s a lie, but some lies need to be carried on for the sake of preserving the skill of handling a big hunk of beef.)

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