Granny Hasty and the Great Pork Roast Rescue
I moved away from home when I was 20 and started keeping house as the old timers would refer to it. As a kid, I hated being in the kitchen and as a result never learned to cook. My mom was a decent cook overall, but a really good cook when it came to traditional dinners. She could whip up a mean country fried steak dish or a baked ham that would put Honey Baked Ham to shame. Mom would also make a Blondie cookie bar that was to die for, but only on special occasions. More than not, we had chunky soup over rice for dinner. And oh my goodness....I ate toasted tuna fish sandwiches every Sunday after church. This is not a dramatic statement, we seriously had toasted tuna every Sunday until I was about 13 and my parents divorced. Some good things came out of that situation : )! You will NEVER find a can of tuna or chunky soup in my kitchen.
Granny Hasty's cooking was a whole different story. She had a few dishes that she did well, but she really loved her pepper. Granny would make a dish called "Sweet Spaghetti". It was like someone had dumped 3 cups of sugar into the sauce and poured it over noodles. YUCKO! I will say she made great fried chicken and an awesome chocolate pound cake. But that's about it. Despite her lack of cooking skills, I loved my Granny to the moon and back. I could talk to her about anything. I remember that she played with us and walked me to school everyday when I was in 1st grade although it put great strain on her back. It's no wonder when I set up housekeeping, she was the first person I called when I ran into trouble. And so the story really begins....
I became brave one weekend and wanted to cook a roast for my husband for dinner. I went to Kroger, purchased the roast and followed the recipe I had. My mom had made me a recipe binder with recipes from all of the women in our family. I still have that binder and treasure it even more 20 years later. I followed the directions to a "t". The house smelled wonderful and I was so excited to show off my cooking skills to my new husband. As I pulled the roast out of the oven I noticed that the meat was white and not reddish/brown like I remember eating growing up. Yep, you guessed it...I bought a pork roast.
In a panic, I called my grandmother. I wanted to make my roast the same color as the familiar ones I had as a kid. The only thing I could think of was to add red food coloring to the meat and let it soak to absorb the color. When I proceeded to ask my grandmother if she thought that idea would work, she burst out laughing. Not just a little, but for several minutes. When she finally got her breath back, I remember her saying how crazy I was and then started laughing again. We did decide that if I really felt like it needed something, I could add barbecue sauce. I mixed up ketchup and mustard and smeared it on top of the roast. It tasted horrible and I did not have anything else to add to it at this point as we were really poor back then. I did not have the heart to call my granny back again knowing that my barbecue recipe may send her over the edge in another laughing fit.
So, as I am taking butternut squash cheese souffles out of the oven today I am thinking of my Granny Hasty. I've come along way baby! Wish you were here to taste test and I hope that I did you proud. Thank you for being there for me during the hard times growing up as a kid and laughing with me during the crazy ones.