Growing up in the sixties, food was not analyzed in the same way as it is today. As long as the meals were fresh and varied, it was considered healthy. My mother didn’t serve soup or vegetables from a can, and the only food that ever came from a freezer was the result of my mother’s indulgence in response to accusations that she was unfairly depriving me of T.V. dinners. Supper always included cooked vegetables, potatoes or rice, some kind of protein, and a salad. My mother insisted that we needed two things in our diet, milk and meat, not together of course.
I am on information overload and I am not sure how to reverse the trend. I remember my friend Susan, a native Californian, turning up her nose when being served “fleish” and other heavy European dishes. She referred to kugels as “brown food”, introduced our family to sprouts, and was my first friend who analyzed what she served in terms of nutritional value. At the time we just chalked it up to the fact that she was born in L.A.
Today, every meal is fraught with questions and weighty considerations. Are the carbohydrates whole grain, the vegetables organic, how many carbon footprints are used to raise cattle, is the chicken free-range, etc. . How can one possibly enjoy a meal that has been dissected to death. One friend is always assuring us that the recipe is low-calorie, another no longer serves beef, and this morning I was instructed to “go light” on the cheese as I was preparing a cheese omelette. What is the point of eating a cheese omelette with barely any cheese?
What I miss is the sense of freedom that went hand in hand with being less informed. I remember the days when we sat down to dinner, digging into a delicious, perfectly done rib steak, served with mashed potatoes and a salad (made with iceberg lettuce), all enjoyed with abandon and guilt-free. I am not suggesting that we were healthier, or better off as a society, it’s just that sometimes all I want is my meat and potatoes, without a side of commentary.
I made this French Roast last week and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
3-4 lb. French Roast
3 Tbs of a Brisket rub of your choice ( I used one I bought in Texas)
5 Tbs Olive Oil
1 large Onion
1 Sprig Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
3/4 cup Dry Red Wine
1 Tbs Tomato Paste
Rub French Roast with spice rub, cover with saran, and refrigerate over night. The next day coat the roast with a small amount of flour. Pour olive oil into cast iron pan and heat till VERY HOT. Sear roast on every side till brown.
Place red wine, bay leaf, thickly sliced onion, parsnip cut into chunks, Thyme and tomato paste in roasting pan and mix well. Add French Roast and place, uncovered, in 325 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove and thinly slice meat. Return to roasting pan, cover and cook an additional 2 hours or until meat is very tender. Add more wine, or water if necessary.