Three to four pound pork shoulder 1 18oz jar of apricot preserves 1 14 oz can of whole berry cranberry sauce 1/4 cup chicken broth 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon of ground cloves 1 large onion Several potatoes Several carrots 1/2 head of cabbage 1 summer squash/zucchini Cauliflower/broccoli crowns, about a handful each
Trim fat from pork shoulder while being told that you're doing it wrong. Mix the apricot preserves, cranberry sauce, Dijon mustard, and chicken broth together until well blended even if you're being told you've stirred it enough already. Chop the large onion into small pieces while being told you've wasted half of it. Score the wrongly trimmed shoulder in cross cuts and rub the ground cloves into the slits while listening to how whole cloves would be a better choice. Place the chopped onions in bottom of slow-cooker and place shoulder on top of onions while listening to how it's on the wrong side. Pour the apricot/cranberry mixture over the top of shoulder while listening to how much of a waste it is. Set slow-cooker to low and cook for 12 hours. Be prepared to listen to how it is either too much or not enough time.
Next day, about 90 minutes before you wish to eat, peel and cut the potatoes and carrots into 1/2 inch pieces while being told you handle the peeler and paring knife incorrectly. Boil at the wrong temperature setting in the wrong pot. Cut cabbage into wedges and summer squash/zucchini into 1/4 inch slices which are all the wrong size or shape and place with the cauliflower/broccoli crowns in a large strainer which is too big over a pot of boiling water that is too small and steam for as long as it takes which is either too long or not long enough.
When the potatoes and carrots are 'mash-able' mash them together with whatever flavouring you prefer...understanding that they won't be as good as how someone else makes them. Remove steamed vegetables from over-sized strainer and place into a dish which is unnecessary and extravagant and season to taste knowing all the while that the flavour has been cooked out of them.
Remove the over/under cooked shoulder from slow-cooker and place on platter which has never been seen before and is therefore deemed unlikeable. Transfer the mashed potatoes/carrot combination into another wasteful and extravagant serving dish. Set table with non-styrofoam plates which will involve wasting water and time to wash along with heirloom silver and vintage linens that once belonged to a disagreeable ancestor. Place large salt shaker at center of table to off-set the blandness of the cuisine.
Sit down. Remove wads of cotton from ears (dispose of discreetly) and enjoy!
Happy Easter from my world to all my Gentle Readers!
Perhaps it was the suede elbow patches on the tweed sport coat. Or maybe the two inch cuffs draping over the top of my Bass wing-tipped Oxford's. It might have been the English wool felt cap 'strategically dipped' to the right. It might even have been the articulate elocution of my banter with the cashier while waiting in the check-out line. The glint of gold on wrist and fingers may have contributed. Probably a combination of all the above added to my overall public demeanor. Whatever it was, it inspired the somewhat faded yet distinguished older gentleman behind me to lean forward and mutter conspiratorially in my ear with a nod and glance to my right: "It's people like us that pay the way for people like them."
To my right was a youngish woman with several children all of whom were gleefully bagging and boxing their purchases. This particular grocery store cuts its prices by not employing people to bag for you. The store provides plastic bags and the cardboard boxes the products come in for toting. Their cart was full of the necessities of their lives. Not so much from a nutritional point of view but from the need to make their food-benefits allowance last through the month. The card that these benefits are purchased with is very conspicuous.
People like us. People like them.
When did I become an 'us'?
I cannot say the woman or her children were particularly tidy or stylish. I can say that they all seemed very cheerful and boisterous. Their zeal may have drowned out the comment. Or, they were so accustomed to hearing such things they had developed the second nature to ignore it. I pray that it was the former rather than the latter.
I heard him. The cashier heard him. It was calculated to be heard.
People like us.
My cart was fairly light and tallying up was quick. I keep cardboard boxes in the trunk so I don't need to bag inside the store. I can sort and load directly from the cart. Something snapped. I am not a reticent person.
I turned to look at my fellow check-out denizen. My chin was elevated allowing me the advantage of looking down my nose. A slow appraisal. "People like 'us'?" I repeated at length. "From looking at you, I would never have guessed that you were an alternatively-oriented tree-hugging socialist! I'm so glad to know there's more than one of 'us'"! I leaned toward him, gave him a big, fondling hug and an embarrassingly loud, wet kiss on the cheek. "Keep the faith!" was my smiling exit line from the store.
I only hope the paramedics arrived in time to be of some assistance.