Tomorrow I’m having surgery to remove two small areas of wonky, wayward cells from my breast. The process has been no picnic. I don’t have cancer, as it stands now, and I am grateful and quite energized by that knowledge. Final test results, post-surgery, will confirm this diagnosis soon enough.
When first called back to the Breast Care Center for additional imaging, pork chops were the topic du jour, in the waiting room. Women were discussing recipes for “tender, tasty chops”. Perfectly grilled sliders were top-of-mind during my next visit – morning television hosts were noshing and chatting about quintessential summer fare.
Food, even in verbal form it seems, is comforting.
Women in pink hospital robes fill the chairs…waiting. Some are here for simple mammograms, others have been called back for additional imaging and some for various biopsies or surgeon consultations.
Within a month, I have been here four times and all the while…waiting. Waiting for the phone to ring, test results, procedures to be scheduled, surgery-day to arrive and so on.
The patient must be patient.
Anticipation is a distant cousin to “apprehension,” but with positive connotations. The waiting, however, can still be vexing.
Expectant, eager emotions play a role in the kitchen, as well, as you visualize the end result: those slow-cooking ribs, the Thanksgiving turkey roasting all day long.
The anticipation, for example, of a cake coming out of the oven is quite palpable. The feeling builds as the timer counts down and it rises to the occasion in the heat of the oven. Taunting you as it cools, still too hot to frost, it always seems to take an eternity before you’re rewarded with sweet celebration.
Occasionally I second-guess if the cake will turn out as I expect. Chocolatey fragrance envelopes me, though, and with it wafts of absolute, unyielding positivity – even if the cake is not perfect, it can always be transformed into a fabulous trifle.
The patient, much like the chef, must choose anticipation over worry. Appreciate the unexpected nuances and reincarnations of your journey.
Knowing I will be famished, exhausted and in pain when released from the hospital, I have planned pot roast sandwiches for dinner. Roasts usually entail a food-of-love approach – wine, shallots, herbs, searing, stuffing the meat with a garlic mixture – but the recipe below is my secret weapon. This is my “oh jeez, house guests at the holidays!” savior.
One of the reasons this recipe works so well, even without all the fanfare of my usual pot roast recipe, is the quality and cut of the beef. Grab some bulky rolls, some chunky blue cheese dressing or horseradish cream sauce and dig in!
Anticipation Pot Roast Sandwiches Crock Pot Recipe!
Peel and slice the onions. Pat the steak seasoning onto all sides of the roast to make a light crust; use a little extra as needed. Place in the crock pot. Place garlic directly on top of the meat and then the rosemary and finally top with the onions. Pour your liquids in gently. Cook on high for 8 hours.
The chuck cut on this roast is specifically wonderful for getting that “shredded beef” texture that makes the sandwiches crave-worthy. Embrace the anticipation and…be patient.
Originally published: The Winchester Star, September 2016
Photo credit: "The Promise Of Happiness," DeviantArt (BlackJack0919): CC BY-ND 3.0
Welcome to Chef
Mel's Genuine Journey: Dig In.
Originally published as a column in The Winchester Star newspaper (2016-18), Chef Mel's Genuine Journey connects real-life experiences with the deeper meanings and lessons gleaned from the garden, kitchen, and dining room table.