Friday, September 4, 2009

Praise the Lord and Pass the Gravy!

Last weekend, we hosted my hubby’s side of the family for two birthday celebrations. My father-in-law, Bob was turning 86 and my sister-in-law, Nancy was turning 56. I told Bob we could have any meal he wanted, but he was doing NONE of the cooking. (He typically insists on it, even on his birthday.) He told me he already had two Pork Roasts thawing for me in his fridge and with that, the decision was made.

I would have never let him know, but I was extreeeeemely nervous from the outset. You see, Bob is an amazing cook. There are a several dinners that are his specialty…one of them is roast pork. It is invariably excellent and our family LOVES this meal. I had never cooked a large pork loin before Sunday, so I asked him if he could tell me how he makes it. “No problem,” he said, “I’ll even teach you how to tie it.” Armed with his instructions and two freshly tied pork roasts, I was off to cook.

Everything went exactly as planned. After more than 2 hours of cooking time, I was thrilled to open the oven to find a roast that looked very much like one of his. He took one look and declared "BEAUTIFUL!" Upon closer inspection, he added, "cooked to perfection!" (Whew!)

By this time, the whole family had arrived and everyone literally cheered. (I think they too were a bit nervous that someone other than Bob was cooking their beloved pork roast!) The potatoes were almost finished cooking, the green beans had been in the crock pot all day, so it was time to make the gravy. I spent so much energy worrying about the pork roast, I hadn’t given much thought to making the gravy. (Are you starting to see where this is going??)

Like many families, ours tends to congregate in the kitchen. We have an island where everyone tends to hover. This often makes for extra pressure as you feel as though all eyes are upon you. Though I was thrilled the roast pork came out well, I knew I was going to be anxious until the entire meal had come together and was on the table.

I took a deep breath and began making the gravy. The natives were restless and seemingly watching my every move. The pre-dinner snacks had been consumed. Oh, the pressure! My sister-in-law, Sally was helping in the kitchen and we were both working as fast as we could, putting the final touches on dinner. The rolls were in the oven and I continued making the gravy. I had to say I was quite pleased with how it was looking.

Suddenly, we realized the rolls were burning so we immediately opened the oven to take them out. At the same time, our extremely sensitive smoke alarm (cleverly placed immediately over our stove when our house was built) began going off. The rolls were saved and we began waving a towel in the air to stop the smoke alarm. (Oh, just what we needed…more excitement and attention!) We were all laughing as I gave another glance to the gravy. It looked good, but I could see a few large lumps. I began looking for my strainer. Couldn’t find it anywhere! No worries, I thought…I’ll use my colander. I proceeded to grab my colander, sat it in my sink (in the middle of the island) and then grabbed the large pan of gravy. I quickly poured its entire contents into the colander. There was only one problem. I had forgotten to put a bowl under it. (I so wish I were kidding.) That’s right, the entire pan of gravy went straight down the drain. All that remained in my colander were the lumps.

There was a literal gasp of horror from everyone around the island and then…silence. Before I could even think, my mother-in-law (I’ve told you she was a character!) rushed over to my father-in-law to tell him what I had done. He grimaced, then grinned. I was mortified. Who ever heard of
roast pork with NO GRAVY? The family who had been cheering me just a few moments before were now chuckling nervously, saying things like, “it’s ok…we don’t really need gravy.” Suddenly, I remembered buying several jars of this…
Woo-hoo!!! A few minutes later, we were back in business. While not the same as homemade gravy…this would definitely be better than NO gravy. Thank you Lord and Mr. Heinz!

As we enjoyed dinner, my family thanked me for the meal, and the pre-dinner entertainment. Needless to say, I haven't heard the end of this one! ; ) LOL!

All smiles after “the gravy incident,” here is Bob and Nancy about to partake of birthday Peach Cobbler (which turned out much better than the gravy, thank-you-very-much.) ; )


Karen said...

What a cute story...loved the gravy moment....

Just a little something from Judy said...

Great story! Thank you for sharing it with us. I was relating to it the whole way through. Incidents like this are truly memory makers and make life events more fun. You handled it beautifully! They have to love you, the fact that you tried so hard to please them.

Did you put fresh or frozen green beans in the crockpot? I would like to know how you did them.

I enjoyed reading this post. It made me smile, even though I am sure you were not smiling through it all.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

LisaShaw said...

Birthday blessings to them both.

What a cute story. Truth be told I did something similiar one Thanksgiving and the family all looked at me. I had four jars of the same gravy (Heinz) in the cabinet that one of the ladies in ministry gave to me to try and I just never did jar gravy BUT I ran to the pantry and grabbed those two jars. Added a bit of chopped celery, onions and peppers and poured it over the turkey and everyone loved it!

Been using that gravy ever since (smile).

Love you Sweetie.

Jennifer said...

Why does it always seem that the "gravy stories" always end in disaster?!? At least yours had the potential to be yummy...mine never even has the option to be served!!

Diana said...

Oh my gosh. I am so glad I popped over this morning. What a great story! And......I will be buying some of that canned gravy.

Have a great day. Come on over.

Becky said...

Great story...and yes, Heinz has helped out many a flustered cook in a pinch.

Wow...86 must be the new 60, huh? Seriously, he doesn't look like he's in his 80's at all!

Happy@Home said...

When I read your story I could definitely relate. When I entertain I prefer to make the type of meals that are basically done before the guests arrive as I don't like having an audience when I cook. I recently deviated from that rule when I hosted my in-laws anniversary dinner. Just as I was beginning to brown the chicken breasts the guests showed up an hour early. Unbeknownst to me my husband told them to leave early in case of traffic. It was a bit stressful at the time, but now I can laugh.
I think you are very brave just to make the pork roast for the first time and I can imagine everybody could see the effort and love that you put into the meal and appreciated it very much.
Thanks for sharing your story & hooray for Heinz gravy!!

Traci said...

Hey! We are both Ky girls! No wonder you are so sweet! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I appreciate all your prayers for my mom. I am sitting in the hospital room with her right now. She is doing well but will probably be here another day.
Thanks again for blessing me,

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I'm not a gravy gal,so the pork would have been more than enough to satisfy me! I'm glad for your fun family time and for the celebrations that come to us because of such occasions. These are the times we hold as precious and will remember in years to come! ]

Kudos to you for even being in the kitchen. My family shudders when I head in that direction.


Lea said...

GIRL... you DIDN'T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DOWN the drain?????????????????
I'M sorry; I don't mean to laugh at you...............................
But that IS HYSTERICAL! THEE only thing that remained were the lumps. lololol (I'm sorry; don't mean to keep laughin) reeealy* Ohhhme.
Ohhh my.
Now, to make you feel better...
since the boys have grown and flown the coop, I'll admit my cookin abilities have taken this nosedive. My new motto: when it's black it's done. The smoke alarm ... have ta keep fresh batteries nearby coz the blasted thing goes off so much I'm fraid I'm usin them up too fast. lol
SO don't feel bad. AND I happen to LOVE nonhomeade gravy. Ours usually comes out of a little package from the dollar store. When we're celebrating it comes out of a jar. Good stuff maynard!
SMOOCHY holykisses,
Love Lea