The slab of meat had history, having struggled for a long time. In a butcher shop it had been whacked into a beautiful chuck pot roast, trucked to market, and somewhere in the San Diego area, Andrew and Shawnna had selected the piece and took it home where they placed it in the freezer compartment of their refrigerator, planning to cook and eat it at a later time. Just before Christmas as they prepared to travel to our home in Crestline for the family gathering, they discovered their refrigerator/freezer had failed; everything was thawing. When they arrived at our place, they hauled out a bag full of frozen meat and stuck it in our freezer. It stayed there until this past week.
Home in Crestline for a few days and expecting Rebecca and Nathaniel for dinner on Friday, I pulled the roast from the freezer and planned the luscious meal we would have. Early in the day I set the table in the dining room, and about 11:00, in a very hot pan, seared the meat to a beautiful hue, tossed in a bit of onion, lowered the heat to a simmer, placed on a glass lid (that didn’t fit quite properly) and left the pot roast doing its thing as I puttered about the house.
…later I walked to the simmering pot, smug with thought of my smoothly progressing meal as I viewed the pot of rice already cooked awaiting the gravy I would make from the pot roast drippings and the pan full of black-eyed peas seasoned generously with bacon. Yeast rolls and Monkey Bread were rising. Rebecca would bring a salad to finish off our delectable meal. We were set. With a thick oven-mitt-covered hand, I reached to remove the glass lid from the roast pot. Wouldn’t budge. I turned the pot to a different angle. Wouldn’t budge. Hmm….I thought. Must have formed a vacuum. I took a dinner knife and tried inserting it to break the vacuum. Nothing. Wouldn’t give. I COULD NOT GET THE LID OFF THAT PAN.
“Jerry,” I called. “I can’t get the lid off this pan.”
“I can’t get the lid off this pan.”
Jerry to the rescue. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. The lid just won’t come off. Must have formed a vacuum.”
With his brawny strength Jerry twisted and tugged. Nothing. The lid would not move. We tried everything: hot water, cold water, ice, turning the pot upside down, hitting it with the edge of a heavy knife…and a hammer. Nothing. The lid would not shift.
Finally Jerry went down to the garage and came back with these large pruning shears, which he then placed around the glass knob. We covered the glass lid with thick pot holders in case of breaking glass. Jerry began pulling. Nothing. Wouldn’t budge. I was holding the pan as tightly as I could while Jerry pulled with the shears, but he could pull harder than I, so finally he stopped and placed the pan on the floor. “Stand on top of the pan,” he instructed. I now stood–both feet– on the roast beef pan, lending my not insignificant heft to the job. I stood. Jerry pulled with the pruning shears. Nothing.
I was ready to give up. Not Jerry. He snatched up the pot, trekked down the stairs to the garage and with a yellow rope snared the pot roast pan lid knob, fastened the rope to a red vice, and hung the roast.
Rebecca arrived. After telling her the story, and after Nathaniel had gone down to take a look, and had come back up giggling with his report of trying to get the lid off, we settled into talking of what we would do for dinner.
“We could have a vegetable dinner,” Rebecca suggested.
No one seemed eager.
“We could go out for dinner,” I said, but none of us really wanted to do that.
“How about fried chicken?” Jerry asked. “Come with me Nate. We’ll go pick up some chicken.”
It was a delicious meal; rotisseried chicken, rice (with soy sauce atop in place of gravy), black-eyed peas, a fine green salad trucked up the hill by Rebecca, yeast rolls and Monkey Bread for dessert.
Saturday morning as I was putting something in the car, I passed by the swinging pot roast, and just for kicks gave it a good jerk. Nothing. Later in the morning, into the kitchen, grinning, came Jerry with a heavy aluminum pan in one hand and an unscathed glass lid in the other. Residing in the pan was a chunk of meat, a chunk of meat who if only had the capabilities could no doubt engage us in riveting tales of adventure.
Alas, it was not to be. For on Saturday morning, April 17, the year of our Lord 2010, Jerry and I had a private ceremony for the disposal of the unlucky piece of meat. Jerry whacked him into manageable chunks, and as I manned the fountain of water, Jerry fed him piece by unfortunate piece to the grinding blades of the disposal. He smelled delicious.
“Strange thing,” Jerry said. “Downstairs, I covered the glass lid with a cloth, put on my glasses, and took a framing hammer and whacked that lid with all my strength, thinking of course to break the lid.” But the lid did not break, edged up a little and Jerry removed the glass lid.
I took both the pan and the glass lid to the front deck where the light was magnificent to snap pictures of the beaten-up Guardian Ware pan, and the glass lid that had been hammered and smacked and jerked, but bears not one scar. Amazing.