Soup’s on!

Okay, so sickness, cold and assignments seem to have been the theme as of lately.. And we’re gonna keep it that while for just a little longer while I finish blowing my nose and writing my assignment.. Only, now we’re gonna throw in a few huge hunks of meat for good measure.. What? No, I haven’t gone insane (no more than usual, anyways) but other than sickness and writing, my life the last couple of days really have involved a lot of huge, chunks of meat..

Ah, but I confuse you, you say? Well, see, the thing is that Liva, my beloved neighborhood supermarket, has been having a 40th birthday sale for the last couple of weeks involving a bunch of really, really strange unreasonable offers to the point where they’ve actually pretty much been throwing groceries at you at certain points. Luckily, for me, and other meat-lovers alike, the last few weeks their offers seem to have centered mostly around meat products, and beef in particular. Now, given the rather interesting state of my economy in which I’ve run out of student grants for the remainder of my time in school (no more than six-seven months, hopefully) but still have a bit of savings left.. This is good news, because it means I can stock up now, rather inexpensively, and save it for more dire financial straits. So, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve procured something like ten kilos of various cuts of beef, be it chuck, minced, fillet and what have you… Which I’ve mangled and butchered at home, put into friendly single (or multiple) serving bags and stocked in the freezer.. Good times!

Oh, and speaking of stock.. I’ve kinda been doing that as well.. Or broth, I suppose.. Soup.. Call it what you like. Okay, soup really.. See, apparently my mom has this fuck off soup pot lying around and I somehow fell over a batch of shanks and ox-tails, got one of those weird impulses and went like “Hey, I gotta get these, grab some vegetation as well, borrow my mom’s soup pot and.. Make soup! Yes, this I must!” .. And as we all know, once I get a crazy idea, I just pretty much gotta do it.. So, since my mom was dropping by that day, I requested she bring the pot which she gladly did and I immediately set to work.. At first under the scrutiny and watchful eye of my mother who, however, chose to depart after I’d deviated from her way of doing things one time too many.. But that’s just how I roll, I guess, I figure out I want to do something, I research things, discover various techniques, grab bits of pieces from each of them and end up doing things entirely different anyways.. And apparently my idea of browning the shanks before adding veggies and water didn’t go over with my dear, old mother, so having made the sign of the cross before her chest and what not, she rushed out.

I, on the other hand, finished up around the kitchen, added a fuckload of water to the pot, then sat down and got to work on my assignment.. Now, the funny thing about making soup is that, well, first and foremost, it takes time.. 8+ hours to be exact.. Secondly, it smells.. Lots.. And good.. Meaning that after a couple of hours, I was pretty much going all crazy-like as my apartment filled with the smell of beefy goodness. After a couple of more hours, I was going downright insane and decided to just leave my apartment in protest of what I could only describe as an attack on my sanity on the part of the soup.. So out into the cold, I went, wandering aimlessly, but not for long.

Having written Tina and complained about the state of things, she suggested I dropped by. With her having just (finally!) returned from the other side of the country, I’d never even thought of that option, but once she suggested it, I was only too happy to obide, so down there I went – and boy was it good to see her again! Or, well, other than the obvious, happy reunion hug, it was kinda like she’d never left, with us dropping right into our usual routine of me walking around like I owned the place, eating her food, poking fun of her for having “gotten fat” over the last couple of weeks (your own damn fault, really, sweetheart, that’s what you get for complaining endlessly over gaining like 200 grams), getting poked fun of in return and all that usual jazz.. Happy times!

Having eaten Tina’s food and bragged about getting to have pot roast for dinner which at the time sounded so much better than the MickeyD’s value meal dinner she had in sight, we headed off to buy a few groceries for Tina, bickering happily along the way as we walked down the aisles and picked stuff off the shelves.. Doing groceries really haven’t felt this damn good in a while, especially not when dear Tina surprised me by picking up on my eyeing a limited edition Brewer’s Reserve beer from Fuller and decided to pick it up for me since she decided I’d deserved it for taking care of her plants.. Awesome! Much appreciated! 🙂

After paying for everything, we headed back out into the cold, dark night, relocated Tina’s car, got in, commented for a while on Johan getting older and then drove back to Tina’s where we gathered some stuff from the car, including a pot of mine that had been living with Tina over the past few months, and carried it back upstairs. We then spent some time cleaning up and putting things in their rightful spots before I decided I’d probably better get back to my soup and my dinner. Thus, I borrowed a bag from Tina to stuff all my crap (pots, dishes, new-found beer, magazines and all) into and then headed off, single pot in hand, through town – cashing in on a few weird looks along the way – and home to my by now even more beefy smell induced apartment.

I spent about another hour going crazy over the fumes coming out of the pot, then finally evacuated the pot roast I’d let simmer along for dinner that night and extra flavor in general, and started the tedious process of getting a couple of gallons of soup strained into other containers.. Which was actually a hell of a lot more complicated than it sounds. I ended up straining everything into smaller pots, squeezing the extra liquid out of the mushy veggies and what not, then restraining stuff through a bunch of cheese cloth back into the large pot, setting it outside to chill down for a few hours while I grabbed a drink, some dinner and goofed about on the web. After some six hours, I returned my attention to the pot, lifted the fat (schmalz?) off the top of the broth, divided it evenly between a bunch of smaller containers and poured the broth on top.. All in all a fucking lot of work for two gallons of soup, but hey, I’d like to think it’ll be worth it. A lot of fun can be had with two gallons of broth.. Even if I didn’t follow my mom’s directions.

Having thusly taken care of everything, it was pretty much time to go to bed, the clock was nearing 3 AM and after a day of waking up at 5 AM, getting up at 9, writing, hanging with Tina, cooking and eating, I was pretty well spent.. Good times, though.

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