It snows in Pennsylvania–a lot–from Thanksgiving through late April. This weekend is a prime example. Local weather reports are predicting a heavy downfall this afternoon through tomorrow. It’s got folks all over the Susquehanna Valley running around in ‘store-up-provisions’ frenzies. Supermarkets are crowded, shelves are emptying fast, and everywhere I go, I hear people whining about the dangers of the freezing cold, and icy road conditions. Their complaints are beginning to grate on my nerves.
OK, I get it. It’s going to snow! But it snows all winter! We shovel, we drive, we work, we shop for bread and milk. Enough already! All that whining and frenzy every time it snows just creates more unnecessary chaos in an already chaotic world. Haiti has earthquakes, California has mudslides and forest fires, Louisiana has hurricanes, Indiana has floods, and Pennsylvania has ‘SNOW’? C’mon folks, will someone please ‘get a grip’!
For all of us, impending threats from natural forces or any event we can’t control, is unsettling. This weekend, Pennsylvanians are unsettled, and we’re not alone. Winter storms are predicted for the entire eastern coast of the US. Dairy farmers, bread bakers, snow plow drivers, and hardware store owners are ecstatic! Parents, on the other hand, are already showing signs of post-traumatic ‘the-kids-are home-from-school-for-a-few-days’ stress.
At work, we’ve found a pretty cool solution to the ‘I-might-be-stuck-at-work-this-weekend’ dilemma. We all bring in food, and have an impromptu party–the whole weekend! I’ve decided to bring soup.
I cook soup and most other crock-pot meals in the oven. I brown the meat, add veggies, stock etc, depending on what I’m cooking, and put it in the oven all night at 200 degrees! I cook in my sleep!
It’s easy to regulate electric ovens, so nothing burns and nothing shrinks either. Cooking meat at low temperatures prevents the meat from drying out or shriveling. Pot roast, turkey, soup, or roast pork and sauerkraut are my favorite choices for this slow-and-low method of cooking.
The really cool thing is that I don’t have to watch it. Sometimes (OK, so maybe more than ‘sometimes’) I’ll get busy doing something more interesting and lose track of cooking times. Then the regular menu ends up as a nasty heap of charcoal in the trash container.
Today I’m making minestrone-style beef vegetable soup. The slow-cooking process melds the flavors together. It will taste even better tomorrow! Other folks will bring the bread, salad, and other goodies. We’re going to have a yummy ‘comfort-food’ weekend!