Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beef Stew Kinds of Days

This is definitely a blah day as far as days go. It’s the type of day which has been grey and gloomy with the promise of rain but the rain hasn’t actually arrived yet. The weather keeps telling us it’s going to arrive but we’re in the nether area where the sun has abandoned us and the rain is yet to fall.

It’s really what I like to call a beef stew kind of day which is why I’m having beef stew for dinner.

Beef stew days are gloomy days where nothing really fabulous happens and it seems like everyone’s under their own little dark cloud. In our office, we’re having a wee bit of stress regarding finding candidates- we have the jobs but no one to fill them- so everyone’s a little bit tense. Also, it’s still close to the beginning of the week which means people are still in a bit of a post-weekend funk.

Beef stew days are days where the idea of going home, curling up on the couch with your cuddly object of choice (mine are my dachshund pups- Sookie and Rory but yours might be a cat, person or stuffed animal depending on your preference), putting on a favourite film or TV show and eating a big bowl of beef stew.

Unless, of course, you’re a vegetarian and you don’t eat beef so then you might want something like macaroni and cheese. Or tomato soup.

Unless of course you’re a vegan and you don’t eat dairy so you might choose to eat a bowl of watery-er tomato soup (because, let’s face it, it’s WAY better with real milk) or you might eat, uh, a bowl of…lentils? Rice? Sorry….I respect vegans for their dietary choices but I don’t think I’m mentally capable of being one and, honestly, have no desire to so thus, I’m not as familiar with vegan comfort foods as I could be.

Anyway, you get my point. Today is a comfort food type of day. I still prefer to call it a beef stew kind of day. You can substitute your comfort food of choice re: the above babbling.

I like beef stew. I didn’t when I was younger. In fact, I was quite opposed to all ‘gravy dinners’. Just ask my poor mother who worked hard to make sure I had something on the plate I liked. ‘Gravy dinners’ to me, as a child in England, were things like beef casserole, liver and bacon (which, by the way, is still a big ‘yuck’ to me now) and mince and gravy (I don’t think there’s an American equivalent of this but essentially it’s hamburger that is simmered in a thick beef gravy and served with either mashed potatoes (traditional) or noodles (I think that’s my family’s German twist on it). I hated mince. I liked the noodles. My grandmother would make her version but she’d make it a little different and I loved it. My mother may still hold a grudge about that.

Regardless, I did not like gravy dinners as a child. I preferred dinners with chips (french fries), baked potatoes or anything fried. Also, I preferred ‘non dinners’ such as beans on toast, bacon sandwiches or bread and cheese. It wasn’t that I refused to eat them because otherwise I’d have been hungry. I just would pick at them. Until we got a microwave, I’d have to eat mashed potatoes which I only recently have started liking, if you can believe that. I used to use the mashed potato in which to bury the unwanted components of my meal. I used to try to make it look like I simultaneously had eaten some of my mashed potato and also that I hadn’t buried pieces of liver in it. I know liver is good for you but the texture was and is vile to me. Also, it smelled funny. Then again, I used to think lasagna smelled like vomit and now I’m a huge fan of anything like that so…things do change as a child.

Anyhow, I don’t think my mashed potato reverse-excavations were really that successful. I’m pretty sure my mother knew that I was hiding my food. When we did get a microwave, my mother would kindly make me a baked potato instead of the mashed so I would, at least, have something on the dinner plate that I liked. Yes, I am from a generations where microwaves were actually once a new technology and yes, I know this makes me sound old.

I disliked gravy dinners a lot. Including beef stew which, really, was the same as beef casserole. It was just cooked in a different dish.

The, as I’ve mentioned before, somewhere in my late teens, my tastebuds changed. Either that or as a constantly-hungry college student/summer intern, I realized that eating something was better than being hungry and I started eating different things.

Now, I’m a foodie and I am far more open. I even eat gravy dinners now. I often make mincemeat and gravy with noodles on cooler days. That’s a good comfort food. I even make beef stew as I did for tonight. I serve it on my terms- i.e. no mashed potatoes with it. Instead, I prefer a nice piece of crusty bread. It’s actually quite healthy too because of the large amount of veggies in it. It was simmering in the crockpot all day, ready for me to come home to on this gloomy, grey day. It’s a nice, thick, bowl of comfort that’s easily made and left to its own devices as it simmers its way to readiness.

It’s the perfect antidote to a blah day where not much happens and even the rain is dithering on whether it wants to come down or not.

Yep, this has definitely been a beef stew sort of day.

Happy Wednesday!

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