Monday, January 28, 2008

Feeling like a failure

Yesterday morning I decided to make breakfast; biscuits, bacon and scrambled eggs. It is a breakfast I've made plenty of other times before. But for some reason yesterday the biscuits were dry and crumbly. I'm the only one who ended up eating them because I made them but the worms ended up with most of them. I've made biscuits before that were good but I have no idea why these didn't turn out. And I felt like a complete failure as a woman. Biscuits are easy! 100 years ago children made biscuits, even men made biscuits if they were single. Biscuits were made over open fires. How can someone actually make biscuits that no one is willing to eat?

I was really upset about this yesterday and felt like totally giving up on all of it and going back to eating pre-prepared foods. My husband prefers them to the things I make anyway. I wondered why am I bothering doing all this work to feed my family healthy foods when all they want is the crap from the grocery store? I wondered am I really a bad cook? And I wondered how the hell are we going to survive if the grocery stores run out of food at some point? Will my family become less picky or will they just complain all the time? If my husband doesn't like something he'll just refuse to eat it and will pout that he now doesn't have anything to eat.

It was very disheartening yesterday. I can't make pot roast either. I've tried a number of times following the directions exactly and it is always dry and tough. Mark says that is just how pot roast is but I know I've had ones that are moist and fall apart with a fork. But I can't even get it that way. So, I can't make biscuits or roast, aren't these the easiest things to make?


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Erikka said...

1. biscuits and roast both require "the magic touch" - cooking them just long enough so they retain moistness. Some people are born with this skill, others must take time to learn it. Don't give up grasshopper.

2. a trick that I think people did in the olden days that made everything taste better - LARD. making a roast, you rub the outside with salt and lard, which can help to maintain moisture within...and I'm sure you can buy lard or fat from a local, organically raised pig...and some fat, natural fat, is GOOD FOR US!

Christy said...

I think you are right, lard is the key! I've been thinking about trying to track down some lard to make soap. Or maybe I'll raise a pig once we move and get my own lard. And I won't give up, well I have mostly on roast but I won't give up on biscuits. I know I've made good ones in the past I just have to identify what was different with the ones yesterday.

Kathryn and Ari said...

I'm a vegetarian, so I don't eat pot roast. But I have an awful time with biscuits. And don't get me started on pie crust: no matter how hard I try, it NEVER turns out right.

Wendy said...

Neither biscuits nor roast are easy to get right, seriously! For me, the key to cooking roast is to make sure it's cooked in a covered dish in a liquid, but I've prepared my share of shoe-leather meat. I'm lucky that my husband would eat bark, if I served it to him :).

This whole transition to non-processed food has been really hard for my family, but it's worth it - if just for the health benefits, but more, if I believe that processed food may become scarce, and I do, it really behooves me to do all I can to make the transition to non-processed, locally-sourced foods.

You're doing good, Christy. Don't lose heart :). They'll come around ;).

linda m said...

Have you ever thought about using a pressure cooker? We have a 6 quart Presto pressure cooker that we use all the time. We have never made a roast in it that hasn't been tender and juicy. Plus, a medium roast cooks in about 30 minutes. Both Joe's and my grandmothers used pressure cookers. And NO, they don't blow up!!! We really love ours and wouldn't part with it.

Christy said...

Kathryn - I've never even attempted pie crust! I know that would be a failure. I stick to making crisps. And knowing you have problems with biscuits too makes me feel better.

Wendy - Thanks! I think I was mostly discouraged because of my husband's reluctance to change in food. I did manage to make pita today that was pretty good, although DH had to point out it was more of a flat bread instead of a pita.

Mom - I have never used a pressure cooker. My aunt gave me an old one of hers but I've been nervous to try it. I do have a crock pot I've used, I guess I could do a roast in that. Really, Mark isn't much of a roast fan (but that could be because he's only had dry ones).

Em said...

horse pucky. There's no magic touch. Everyone has off days when they're cooking. Sometimes ingredients aren't the freshest, or maybe the humidity is off. Take a hint from the movie Ratatouille "anyone can cook" It is in no way, shape, or form your fault. I've made biscuits just about every there is. (oil, lard, shortening, butter.) As for pot roast, even the meat labled "roast" can produce a lousy pot roast. Look for one that has a little bit more fat on it. I do half red wine and half water, about an inch over the roast. Cook it at a low temp for longer. That's the key. It makes for more tender meat. I believe in you. You aren't a failure in any sense. As for a cranky DH, try having a designated night where he cooks everything. Stick to it. He'll get the point when you or the kids turn up your noses at something he makes. Just skip the "I told you so"

Anonymous said...

So sorry you had a bad day Christy. I can relate. My husband and kids are picky too. It can be tough. I'll post a good biscuit recipe for you that I've had a lot of luck with. The key is to not touch the dough all that much. And try using that crock pot with that roast. It's the only way I cook roast nowadays. Especially the drier, leaner grass fed beef. You're doing good girl! Here's hoping today's a better day.

jenny said...

I feel your pain.. I think I'm a fairly good cook, but I never could make a good buscuit. I think it is because my hearts not in it, I don't really care for buscuits and prefer rolls.

As for the pot roast, I make that one pretty good, where it falls apart and tender... Get a roast that has a layer of fat on one side and leave it on. Put it in a pan with the fat on top, then add enough water to fill the pan halfway. Add onions and spices then cover tightly with foil and cook at 400 for about 3 hours without touching it. Check it by cutting in half to make sure it is done (we like ours well done with no pink) and then cover it back up and cook it for another hour with potatoes and carrots added to the pan. Yummo! Leftovers make great sandwiches the next day!

Don't give up, you'll get it sooner or later!

Christy said...

Thanks Em, Farm mom and Jenny! I feel better today. I think I've pinpointed a few problems that I will fix. I over handled the butter when cutting it in and I think it melted which I've since read is bad. Also, I believe I kneaded the dough a little too much. It was very crumbly and I was trying to get it all incorporated. I probably would have been better off adding a little more liquid.

Twinville said...

I won't even talk about my own bisquit making skills. Some days their good and others, well, others they make good worm fodder, too! hehe

As for the roasts, I only use a crock pot to cook them, after browning for a bit in a pan first. It turns out moist and buttery every time. My secret is using a few TBLS of bacon fat while cooking. Bacon makes everything taste good!

Happy Cooking!

Misty said...

Hi Christy! I just stumbled on your blog today looking how to improve my own crumbly biscuits :)

As for pot roast, I had a terrible time, but found the perfect one.

3-4 pound chuck roast (not TOO much fat though, like the Angus ones--makes the end result too greasy). Cut up in 2 to 3 pieces. Rub the roast in 1 package of dry onion soup mix. Put in Dutch oven on the stovetop. Add 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, 1 bay leaf, a clove of chopped garlic and some black pepper. Cover and cook on med/lo heat with about 1/2 cup water for about two hours. Now, mix one can cream of mushroom soup with just a bit of water and add. You may have to stir into the juices a bit. Cover and continue cooking about 2 hours more, checking about every 1/2 hour or so for tenderness. As it cooks the final time, start pulling it apart with some forks, and continue cooking and pulling apart occasionally until the liquid thickens up and the meat looks nice and dark and easily falls apart. You may need to crack the lid open a bit the final hour or so to let some liquid evaporate.

Remember--decent chuck roast with not too much fat and DON't add salt. The soups will be salty enough. My husband drools every time I make this one now :)