Monday, 7 March 2011
Pork... oh dear
I've just cooked pork for the first time in my little flat (FYI, it did not look at all like the above picture, my actual food was guzzled before I thought of taking a picture. I know, careless). The house I lived in prior to this one was with my parents and my dad was a very big pork cooker so I've never previously had the privilege of cooking this particular meat myself.
When I initially bought this meat on my Tesco delivery shop I was overcome with the excitement of being a proper cook who cooks meat from scratch and without the use of the microwave. The meat arrived with the rest of my shop and I cleverly realised that I should put it straight in the freezer as I would not be eating my meat for a while and did not want it to go off.
Step one of being a proper cook was complete and I was proud. I walked around the place with my head that little bit higher because I was on my way to being a true independent woman who does true independent cooking.
A week passed and I was finally ready for my big Pork Chop cook. I strutted proudly to the freezer a whole night early so as to allow the pork to thaw (I remembered to do this due to me being a supreme cook) and opened the packet of four pork chops. Knowing that I couldn't possibly eat all four chops at once I went to pick just one of the porks out of the plastic box and gaped moronically as all four followed it. Ah. They had frozen together.
Not a problem. I had recently purchased a massive butcher knife that couldn't possibly let me down in being awesome and separating the frozen meat.
EDIT: Upon looking at this photo I would like to stress that, contrary to how it may look on this picture, the knife was in fact in front of me whilst I posed and I was not trying to slice my cheek open.
The huge knife alas then proceeded to letting me down. I was heart broken for about two minutes and spent a few moments staring at the knife whilst fighting back angry tears and overcoming my feeling of betrayal. After I'd put the knife down however I realised that I had no option but to defrost all four chops and see what I could get away with doing with it without poisoning myself.
What I could do, I found out the next day, was not much at all.
I went out for a late lunch with two of my lovely ladies, Claire and Rachael, who have openly told me they will not be reading this blog due to not enjoying reading on computers... it makes me feel slightly giddy with power at their flat out refusal because I could say anything and they would never know!
Damn it, I can't think of anything. I wish there was a T shirt for this kind of thing. Oh wait there is.
Anywho. I mentioned my pork fiasco to them and how I now had to cook four pork chops when really I only had the stomach to eat one... maybe two. Claire and Rachael are my 'i've lived independently for years and know what I am doing' grown up friends. They are very useful in these situations as well as being very fun to play cards with and watch Kill Bill with.
Claire began shaking her head in that way that said, 'Lisa you have made a rookie mistake' and automatically I felt my cook pride dwindle within me and my head dropped a few inches from it's previous high place. This lead to the following conversation.
Claire: Oh Lisa, you don't freeze four pork chops together
Lisa: You don't?
Claire: Not unless you're hungry for a whole pig.
Lisa: What did I do wrong?
Claire: You should have separated them before hand. Then the meat could be eaten individually.
We sit in silence as I slowly deflate inside.
Lisa: Ah. That seems entirely sensible. I probably should have thought of that.
It was after this point that I then found out just how dangerous cooking pork chops is. The following rules needed to be followed completely in order to escape the possibility of death.
1. You must cook all the meat within 24 hours or you will throw up and die.
2. You must ensure that there is no pink in the meat at all once you have cooked it otherwise you will throw up and die.
3. You must not reheat the meat (even in the microwave) once it has cooled as doing so will cause you to throw up and die.
4. Do not cook meat in the same pan as any other meat otherwise eating either of these meats will cause you to throw up and die.
5. You must ensure that the meat is cooked just to white and not for any longer otherwise... well you won't throw up and die, it just won't be very nice.
I went home, took the pork out of the fridge and stared at it, a thin bead of sweat poured down my forehead as I contemplated all the rules there were in order to keep myself from dying a violent and puke filled death. It almost didn't seem worth it anymore. If only I had known when I had been internet shopping with Tescos.
However I am no quitter. I had bought the pork. I had defrosted the pork. I was darn well going to eat the sodding pork. I talked myself up, reminding myself that I was a strong independent woman who had her own flat and her own grocery list. I was capable of this, no, I was BORN to do this. Once I had worked myself up into a cooking frenzy, the heights of which would make any independent woman proud, I reached across the counter, picked up the phone and called my mum.
Mum and 'pork cooking expert' dad talked me through it step by step. They told me exactly what I had to do, the exact temperature to grill my meat and when to know to take it out. Re-iterating over and over, 'just as long as it isn't pink on the inside, you should be fine.'
I put the phone down, cooked some noodles to go with my 'mission impossible' food and once I double and triple checked that the pork wasn't pink I added them with the noodles, crossed myself, said a little prayer and ate the meal.
About halfway through I noticed my new rookie mistake of course. I'm one of those really classy ladies that eat everything with ketchup. I had smeared the ketchup over noodles and pork and as a result the juices soaked into the meat. Several times I caught pink sections in my otherwise beautifully white meat. I made a judgement call and ate the rest. I fear that may have been the wrong call. I don't feel too well...
NB: In case you're worried, I wouldn't be, my body likes to think it's a hypochondriac. I had a standard safety training session at work today, when they mentioned rashes I started to itch and examine my skin. When they talked about diarrhoea and vomiting virus, my stomach did a somersault and insisted it was going to try and throw up. When we were discussing bacteria passing through hand hygiene, my hands suddenly felt sticky and disease ridden. Luckily my brain was there to keep them all in check and tell them they were being stupid. I'm sure it will rescue the day for this situation as well and argue the logic to my body before it tries to give up on me altogether.