F 1 D 0 -- 02 09 06 at 16 45

Just meat and potatoes.

The first time it was simply laziness.
The second time, I realized what a good
idea it was. And the third time, I consider
it entirely repeatable.

For those times you just want meat and
potatoes, you can recreate this too.

I started with a thick pork butt chop.
It was frozen, and treated with soy before
freezing, in case that makes a difference.

Nuked it for two minutes, so I could
break it into two pieces. Now it fits 
neatly into the bottom of my rice maker.

Oh, when I say "simmer" it is just the
ricemaker "keep warm" setting. This is 
plenty for me.

I seasoned it with salt. No, I coated it
with salt. The salt I'm using is half salt,
half potassium salt. I coated it next with
pepper; the kind that has been diluted with
wheatlets so even children can just pour it on.

Covered it with enough water, and started
quartering potatoes. I don't like peeling
if the potatoes are clean enough. I put in
six small potatoes, surrounding the still
frozen pork steak.  I tasted the juice for
saltiness. It needed more, so I added a small

I peeled four garlic cloves, halved them, and
threw them in as well.

I just let it boil for a little while. 

After 10 minutes, I turned it to simmer, removed 
the meat, and cut it into fingers, then returned it to
the pot. After another 10 minutes of boiling, I
reduced the heat again, and sliced the potatoes smaller. 
And after yet another 10 minutes of boiling, I
cubed the fingers of meat into smaller bits.

This was ready, but I let it stay on "keep"
all night long. 

The finished result has a thick stock, but not
a gravy. It has a taste and smell of something
of northern europe.  

When I had some last night, it reminded me of 
something that happened at Comspec years ago.

We were the representatives for Acorn, the people
who manufacture the British educational computers,
also called BBC computers. Since they're sort of
governmental computers, they are found in all
classrooms in England, at least, they were when
I was working at Comspec.

Once a year, we would host the Acorn sales administrative
people. This was a mixed blessing, really. To those on
the outside, it was a chance to show off some international
stature to the boards of education we were selling to. For
us, their visit was really a small slice of Hell. They were
visiting to see if we could be removed from the sales chain,
and to see if they could convince the boards to deal directly
with them (Acorn) or our importers (Olivetti Canada). 

Joe, our fearless leader, had a policy of always making
the best of difficult circumstances, and so we did. We
held mini conferences at the schools which loved the 
Archimedes (Acorn) computers the most. We brought
together as many of the users, teachers, experts, sales
people, consultants as we possibly could. 

Their job was to show that they [1] loved Acorn
systems, but [2] loved them because they loved
Comspec best.  We might have been successful at
this, but big companies are about dollars and 
sense.  If they can do their own retailing to
schools, they will make the 20-40% profits on
each sale. 

These figures are wrong, of course. Schools buy
things by Tender. So everyone has to bid. If you
put down a number which lets you make a few dollars,
you'll probably lose the sale. I'm not a numbers
expert on our old sales, but I think we worked 
with less than 5% margin in those days. 

But the way the computer manufacture guys see it, 
they counted around 100 computers. They sell for
2500.00 each. So 100*2500*.4 is 100,000.00 that
they think should be THEIRS, not ours.

Acorn wasn't the only one who would change the
deal as they saw fit. Commodore Business Machines
was the very WORST. But I digress; I was thinking
about Acorn.

It was at such yearly meetings we'd get the food
together as well as the people. My brother was called
in to cater for our event. 

He'd make Chicken Brochettes with a Mango Thai sauce,
his specialty cheesecake, and many other wonderful 

We heard from Trusted Sources that if we wanted to
impress our delegates, we'd need to offer them food
that was plainer, simpler.  Like what?  They suggested
we prepare Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. 

We didn't have to cancel the catering. But we were
advised to ensure that wherever we chose to eat or
cater, that there should also be food for simpler
palates. "They'll eat the gourmet choices if that's
all there is, but if you want to impress them, make
sure there are simple comfortable food choices."

She knew. Dorothy had worked with them before in
Europe, and so we made plans.

The deal was this: I ran the nonstick frying pan!
I had a loaf of white, and a loaf of brown bread.
People could choose processed cheese or cheddar.
We had ketchup, as well as hot sauces. 

True to form, our visitors ran to the Grilled Cheese
bar I stood at. 

But then the unexpected happened: fresh grilled
cheese seems to advertise.  The auditorium was 
filled with a smell of fresh toast and butter.
By the time I got through the first five, everyone 
present wanted one.

There was room. I started a second fry pan
to handle the load.

And so if you can picture this with me: a long
line of people, some students, some teachers, 
some computer staff, all lined up waiting for
a custom grilled cheese.

It was *this* image that filled me as I had
my meat and potatoes last night. I was able
to smell the toast crumbs, the thoughts were
so pure.

That's all I know.