Sunday, June 29, 2008

Welcome to The Jungle

NO, NO. This isn't about them or that horrid song.

So then, are my children even crazier than usual, and my house extremely humid like a tropical rainforest, due to 6 pre-Church showers? Well, yes; but no, that's not what this is about. Keep guessing.

What? Am I finally going to post photos of Jake's golf trip to Costa Rica last December? Um, I wasn't planning on it, since he's got his own blog he could use if he wanted; but here's one if you are interested (playing Tarzan instead of golf):

Well, then, if none of those, could I be referring to the graphic, stomach-turning images of unhealthy meat packing, made famous in the 1906 Upton Sinclair novel, The Jungle, a book that I have never read?

YES, YES, that's it! You've guessed it! (I really didn't think you would).

You see, unlike everybody else, (who totally loves it like they love puppies and chocolate chip cookies) I am not a big fan of raw meat. I avoid it, mostly. I buy flash frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, so I don't have to manhandle them, much. Or whole, seasoned, cooked birds at Costco. Semi-annually, I buy a roast and cook it in the crock pot until it is shrivelled and nearly charred. I have been known to attempt a few rather tame things with ground beef. I do prefer the people at In-N-Out to do the work for me, if possible. If I had to kill my own meat, there is 100% chance I would be a vegetarian.

In college, my roommate/cousin Melanie would occasionally make me buy meat, but she would mostly cook it, all the while making jokes that she was going to leave the little blood-soaked pillow at the bottom of the package under my bed pillow. These good-natured jabs would often give me horrible dreams, which in psychiatric jargon are called meat-mares (or should be).

These days, Melanie has been canning her own meat at home. When, say, chicken goes on sale at Albertsons, she buys 20 pounds and 'puts it up'. I once walked in on one of Melanie's meat disciples, Heather, with a sink full of raw meat, while I was in the throes of morning sickness with Tom. I nearly puked on Heather's living room rug.

One day, though, Melanie gave me a 1/2 pint jar of beef and told me to go make some tacos. When I finally got around to it, 6 months later, Jane told me it was the best meat she ever had in her life (course, the standard is quite low at our house, but it WAS good), and the rest of the kids concurred. So when Melanie told me the beef prices were low because the cattlemen can't afford to feed them and are slaughtering them, I thought, okay, I'm ready. Let's do this.

So we did. I canned meat. 18 pints in Aunt Ardy's pressure canner. Then, I might have gotten a little crazy, and did more on Saturday night, since we couldn't find a single babysitter; even though we called like 40 of them, who all had better things to do. You know I totally would have gone to that party and maybe seen Get Smart, instead of playing with meat, given the chance. I may have joined the meat cult, but I haven't been fully brainwashed. YET.

I'm fairly sure at some point in my past, I said something like "Me? Can meat? Sure, right before the world comes to an end." So you all better watch out for the Apocalypse. Cause I think I also said something similar about me driving a minivan. And we've had 4 mini-vans. So, repent if you need it (and we all do). The time could be nigh.

If this is the end, though, I'm ready. With lots of beef in jars. (I'd put a photo of my actual jars on here, but Tommy took off with the cable that sucks pics from the camera to the computer.)

This morning, Melanie called and tried to lure me back into The Jungle with cheap chicken tenders at Sprouts. (Tempting, since tenders don't need any butching before being stuffed into jars). But I haven't given in to temptation. YET.

Still, I have joined the ranks of the meat packers. I've got the bloody apron. Now, is there some sort of union I need to sign up for, or some Safeway I need to picket?

Just let me know.


Beeswax said...

What, ya'all have nothin to say about MEAT?

Eric and Breanna Graham said...

I share your raw meat aversion. But I have canned my own meat. It was easier than I thought. I've only done chicken. I have to work my self up to do the beef. But I plan to soon.

Brett & Shireen said...

where do you keep all these jars of meat?

Natalie said...

Shiver...did you say bloody apron? ick Good for you, though, I recently discovered making mixes in washed out ice cream containers for pancakes/waffles and quick breads. I love having stuff ready to grab and make something amazing with!

The Motherboard said...

I totally feel your pain. I am so glad I wasn't a pioneer-- because we would have been eating a lot of berries and roots! ICK!

I had no idea you could can meat! Crazy! If you lived around me, I would totally join the meat cult with you!

Those are some mad skillz, you've got there!

Renae Alexander said...

Meat Mares....I love it.
Yeah! Another almost convert! ;) Justin calls my bottled meat my "fetal pig in a jar" or "science experiment". But he stops making fun when we have super fast delicious green chile chicken, beef or pork, enchiladas, sweet pork salad, cafe rio chicken, bbq beef sandwiches. chicken salad, etc, etc. I love hearing that other people are doing it.

Fat & Sassy said...

I am so impressed...I have never done that before...and being the food canning specialist in our ward you'd think I would have at least tried it...You'll be the smart one when the rest of us are going hungry...I want to know more about the mixes in the ice cream containers from are all pretty smart...

Alyson said...

I've never actually heard of canning meat. I know I'm not the most domestic of woman (I've gone kicking and screaming into domesticity), but I would I would be aware of something like this. It sounds bizarre to me. Where do you keep the cans?!

I also have issues with meat. I'm an almost vegitarian. I can get really grossed out at the texture. My meat needs to not feel like flesh. YUCK!

Pam said...

I'm so impressed with your meat skillz. I am with you though when it comes to the meat mares although if it tastes good I might have to convert. I guess my next purchase might have to be a pressure cooker so I can be like you again. You did convert me to the wheat grinder already. You are my hero :)

Jolene said...

I love canned meat! It is so easy and fast! Renee Alexander converted me when we were preparing for girl's camp one year and we had to cook our own meals. It is awesome.

Sorry about the babysitting. We were out of town all week and when I told my babysitters that you had called they were bummed. Especially Courtney - she thinks that Sam is the cutest thing on two legs.