Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 22, 2013

Making the most of a roast

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — So I made a big pot of vegetable soup the other night. The only reason I made a big pot was because I can’t seem to make a little bit of anything.

My cooking skills grew out of on-the-job training since I married young and my experience with the culinary arts was minor. When your mom’s as good a cook as mine was, you stay out of the kitchen and let her perform her magic.

Luckily, dear departed Hubby’s mother wasn’t all that good a cook. So he was willing to settle for the basics like hamburgers, chicken and noodles and the old standby, fried bologna sandwiches.

I began paying more attention to my mother’s wizardry at the stove and she began giving me cookbooks and old family recipes. Before long I learned how to make gravy without lumps, edible meat loaf and truly wonderful pork chops.

My mother, bless her heart, was one of those people who never fixes just enough at a meal. I suppose it’s because her parents often had drop-in company who stayed to eat, so she learned to make a little extra.

I adopted the same habit. Besides, there are some foods so good you want to make sure there are leftovers that can also become a second meal.

My vegetable soup is made like my mom’s, except I cheat and use a frozen soup vegetable blend. It starts with cooking a roast with potatoes, onions and carrots. That’s dinner one night and the next day, soup is the entree.

I made that pot roast Saturday evening. Sunday morning, before I left for church, I chopped up the leftover meat, added the veggies and a can of diced tomatoes and set the slow cooker on high.

Quite honestly, I knew I was making way too much soup for one person. But my daughter loves vegetable soup, so I figured she’d not only eat some on Sunday, but take some to work with her on Monday.

Nope. She just wasn’t in a vegetable soup mood, she announced.

Grandgirl I, who lives in  my house, was watching the football game with her boyfriend. I shouted to them that the soup was ready and got an “OK!” shoutback.

I ate my bowl of soup, went outside to do some painting and then headed off to choir practice at church. Naturally, I headed back to the slow cooker for some more soup for supper.

The volume hadn’t diminished at all. Apparently no one wanted my soup but me — and the animals.

A circle of pets watched as I ladled the rich, savory stuff into a bowl. I’ve learned to ignore those pleading eyes since I know people food isn’t good for them. The dog spoke for the cats as well with one plaintive “Woof!” which I answered with “Your dishes are full. Go eat.”

You can guess how far that got me. I put the lid back on the pot, pushed my way through the circle and truly enjoyed my second serving of soup for the day.

I liked it pretty well for lunch on Monday, too. But today I decided perhaps I should play Lady Bountiful and share the wealth of veggie soup with my loved ones. I figure if I time it right, I can get to their house when they’re both at work, sneak it into the fridge and then text them about the lovely surprise awaiting them.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at  cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net