I could imagine it swearing at me from the cooler in the back seat, promising disaster for the indignity of being squished next to leftovers . I turned the radio up and tried to think of something else, but the fact was inescapable: at some point in the near future I was going to cook a prime rib for my family.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before (but am too lazy to go back and check), I don’t generally cook for other people. If it’s a potluck, sign me up for bread. There are things I can cook fairly well, like risotto and casseroles, but my Achilles heel has always been meat. Let’s just say at my house you’ll never wonder if the chicken is fully cooked. Doneness is apparent the instant a shriveled hunk lands on your plate. While I have no issues sadly chewing my way through a piece of pork with less moisture than the Sahara, it’s not something I want to inflict on anyone I actually LIKE.
So you can imagine my apprehension with this PRIME RIB in my backseat.
Night Before The Big Day
Seasoned His Evilness (aka HE aka prime rib) with salt and pepper. Then sat on the couch and pondered all that could be going wrong in my fridge. Got up to check on HE; it just sat there, mocking me. Go back and play some video games. Between outflanking zombies and bartering for better equipment consider whether I put too much salt on. I followed a recipe that PROMISED perfect results, but what if?! Check on HE again, wonder if leftovers will give it a funny taste. Throw away leftovers. Back to video game. Re-think timing approximately eight times.
The Big Day
Set oven to highest temperature. Put in HE. While running around getting everything else ready and pondering my limited oven space versus casseroles that need warming, notice I’m blinking a lot. Then notice smoky haze throughout apartment. Run to windows in valiant race to beat smoke detector. Open windows in 18 degree weather. It can’t be helped. Smoke detector thankfully doesn’t go off.
Over the next hour or so raise and lower the oven temperature per Magical Recipe. HE looks good in oven light, and the thermometer shows a steady creep towards medium rare. Still smoky, so make sure bedroom door is closed so I don’t smell like prime rib all next week at work. Realize I can’t fit chicken in oven; call brother to pick up KFC (grilled) for my dad.
Family has arrived. HE comes out looking beautiful. Majestic even. I have pulled this off. Tent with aluminum foil and put casseroles in to warm up while cooking risotto and pouring drinks and trying to tell my dad how to use the TV through my kitchen wall. No one has to wear their coat inside despite windows having been opened earlier. Gas heat FTW!
Cut open HE. Stare. Blink a few times hoping it’s just the smoke haze making it look like HE is brown all the way through except for a tiny medium rare part at the bottom. Resist stabbing HE ferociously.
Me: It’s overdone! But I followed the recipe!
Mom: It still smells great and look how juicy it is!
Mom: It’s going to be fine.
So I served it, and she was right. The rest of the food turned out well, my family gamely passed on steak sauce, and I enjoyed having them over. The dinner was a success. In the end HE only served as a catalyst for a quest to cook a prime rib to a delicious medium rare. Quiver in fear all you potential HE’s out there. In the end, I am determined to have the last laugh.