On Friday morning I was so jazzed to start my day by putting a pork shoulder in the crock pot. My mom has been talking about this dish for weeks, about how easy it is, how the meat just falls off the bone, and that I have to try it, so I finally went to the supermarket, got myself a nice big piece of pork shoulder and started getting excited about the taste of tender pork. According to my mom, the way to do it is to put it in the crock pot with some loosely chopped onions and jar of barbecue sauce. And ps, that is barbecue with a “c.” I thought it was a “q” and I could not figure out why spellcheck was calling me out… I guess you read BBQ so much you think the word must have a “q” it doesn’t. Just fyi…. Anyway, according to the internet, it is best to first braise the pork and then make little slits and stuff it with garlic (I did this with brisket once and it was Fan-f*cking-tastic, and I rarely use the f word on my blog, so you know I am SERIOUS). The internet also talked about adding red wine, chicken broth and some other stuff, so I did a variation on everyone’s recipe and did my own eclectic thing, with the braising, the garlic, onions, some wine, a little broth. It was also the perfect opportunity to use up the miscellaneous 5 oz. bottles of half empty barbecue sauce we have had in the pantry for practically ever. I poured it all in the crock pot, shut the lid, turned it to low, and went about my busy day with daydreams of tender pork intermittently penetrating my consciousness.
Evening came and I tasted my aromatic concoction to test for done-ness. No sooner had I swallowed it than my throat began to burn and my eyes smarted with tears. What the Hades!?
“Dan, taste this!!?”
Dan tasted it. I should say it was probably not very nice of me not to even warn him, considering Dan is more of a mild spicy person while I am more of a medium to very spicy person as far as our food preferences, but I was collecting data. Dan confirmed my findings. He sort of lurched his neck forward and opened his eyes wide as he swallowed.
“What did you do?”
“I don’t know. Why is this so spicy!? Oh my god, I don’t even know if we can eat this!”
“I was wondering why all the hot sauce bottles were empty.”
I paused. What was Dan talking about?
“Hot sauce?? That was barbecue sauce!!”
Dan maintained it was hot sauce and that he likes to eat it on his eggs.
“But I’ve never seen you do that. I thought we never ate that stuff. What the hell? That is barbecue sauce!! I swear to God. If it’s not barbecue sauce, why does it say “Barbecue Sauce” right on the label!???”
Dan said nothing but took one of the empty bottles and brought it up to my face. I read the words, stupefied.
“HARRY’S HABENERO HOT SAUCE!? ARE YOU F-ING KIDDING ME!? I THOUGHT THIS WAS BARBECUE SAUCE. JESUS H. CHRIST. I HAVE RUINED THIS MEAL!!!!”
I glared at Dan.
“How come you never told me that was hot sauce??”
Dan looked at me and paused for a moment. Slowly, he replied, “I guess I thought you would read the label.”
I looked at him, disgusted.
“Are you seriously mad at me?”
“No. Ok yes, I was. But I shouldn’t have been. I am just mad at the whole situation.” Yes ok, I admit it. I admit it to the whole internet. I was mad at my husband because I added half a cup worth of hot sauce to the crock pot pork shoulder. I am both crazy and mean, the worst combination.
I added a cup of chicken broth, hoping it would dilute the mouth burning flavor, to no avail.
I thought serving it with a side of rice might neutralize the heat, but I was wrong there as well. It was indeed tender, but the only thing I could really taste was hot. I wouldn’t say I am a foodie (no doy, right?) but even I know “hot” is not a flavor.
Sufficiently satiated for our date to the Boulder International Film Festival, which is actually special because that was where we went for our first date, we grabbed some minty gum as we left the house well in advance, knowing we would need to allow ample time to park, to wait in line, and to get toward the front of the line so I might be availed the opportunity to avoid sitting behind a tall person, which was what happened to me at the noontime showing of “The Firstgrader.” I said it was a busy day, I didn’t say I wasn’t enjoying it.
We ran into our friends in line for the movie and because they were ahead of us, they said they’d save us seats. It seemed so perfect. As we neared the front of the line, Dan mentioned his stomach was hurting because of how spicy the pork was. Unlike our first date, I got totally defensive and I was like “How do you know that’s why your stomach hurts? Maybe its because you ate too much of it.” Which was wrong of me to say, on so many levels. The truth is, one bite of it was far too much and Dan was exceptionally kind to even give it a chance. Dan told me he knew it was because of the spicy factor because his stomach had never felt like this before. I followed our friends to the upper level of Boulder Theater and turned around and Dan was gone. I looked all around but I couldn’t find him. And he didn’t even have his phone. Did he go to the bathroom? Why would he go to the bathroom without at least mentioning it? He disappeared. I did another loop around the theater, a little bit frantic. I was getting pissed. Would it have killed him to tell me, “Hon, I am going to the men’s room.” What if he was not in the men’s room? I needed to test out my movie seat and make sure no one too tall was sitting in front of me before it was too late to find a new seat. Where was he??
Finally he appeared.
“Where did you go!?” I asked, not warmly. Dan looked a little frazzled as he explained they wouldn’t let him in because his ticket (the one I had printed online) was for the wrong movie and we were supposed to be at the church across the street for our movie. Why they scanned my ticket and let me in was a mystery, but obviously a mistake. He said he called me from some phone but my phone was off and they wouldn’t let him in to find me until he gave them his drivers license for collateral.
What movie was this that we were in, I wanted to know. Why was this not “Into Eternity“? How could our movie be anywhere other than here? Dan assured me it did not matter, but that we needed to get our act together and go to the church so we could see the movie we actually had tickets for. We bade our friends a rushed goodbye, Dan got his license back, and we booked it over to the church.
“I can’t believe it’s at the church!” I cried, indignant.
“Pam, it says the location right on the ticket.”
Indeed it did. Right on the ticket I had printed out an entire day ago. The ticket I could have read but didn’t. This whole reading thing was turning out to be the bane of my existence. Instead of being mad at having to read I redirected my anger at Dan.
“I was so pissed that you just disappeared from me! I had no idea where you were.”
“Pam, are you seriously mad at me?”
“Well… I was. But I’m not. No. I’m mad we are now not going to be early for this movie and I might have to sit behind someone tall again.”
It turned out we had great seats, I was able to see fine in between the heads of the two people sitting directly in front of me, and the movie was depressing, but really good. Also, this time I knew what a documentary was (yes, there was a time when I didn’t even know what a documentary was), which was definitely a plus.
Thank you Dan, for three awesome years, for being your awesome self and enjoying another BIFF movie with me and for discovering I have the capacity to be alternately crazy, angry, defensive, impatient, and illiterate all in one evening and for loving me anyway.