Meat ‘n’ Two

Good Eatin’ iii

This is the third in an occasional series of Good Eatin’, kind of a sidebar usually involving leftovers (LO), where I will describe an easily put together meal that we enjoyed very recently, maybe yesterday.

This turkey has been taking up a huge amount of space in our undercounter freezer for months. (Yet another reason why the term “turkey” is a derogatory appelation.) We bought the freezer two summers ago when I changed 60 pounds of fresh tomatoes—Early Girl and San Marzano—into tomato sauce. Now, besides tomato sauce, we use it for various stocks, and stuff we buy frozen on the cheap, bags of shrimp and yes, White Castle Hamburgers in an 8 pack box. I guess the turkey falls into that category; frozen, on-the-cheap. Carol bought it on sale just after Christmas, a good buy, but it’s been there ever since. Last week, I’m looking for fish stock and all I can see is this massive turkey (okay, its only 12 pounds, but the freezer has only 3 shelves, and its taking up the middle one).

freezer.JPG“Carol!! When are you going to do something with this @!#$%^&*()~ turkey?!!”

“Take it out,” she says. “It’ll take two days to thaw. Get some Yukon Gold potatoes, I’ll do it with smashed potatoes.”

At the Safeway the next day, they have Yukon Gold potatoes, but they’re huge and ugly and look bruised. I’m not buying those. I look in the “organic” section of the produce department, where everything looks better and costs way more. They have these small potatoes in a branded mesh bag, “Melissa’s Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes, Home Grown Goodness! No butter required,” it says on the label. Good. But instead of 69 ¢ per pound, they’re $2.89 for 24 ounces. Well, they’ll no doubt make three meals.

Carol goes into her meat ‘n’ two mode and we have Roast Turkey, Smashed Potatoes, and Peas. Meat ‘n’ two is how daughters learn to cook from their mothers. You’ve got a piece of meat, (pork chop, chicken, etc) add a starch (potatoes, rice, noodles, etc), and a vegetable (peas, green beans, etc). But they don’t call it meat ‘n’ two, they call it a balanced meal. The first time I remember encountering the phrase meat ‘n’ two, was in a diner in Tifton, Georgia; “meat ‘n’ 2, $5.95, meat ‘n’ 3, $6.95, deep fried pork chops, add $1.” Since, I’ve seen it in other diners, mainly in the South. When I Googled “meat ‘n’ two,” the first listing is a band, Meat ‘n’ Two Veg. On down the list, a reference to the Encyclopedia of Sex (you can look that up yourself). And further down, “Nashville’s Finest Home Cooking: Meat ‘n’ two: $7.95-$9.95. Sylvan Park Restaurant Murphy Road It’s hard to eat all your vegetables when Sylvan Park chocolate pie awaits.”

Melissas_potatoes.JPGSmashed Potatoes is something we learned to make at the Home Chef Cooking School in a free introductory class. Take small potatoes, boil until done, with the peel on smash them in a bowl, add butter and herbs. Mashed potatoes are creamy with no lumps, smashed potatoes are all about the lumps.

The peas are frozen at this time of year. Heat and eat.

And there’s your meal. Make a little gravy with the turkey drippings, arrange the plates, and serve.

With the leftover turkey, Carol made Turkey Pot Pie. This is not meat ‘n’ two. (There’s still more LO turkey meat, see Freezer picture.) With the leftover smashed potatoes, we made potato pancakes. There were no leftover peas. With the turkey carcass, I made turkey stock, takes up way less space in the freezer.

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