I can’t be alone in this. Tonight was to be pork chops smothered with spiced apples, served over bacon-laced grits.
When a recipe calls for pork, say, to be pounded into half-inch cutlets, I’m incapable of eyeballing it. I keep a metal ruler in my kitchen drawer for just this purpose. I have a general idea of what an inch looks like; I can eyeball the width of air between my fingers, but after an inch, it turns into the biggest fish I ever caught. The space widens and pieces of meat, or apple, or time begin to look distorted. They refuse to wear the uniform. But when I rely on the ruler, everyone’s a soldier.
With this recipe, which called for six pork chops, pounded within a half-inch of their lives, I steadied the ruler and got to work.
Only, when is the last time I pounded meat into submission? I cannot find my mallet. I left it in the 90s with my apartment. When pounding meat, best to do so in the middle of a table, lest what happened to me happens to you. There it is. There it was. There it went.
Sandwiched between two sheets of parchment were my one-and-a-half-inch chops. I began to beat them with the back of a saucepan. They flattened to 3/4″ islands, and all too soon I understood from where the saying, “I’m gonna beat you to the floor” came. Like continents that split apart over time, cracked by oceans, the cutlets spread to the corners of my table, inching slowly apart, close to their death. With one last whack of my pan, my poor little meatballs rolled right out the door.