Time is money . . . time is money . . . time is money. This great truth has been hammered into us ever since we first got paid by the hour. The great truth is most easily remembered on weekends, especially when man is asked to get out the storm windows or cook the dinner. However, on weekends it can also be forgotten, especially when man is asked to spend long hours chasing a tiny white ball around a golf course or whole days parked in front of the tube watching gridiron gadzillas bump noggins.
Today's meal is a case in point. To put together a proper pot roast takes the better part of an afternoon-more than likely an afternoon already allocated to watching events set in distant exotic cities-South Bend, Dallas, Green Bay or Foxboro.
Today, the old two-birds-with-one-stone trick. Actually, there is no big trick to preparing this meal at the same time you're watching a baseball or football game. In fact, you'll find it a not unpleasant and intensely American combination-the spicy and heart-warming aroma of a pot roast bubbling gently on the stovetop, the televised sight of bonecrunching violence on the gridiron.
The Staples: Make sure these are all on hand: salt, pepper, flour, cinnamon, cloves, cooking oil, bay leaf, rum, eggs and butter.
The Shopping List: One pot roast (preferably bottom round, between 1 and 5 pounds); consomme (1 can); small white onions (2 pounds); carrots (1 pound); potatoes (3 pounds); 1 large Bermuda onion; one 4-ounce jar horseradish sauce; 1 fresh pineapple; 1 small jar applesauce; 1 bottle red wine.
But when do you manage to do the cooking? Why, during the natural breaks in the action, of course. During the pre-game show, the time-outs, the half-time festivities, the slow-motion replays of the other team's touchdowns and whenever Howard Cosell delivers an opinion.
Prepare Before the Opening Kickoff: The meat.
Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper over the entire surface of the meat and rub it in with the heel of a spoon. Now do the same thing with several tablespoons of flour.
Put 4 tablespoons of oil in a heavy casserole placed on medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the meat. Brown the meat on all sides, tending it closely to make sure that it doesn't burn.
When meat has been browned, add the can of consomme and and equal amount of red wine. And a teaspoon of cinnamon, 5 whole cloves and a bay leaf.
This next step will appeal to anyone who is fond of torturing his wife. (And if you aren't fond of torturing your wife, what're you doing sitting on your duff, watching a football game on a beautiful day like this?) First, make sure she is watching you. Then calmly dump an entire jar of horseadish sauce (Danger! The 4-ounce size!) into the pot. All of it. All at once. If your wife can watch you do this without screaming, the marriage is a sound one.
What happens, of course, is that the slow simmering robs the horseradish of its bite. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then put the heat on low and cover the pot tightly.
During the First-Quarter Break: Prepare the vegetables.
Peel the small white onions and set them aside. Peel the carrots, cut them into thirds and set them aside. Turn the pot roast over.
During the Half-Time Ceremonies: Add the carrots and the onions to the pot.
During Interview With Recently Fired Coach: Start the potato pancakes going. Peel the large Bermuda onion and grate it. Peel the potatoes and grate them and add them to the onion. Beat 2 eggs lightly, stir them in and add 2 tablespoons of flour. Now, back to the game.
During Close-Ups of the Dallas Cowgirls: Do nothing. Some things require full concentration.
During the Final Time-Outs: Set a large heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add a chunk of butter and a splash of cooking oil.
At Game's End: The final preparations.
Add large spoonsful of potato mixture to the frying pan and cook the pancakes until they're golden brown on one side, then flip over. When they're cooked on both sides, drain on paper towels while a new batch is being cooked.
Meanwhile, test the pot roast to make sure it is done. The total cooking time should be around 3 hours. When it is done, meat is easily pierced by a fork.
And then you prepare the dessert. Cut the pineapple into thick slices and then cut away the skin and the eyes. Put pineapple slices under broiler for a short time, until they are softened, then add a small splash of rum.
The Proper Time to Serve Dinner: Between games.
Cut the beef into very thin slices and serve with vegetables and sauce. Serve the potato pancakes with a spoonful of applesauce (or sour cream). Followed by the warm pineapple. And now you can switch channels.