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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

Full of questions

January 16, 2012

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I had to take a time out from talking with the kids, who seem full of questions these days, adolescence and all. My gosh. I get phone calls about what class to take, what major to pursue, how to combat loneliness, and when am I coming to pick her up. And at home, how do you know you're in love? Why do teachers give so much homework -- don't they know we're overwhelmed? Who won the Vietnam war? What makes you happy? Do you think teaching abstinence is right?

Well. I certainly don't have all the answers. I'm not sure I have any answers. I have my own experience, and my own bank of knowledge, and my own ideas, and my own parents to call when I have questions. Which I do. Often.

It was the abstinence question we spent such time on Saturday afternoon. My goodness. These are my children, and they were asking about SEX, and my responses require careful thought. There's always the textbook route, but really, in the big scheme of things, what matters really is how we love, and you can't point to a textbook for that. So I gave my own thoughts about how abstinence is a fine aspiration for some, and unrealistic for others, and that sex isn't like a pan of bars you share with everyone you meet. I told them there's a lot to be said for being conscientious and safe and respectful and humble, and sex isn't a destination but a journey and they must be responsible and mindful because it's like giving away a tiny piece of who you are. They looked at me and nodded as if they understood, and maybe they do, or maybe twenty years from now, I'll get a phone call where they share that they get it. Who knows.

I did say, as they got fidgety, that sex is a wonderful thing, glorious, even, and when you love someone the logistical issues and questions and awkwardness fall away and it feels good to touch each other and hold each other close as can be, because touch is good and love is good and creatures who go untouched fail to thrive. And then I gave them each a backrub and told them to hit the sack and when they did I poured myself the last of the Irish cream in the fridge and put my feet up and dialed Mr. Sundberg's number as he's in Arizona for the week giving a talk called "Why We Do What We Do." "Got a question for ya," I said, when he answered. "How was your day?" And he replied, and I listened.

This is a family recipe, delicious, and on the table every Christmas. Serve it with everything, including potatoes and salad and bread, and don't underestimate the power of gravy.

Sauerbraten Pot Roast

Top round roast, 1/2 lb per person

Saute 2 cups of sliced yellow onions til light brown.
Add 1 pint of cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 T whole cloves
1 T allspice
1 T salt
3 small hot peppers or drop of Tabasco sauce
2 bay leaves
1 quart water

Two-three days before serving, prick the top of the roast on all sides with fork and place in re-sealable plastic bag. Pour cooled marinade over meat, close bag and turn over once a day. Store in refrigerator.

When ready to cook, bring marinated beef to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Remove beef from marinade and pat dry. Strain marinade, reserving the liquid and onions.

Preheat oven to 325. In heated oiled heavy pan, brown all sides, about 5 minutes each side.

Place beef in oven pan, adding marinade to 1/2 way up the meat. Cover pan and braise in oven, turning every 30 minutes, for about 3 hours to get it very tender.

Reduce braising liquid by half about 30 minutes before roast is done; add 1/4 cup red wine and lemon juice to taste.

Carve roast against the grain into slices that are about 3/4 inch thick.

Arrange slices on serving platter. Add raisins and raw almonds to marinade for gravy before serving.


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