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A Whisper In Thyme – Cherished Childhood Memories Revisited


Do you have childhood memories that are whispers so small you wonder if they ever existed? Such a small segment of your life that spanned seconds, not even minutes. A tiny tidbit of a childhood memory so inconsequential, yet it is embedded in your mind. A silent scene - nothing else.

Where was I? Sitting on the couch watching a black & white movie on television. My age? Perhaps I’m five? Maybe seven or eight or ten? I know where I am. But I can only see myself sitting and seeing only a few short seconds of the story that is unfolding in front of me on the screen. What story it was – I don’t know. I assume it was a children’s movie – perhaps a fairy tale. And the only image I see is someone in a forest slowly making their way around the opening of a doorway. And that is all I remember. Truly…this memory is so foggy I feel I’m making it up. Yet it still lingers in my mind many decades later.

There’s a sense of comfort in this minute memory even though I only see myself sitting alone. I see no one else yet I have three siblings. Are they beside me? I know not. I have no recollection of them viewing this movie alongside me. Yet family members are in the house, nonetheless.

A Sunday afternoon - the relaxing part of the day after dinnertime. I can picture an autumn or winter afternoon. The weather outside is crisp, chilly, and sunny. We’ve already come home from morning worship and have partaken of the main meal of the day. I imagine a roast beef dinner. My mom always made it in the oven. Comfort food at its best! Then the afternoon wanes on. It’s warm inside. Dad has made a fire in the fireplace. The warmth is comforting. I feel content. I feel safe. The aroma of a delicious meal still lingers through the house. The dishes have been cleared from the table ready to be washed by hand. Perhaps my mother has made coffee for the adults to drink alongside a special dessert baked just for an afternoon like this. I remember her brewing coffee with her Corning Ware percolator on the gas stove. Plain and simple with cream. No lattes back then! My dad always loved his coffee. Just like I do now. I can smell it.

That’s it. Nothing more. Only this sliver of a moment in time. An imagination of what could have been is all that’s there. And the unknown movie I was watching.

What are your favorite memories of a Sunday afternoon? Do you have special childhood memories of family get-togethers?

While we’re on the subject of food and memories, here’s my own recipe for a delicious beef pot roast cooked in the oven with a whisper of thyme and a few simple ingredients. Nothing complicated. Easy to prepare.

I never “loved” my pot roast done in a slow cooker. It was always “ok.” Once I cooked the roast in the oven in a cast-iron Dutch oven (pot), I wouldn’t do it any other way!

Linda’s Sunday Beef Pot Roast

Equipment: One large cast-iron Dutch oven (pot)

One large chuck roast (I get mine at ALDI)

One large sweet onion cut into wedges (I use Vidalia; regular yellow onions are good, too)

3 cups beef broth (I use Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base to make the broth – just a couple teaspoons in boiling water)

One cup Cabernet Sauvignon (a cheap bottle will work very well! Or any other red wine)

Thyme (dried), salt and pepper to taste

2 to 3 Tbsps. Butter

Preheat oven 325 degrees

First – you will need to sear the chuck roast in the Dutch oven pot on the stovetop. (I usually cut my roast in half to make it easy to turn in the pot when searing.) On medium-high heat, preheat the Dutch oven, add the butter to the pot to melt, then sprinkle your roast on both sides with salt, pepper, and thyme and sear both sides of the roast. A few minutes on each side is all it takes.

Add the onion wedges on top. Pour the beef broth and wine over the roast. You want the broth/wine to cover the roast completely. Just a little higher than the roast. You may have to adjust the amount of broth depending on the size of your roast. Keep the wine amount to one cup.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Put the lid on the Dutch oven pot and carefully put it into the oven. It will be heavy! Roast about 4 hours. You want most of the broth to be gone. The meat should be dark and rich-looking! It will be VERY tender and delicious! You should have enough juices left to make a gravy, if you so desire.

As we’re about 30+ minutes from church and our afternoons are short with choir practice and evening service to attend, my Sunday pot roast is done when we come home. I also have a couple of whole potatoes cooking in a small crockpot (with just a half-inch of water) on high. For the sake of time, I skip making gravy and serve the potatoes with butter. All I have to do is cook some asparagus on the stovetop and in about five minutes, Sunday dinner is ready! “Thyme” to eat!

TIPS: Don’t substitute dried onion flakes for fresh onions. Don’t skip the onions either. Fresh onions add sweetness and flavor to the meat. Don’t over-salt the meat. I recommend using the bouillon instead of a plain beef broth. It will provide extra flavor to the meat. You can roast it without the wine, but adding the wine gives the meat more depth and flavor, as well. Once I started adding wine to the roast, I was hooked on that ingredient! Just so you know, I don’t drink alcoholic beverages. The only time I use wine is for cooking. You don’t have to worry about cooking with wine. It won’t affect you. Only imparts great flavor.

If your Sundays are like mine and your morning is hectic, you can partially prepare the pot roast the night before. Just sear the meat. Remove from stove and add the onions. Nothing else. Let the pot cool down. Put the lid on and place it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, prepare the broth/wine. Pour it over the roast. Put the lid back on. Place in preheated oven and go!

Then come home and become engulfed in the rich aroma of the perfect pot roast for your Sunday dinner!

After enjoying a delicious dinner, pour the coffee and enjoy a relaxing afternoon knowing you were able to create such a delectable meal.

Enjoy your weekend! Stay tuned for my updated chocolate chip scones to enjoy with your coffee or tea!


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