Ode to Mom’s Pot Roast

Today I made a huge, ambitious dinner on a regular old Monday night. There was pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables—the works. It was your typical Sunday dinner.

Except that it was not Sunday, and my big, amazing dinner wasn’t as amazing as my mom’s or my MIL’s Sunday dinners.

Notably, I didn’t make fluffy, warm rolls to round out the meal. Such a disappointment, I know, particularly when you’re looking for a vehicle for downing homemade raspberry jam with butter. Also, my roasts are never falling-apart-tender like those prepped by Shirley and Joyce. And my mashed potatoes have lumps, doggone it.

As we ate the meal that took a geologic age to prepare, I noticed these discrepancies. I wanted to call my mother and my husband’s mother and shower them with compliments about their perfect comfort-food cooking while begging them for tips on how to do it better.

After dinner I remembered something else about making a big meat-and-potatoes meal: it dirties every pot you own.

It makes me appreciate the generation of women who have gone before, whipping up flawless beef roast with mashed potatoes dinners for me and mine on many a Sunday evening. I honor their sacrifice because seriously, cooking like that takes stamina and know-how. I appreciate their skill in creating something that is reliably delicious (unlike my attempt). I admire their efforts in the worthwhile cause of bringing people together and filling them up with good food and good will.

So basically, while I suck at making traditional roast beef dinners with all the trimmings, I recognize that I come from a tradition of women who could whip out a meal like this in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

I should feel shame, perhaps, but I mostly feel a kind of reverence for what my grandmas and my mothers can do.

I also will add (boast) that I do know how to bake yummy desserts. Dinner may not be perfect, but at least my family is being raised knowing that dessert involves real whipped cream. And homemade caramel sauce. And cake. Oft-times, cookies too.

But never pies, because I haven’t yet figured out pie pastry.

  8 comments for “Ode to Mom’s Pot Roast

  1. LC
    September 17, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Amen to every word of that! Our Monday dinner consisted of leftover pot roast that took a long time to chew:)

  2. September 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Just read your article on ksl.com. Clicked on the link to this blog and read a few entries. Just want you to know, in case you forget, that you are the best! Keep going!

  3. September 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    My mom used to make EVERYTHING from scratch–even maple syrup. And I didn’t even know you could buy curtains at the store–I thought you had to make them! I, too, appreciate the women who have paved the culinary path we walk. But I also recognize that life’s realities make purchasing maple syrup NECESSARY! I will never forget the chocolate bunt cake you brought to book club all those years ago–I still have the recipe. And I am going to send you a pie crust recipe that works EVERY TIME (directly from the pages of homemade-maple-syrup-pants).

  4. September 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm


    My wife Candice and I are on the same boat you are. Our 4 year old son has autism with epilepsy. Just now reading your blog makes me feel better of what are Sundays are actually like and how it sometimes feel as if we were “inactive”. Thank you for sharing.

  5. L
    September 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm


    I am curious how you do this? My 8 yr old has pervasive development delay – similar to aspergers. He mostly seems “normal” but he can, to use your phrase, “turn on a dime”. He can go from 0-60 in a split second and become violent in his tantrums. I am patient a lot of the time, but I have noticed then the volcano erupts and I get frustrated. How do you not get frustrated when they are violent or destructive of property or hurt a sibling. “How” do you do this? Just curious. Yes, we see a counselor regularly but I would like to find ways to limit my own meltdowns and tantrums. —loisjeanhardy@gmail.com

  6. Anonymous
    September 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    As I’m going through my own challenges right now in a completely different way, I happened upon your blog. All I can say is YOU ROCK! LOVE this blog! Thanks for reminding me once again (the Lord seems to remind me constantly in different ways) of the joy in the journey in this “happy nightmare” we call life! Love you girl!!!

  7. Anonymous
    September 18, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I also read your article on ksl this morning and loved it! It was just what I needed to hear today! I too have a first born who made parenting fairly easy and thought I knew what I was doing. Our second has been diagnosed with ADHD and enrolled me in parenting 505. I have learned to also let go of “perfect” or what I thought was “perfect” and enjoy the many beautiful colors in this tapestry of life. This child has helped me to be the kind of mom, sister, friend and wife I really wanted and needed to be. I am so grateful for moms like you are so warm and understanding! You are amazing!!

  8. September 19, 2013 at 3:15 am

    I, too, have tried to duplicate my mother’s super tender and juicy roast with no luck! What’s up with that? I commend your efforts though. I have a feeling that you might need to give yourself more credit! I’m sure your “failed” attempt was wwwaaaayyyyy better than anything most of us could ever dream of making. So give yourself a pat on the back woman!!!! And then go have a dessert….

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