Thinking back I realize how truly lucky my siblings and I were being raised on a small family farm with the unconditional love of our parents. The luckiest thing of all is we are very close, and with the age differences we never felt like two families.
Sunday always started with going to church. We usually attended 8 am mass. Polkas would play on the car radio to and from church. To a kid it felt like punishment, but all kidding aside, it was happy music. My dad would make us laugh when slowing down the car for a traffic light pumping the breaks in time with the music. Manny things would happen on Sunday. After mass, we would stop at one of two neighborhood stores, Little Russias’s or Delbane’s Market, and get doughnuts. The doughnuts would be hot and fresh. We all loved what we as kids called cow plops. (they were a huge cinnamon roll doughnut with maple icing) It was little Russia’s specialty. Delbane’s Market had the best cake and filled doughnuts. In the summer time, if we went to 11 am mass, we would stop at the Isaly’s store. Sometimes would get chipped ham(which is known and famous around the Pittsburgh area) to make BBQ sandwiches for Sunday lunch and Dad would surprise us with Ice cream, a gallon of TAF(toasted almond fudge). He would also get a gallon of Vanilla for those crazy people in my family who did not like chocolate. LOL 🙂
You could always count on certain things happening on Sunday, besides the normal chores. Polkas playing on the radio and watching The Paul Shannon Adventure Hour, a local TV program out of New Castle PA that showed old cartoons and the Three Stooges skits. Our neighbor Mr. Sanderbeck, who we referred to as Grandpap Sanderbeck, would come and play Pinochle with my dad and uncles. Sometimes we would get a surprise visit from other family and friends. In the summertime, we would play outside or get into some kind of mischief. In the winter, if there was snow, you could find us sledding or building snow forts or snowmen. If it was too cold, we would be inside playing Monopoly, conquering the world with Risk or just a simple card game.
Sunday Dinner was a great ending to the day. Our favorite was when mom would make pot roast with carrots and potatoes. You could smell it cooking all day in a Dutch oven low and slow. The potatoes would be brown from the beautiful juices, the carrots would be soft and the meat would just melt in your mouth. Sunday dinner would end with dessert. It could be cake, pie or simply ice cream.
We were so very blessed to not only to grow up on a farm, but to have a family that was supportive and gave unconditional love. Don’t get me wrong we had our sibling rivalries, but in the end we had each other’s back and it is still like that today.
Cuts of meats that can be used: Grass fed chuck or shoulder roast.
Plan for a 3-4oz serving of meat per person. A 3 pound roast would be great for 8 people. We had a large family so mom cooked 5-10 pounds, sometimes larger….lol
6 large carrots peeled and cut into 1” chunks (now you can use ready to eat baby carrots)
2 large sweet or Spanish onions, peeled and quartered
3 pounds of Idaho or Yukon potatoes, peeled and quartered
8 ounces of water
Note: You can use a combination of broth and red wine, but mom just used water.
Fresh cracked black pepper
Garlic 2-3 Cloves sliced
1 Tbsp of dried Oregano (use fresh if you have it)
2 bay leaves
Let the meat come to room temperature, pat dry. Cut several slits into the roast and set in slices of garlic. (how much to use is totally your personal preference). Season the meat with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Brown the roast on all sides and place in a Dutch oven. Add the oregano and bay leaves and top with carrots, onions, and potatoes. Add a small pinch of salt and pepper to the vetables. Add the liquid, cover and place in the oven. Cook at 375 F or 190 C for 4-5 hours. Check the roast every 30 minutes or so and add liquid ad needed. You want the roast to go almost dry, but don’t burn it. By letting your roast go almost dry, you are developing those rich, flavorful juices. At the end of the cooking process, you will have the most delicious roast, juices and vegetables. Serve with your favorite hot dinner rolls so you can mop up and enjoy all the flavors.
Note: You can thicken the cooking juices into a gravy, but mom always left them thin.