a story of labor, gluttony and disgust all involving a roast beef

The last couple of posts discussing my childhood abuse were a lot harder to write than I thought. I still have a couple to go, and I have been procrastinating. For now, I would like to share a quick tale of a Pug Dog, A Roast Beef, and a Crazy Woman.

Pee-Wee the Pug
Pee Wee the Pug Dog

I think it’s clear that I loved my Pug Dog very much. We were inseparable. He was my best friend, my partner in crime, and my constant companion.

I have already discussed my Mother’s lack of cooking skills in The Vomit Story, so not necessary to elaborate there. Pee-Wee and I had a secret dinner time partnership. When Mother would present some disgusting gray meat-like substance for dinner, I would cram as much as I could in my mouth, chew it into an appalling ball, and then cough. The “meat” ball would shoot into my hand, which I would then dangle beside my chair until the dog spotted it, grabbed it, and would take it into a corner to feast.

Now and again, a dinner time miracle would happen. My crazy Mom would present a Roast Beef, which will be forever now be known as “The Roast,” as delicious looking as the cover of this post. No bland gray meat here, just juicy, delightful goodness. I swear sometimes I could see sunbeams breaking through the clouds illuminating the dinner time miracle.

Our story begins with one such roast. The table laid with care, the family, all happily placing dishes while laughing and joking, looking forward to a delicious meal.  A delightfully normal moment in my atypical childhood.  

“The Roast” was placed, in all its glory, in the center of the table.

We finished getting ready for dinner; drinks were being prepared and such when my Mother suddenly let loose with a bloodcurdling scream that could have awoken the dead.

I turned around just in time to see the dog on the table with “The Roast” in his mouth.  My Mother yelled, “God Damn Mother Fucking Dog!” and grabbed the broom. Startled, the dog turned and proceeded to drag the meat off the table. He bolted to the back door hauling “The Roast” with him like a prey, trailing behind him a parade of my Mother, alternating between screaming obscenities and trying to thwack him with the broom, and a bewildered Father and Son following at a safe distance.

When we caught up to the dog, he was hovering over his prize snarling.  Poking, cursing, and crying, my mother wrestled “The Roast” from the dog.

Covered with sand, twigs, teeth marks, and heaven knows what else, she carried the once wondrous piece of meat to the kitchen and to an orchestra of curses and rants, she haphazardly rinsed it off in the kitchen sink.

I’ll be honest here; both my Dad and I were afeared. We stood silently by as she attempted to make “The Roast” edible after its dog induced adventure.  When she finished, she matter-of-factly slammed the meat on the table and announced. “Dinner is Fucking served!”.

Hastily carved and plated, my serving came complete with bite marks, sand, and the odd bit of debris. I knew it was a bad idea, but it was so gross I could not help myself: “But Mama, it has bite marks and dirt on it.”

“Eat it or I will wring your neck!” she replied, continuing, “I busted my ass all afternoon on this, and you WILL enjoy it. OR ELSE”.

I looked to my Dad for guidance, but he was head down silently eating.  I did the same without my partner in crime.  He was in the doghouse. Literally and figuratively.

The Smiths – Meat Is Murder

“Kitchen aromas aren’t very homely It’s not comforting, cheery or kind It’s sizzling blood and the unholy stench of murder”

About the Author

The Orchid Thief

John Edward Laroche (born February 19, 1962, in Florida) is an American horticulturist who was arrested for poaching wild ghost orchids while working for the Seminole natives in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve in Florida. The subsequent trial brought him to the attention of Susan Orlean, who wrote an article for The New Yorker and the book The Orchid Thief about him. After the events of the Orchid Thief, he shifted careers to Computer Science. Notably, he went on to work for both National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institution designing school-age learning tools and online curricula.

View All Articles