God bless Percy Spencer

For goodness’ sake, I’ve started knitting again. I really need to pick a hobby and go with it, you know? One week, I’m all into learning Spanish in my spare time (which is practically nonexistent as it is). The next, I can’t find enough time to work on my self-education for my Leader accreditation. Then, I decide that I want to knit a scarf for Tim.

What’s going on?

Keep in mind, that my “free time” (read: times that Tim is home and in charge of the boy) is already divided up by exercise, going to the bathroom in peace, reading, working on actual paying work and the list goes on and on.

One of these days, I’ll quit being a hobby flake.

So, finally, the tale can be told about our Holiday Dinner on Monday night. As luck would have it, Tim was off of work on Monday, so I took full advantage of the situation and exercised, took a shower, then skipped off to the spa for a facial. Extravagant! When I finally meandered home, we set off again for lunch and shopping for last-minute dinner items.

Not only was this Christmas Eve Eve, the weather guys were calling for lots of snow overnight. So the grocery store was totally packed. Tim wanted to be home and cooking by 3, he said as we walked out the door at noon. No problem.

By some miracle of the Target gods, we were actually home by 3:15. The majority of the three hours we were out seemed to be sucked up by sitting in traffic. Living by a mall is not fun at Christmastime.

We started slicing vegetables for the sauce, glazed carrots and mashed potatoes. The shallots for the sauce (a lovely port-wine number) nearly did me in. I was literally slicing them with tears running down my face.

So the sauce was started and left to reduce for its required 40 minutes. At about 4:15, we got the crown rack of lamb out of the refrigerator.

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When we took it out of the freezer the evening before, we let it sit on the counter all evening long, then put it in the refrigerator to finish thawing all night and the next day.

No good.

The thing was frozen. Solid.


I had gone from, ‘Oh, honey, wait until you see this beautiful piece of butcher craftsmanship!’ to ‘What the hell do we do now?!’ in less than 60 seconds.

I did what any sane woman would do: I got out the Miracle Thaw. For those of you not familiar with the Miracle Thaw, it’s one of those “as seen on TV” deals from a few years ago. I have no idea what it is made of, how it does its miraculous thawing or the like. I just know that it works great at defrosting frozen chicken breasts in less than an hour.

Tim freaks out after five minutes on the Miracle Thaw and puts it in the microwave on defrost. For the eight-and-a-half pound crown rack of lamb, this will take one hour and fifty minutes. By this time, I’m screaming at him about how he hasn’t even let the Miracle Thaw do its miracle thawing, and take it out of the microwave and back onto the Miracle Thaw.

It got even uglier from there, once the Miracle Thaw thawed the bottom, but no further, after 30 minutes.

I did what any woman would do: I called my mother. She wasn’t home. So I called my stepmother.

She said to put it back in the microwave on defrost. She reassured me that it wouldn’t dry it out. This was sticky, though. I was wrong. Tim was right. Damn.

I admitted defeat and we put it back in the microwave.

Now, it’s getting close to 5:30 and our guests will be arriving at 6, so we’re completely freaking out. The microwave still says that it needs an hour and fifty minutes to thaw this baby. We plead with the microwave, but it does not budge.

I do what any woman would do: I go to take a shower.

When I come out, the sauce is reduced, the potatoes are ready to be mashed, the carrots are ready to be glazed and the lamb is coming out of the microwave. It is 6 o’clock.

Then, a Christmas miracle: it is thawed! It seems that the bones and give the crown rack of lamb its name helped conduct the heat down into the lamb, speeding the thawing process. Yay, blessed microwave! The Miracle Thaw sobbed quietly in the sink.

So, into the 475-degree oven it goes. My mother- and father-in-law arrive. The recipe says to take it out when the meat registers 130 degrees. After 20 minutes, the thermometer reads 60 degrees. Uh-oh.

My brother- and sister-in-law arrive.

After 35 minutes, the thermometer reads 100 degrees. Getting closer.

Finally, after 45 minutes, the crown rack of lamb is done. And it’s beautiful!

Now, we’re just waiting for my other brother- and sister-in-law and their two kids to arrive.

At 7, we’re all seated at the table, enjoying Tim’s delicious rosemary and garlic crown rack of lamb with port-wine sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. Everyone loved it.

Except the Miracle Thaw.