A big part of my Granddaddy’s life was tending his garden. He never left it to fend for itself. He spent time each day carefully looking over his plants, staking them when necessary, and harvesting them at just the right time. He tended to the people in his life with the same amount of care, nourishing them like he did that big garden. It seems like yesterday that I was a little girl tagging along behind Granddaddy.
I remember lying in the grass in my grandparents’ backyard, looking up at the clouds and wondering if I would ever grow up. Back then, the thought of being an adult seemed so far away that I was barely able to imagine it beyond just wanting to be like Mama. But time speeds up the older we get, and attempts to slow it down are feeble at best. Looking back, my childhood is a steady blur from me wearing pigtails to putting my daughter in pigtails. Now, she takes pride in fixing her own hair each morning.
And my son, the precious baby boy who first made me a mama, is now in high school. As I watch my children grow, I find myself reminiscing over their younger years, but I try to be careful that I don’t miss out on fully reaping the joys of the present. Right now, my children are in a brilliant stage of life, and seeing them discover and carve out a place for themselves in the world is more fulfilling than anything else I’ve ever known. A few days ago, my son walked into the kitchen as I was making supper. He gave me a quick hug and asked, “So Ma, how was your day?” I looked up as he sat down and actually waited for me to answer. At that moment, I realized that this wonderful young man was sharing the harvest from seeds I have sown in his life.
Granddaddy was right. Life really is all about gardening.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 (31⁄2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 3 medium onions, sliced (about 11⁄2 pounds)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 6 hoagie rolls
- 6 slices Swiss cheese, halved
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle roast with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper. Add roast to pan; cook until browned on both sides, approximately 3 minutes per side. Transfer roast to a 6-quart slow-cooker.
- Add onion to pan; cook until lightly browned, approximately 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth, Worcestershire, garlic powder, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper. Transfer onion mixture to slow-cooker.
- Cover, and cook on low until very tender, approximately 10 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Remove beef from slow-cooker, reserving cooking liquid and onion. Place on a cutting board; shred or coarsely chop.
- Slice rolls in half horizontally. On a rimmed baking sheet, place rolls cut side up. Place cheese on bottom halves of rolls.
- Bake until cheese melts, approximately 5 minutes. Divide beef evenly among cheese-topped rolls. Using a slotted spoon, divide onion evenly over beef. Top with remaining roll halves; secure with a wooden pick, if needed. Serve with reserved cooking liquid for dipping.
In a hurry? Cook the roast on high until very tender, approximately 5 hours.