That’s it. I’m hanging up my apron, cementing my knives in the knife block, and will now use my pots and pans for target practice.

You know, I used to be able to fling together a dinner party for 8 with one hand tied behind my back. I could whip up a 5-course meal for family and friends with regularity and not break a sweat.

But do you think I can make a lousy pot roast for 2? You would think that would be simple, wouldn’t you …. but no, I am here to shoot that little theory down in flames. I have had really yummy pot roasts since coming to the States, but this was my second attempt in 19 years to re-create the dish, and I’m done. Done I tell you.

I have an excellent Dutch oven, one which can produce my Kick A** Chili with spot-on results each time. It will beautifully execute a Coq au Vin without flinching, and will even keep Sir calm and giggling with its rendition of the intricate sauce required for spaghetti and meatballs, never once forgetting the magic ingredient called neck bones. Short ribs – no problem! Soups? A breeze.

But give it a cut of meat I suspect the dog might have difficulty chewing, and my Dutch oven goes all “Wat de hel?” (isn’t it fabulous that I don’t need to translate this little Dutch bon-mot for you), and it then mutters on about inferieure vlees (inferior meat), and the fact that Ik kan het houden (I can evidently stick it).

The recipe called for a cooking time of 2.5 hours. At the appointed time, I gave it a test and reckoned it could be likened to the sole of my sneaker – just as tough, and just as flavorful. So I dashed to Google to find that you could cook it for a whole lot longer. So I did. On and off for two days.

However, when the meat finally achieved the glowingly referred "fall apart" stage, nobody warned me that there is a "nice and tender falling apart stage," and that there is also a "tough and stringy falling apart stage." I hit the latter. I carved it against the grain as instructed, and it was like well boiled shoe leather – falling apart shoe leather indeed, but still, shoe leather.

Naturally throughout this lengthy process my onions, potatoes and carrots were going heavily into wilt mode and would’ve been fabulously received by toothless diners, so rendered to mush were they.

The flavor of the sauce was outstanding, and if I was just making soup, it would’ve been a mighty fine beef broth.

Two whole days I spent faffing around with this little upstart cut of beef. Two days in anticipation of a lovely din-dins for two. Two days of my life I will never get back.

If any of you kind and gentle readers have a solution for me, I would be most grateful for the impartation of your knowledge and culinary wisdom.

Otherwise, that’s it. Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

-- Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at