Roast Beef Tonight! Cooked Right!

Simple and Super Savory…

Before we start, two tips:

1) Buy your rib roast, bone in, from Wiggins Meat Market on South Main (Rte 73) in Rockland (or your nearest butcher, but not from a supermarket). At Wiggins, it will be Angus steer beef – not wimpy beef from a sway-backed belly-sagging spiritless cow but from a  rarin-to-go no-holds-barred been-there-done-that castrated bull – and will have a fuller, richer flavor. We got ours for $7.95/lb., but I believe Jess Wiggins is dropping his price next week.

2) Cook the roast as my late cousin-in-law and celebrated chef Joe Hyde would do it, the Jedi Master of Meats.


Here’s Joe on the deck of his camp on Martha’s Vineyard, c. 1960. Much of the rest of the time he spent at his home on Sneden’s Landing, New York.






What to do:

You need a standing rib roast for 2 or 4 people (2 ribs or 4 ribs), with a nice layer of fat. Actually, we bought a 3-rib roast for 4 people, so I had to finesse it. Put it in a pan and rub the fat with salt and pepper. A two-rib roast will want to topple over; I shimmed ours with a couple of small wedge-shaped stones to keep it upright.

  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Pretty toasty!
  • Put the roast in for 18 minutes (for 2 ribs), about 25 minutes for 4 ribs.
  • Remove the roast and let repose on top of the stove for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 350.
  • After the repose, put the roast back in to cook for another 45-50 minutes (2 ribs), about 1 hour for 4 ribs. This should make it medium-rare. It’s likely the rib bones will separate from the meat – good, that’s proof of tenderness!

Check the roast with a sharp knife slicing between the ribs a couple of inches. If it’s too red, cook a few minutes more. Here’s a 2-rib dinner from a few years back during its “repose” phase —

I added the potatoes just for the sake of art. We cooked them earlier…

When it’s done, let it stand for awhile to cool down. Then slice it into slabs with a very sharp knife between the ribs and serve au jus from pan drippings and a small amount of beef broth. Dive in, then give your body a break with fish and salad for a few days… This is soooo good!


Billy Buck explains (partly) why I hate flying

Some people have asked if this new novel is in any way autobiographical, and I’m pretty dodgy with my answers. But Billy’s exegesis on flying comes pretty close to the truth…

Caution: foul language ahead…


Over drinks, Billy tells his friend Jerry, “I don’t fly. I don’t fly because my gut is swollen from my two fucking surgeries for the same damn thing, permanently distended, and I can barely fit in the seat and sure as hell I can’t get the fucking tray table down to get as many drinks as they’ll let me, and there’s always some NFL guy next to me who smells a cross between salad dressing and locker room sneakers, and they treat you like criminals, the PA system is like broken glass in my ear, I can’t get to the bathroom when I need to, I’m trapped and strapped in and even with the kids they won’t seat us together, LaGuardia to LAX or Ontario or wherever, and as you well know I don’t have a smart phone and never will, or a tablet, so I sit and squirm and the whole time my gut is rebelling, wanting me to get up and move around so it doesn’t kink up again, and that’s the main deal — if I have another obstruction, after the two I’ve already had, they’re gonna have to emergency land the plane in fucking East Cupcake where the only surgeon is the town drunk and I probably wouldn’t make it out alive. Remember, the second one I had, I almost didn’t make it. And that surgeon was a fucking genius, and sober.”

At $10.98. Amazon, or free shipping with PayPal. Yeah, I had the effing surgeries – actually three of them for the same thing. You do NOT want bowel obstructions!


I just rediscovered this piece from a year ago and feel it’s worth another airing. I was in one of those moods, I guess.

If you travel the country as I have, through the Great Plains, the prairies and the West, horizons are far off but seemingly graspable. You think: we’ll get there! But you won’t – because (of course) as you travel on, the edges of what you see ahead speed far beyond you, unreachable.

Southern New Mexico. (Dollarphoto club license)

Sailors and fishermen know this: there is no horizon at sea, only the visual illusion of one. Ignore it. Pay attention to the water around you, read the water. Watching waves is what experienced mariners do. Horizons are for dreamers, seekers, and you aren’t like them – your pursuits are closer at hand. Read the water.

And listen for that bell buoy! We have auditory horizons as well as visual – we can hear a shotgun blast miles away on a still night, and at sea we understand why foghorns are tuned to a low frequency: because we hear low tones much farther away than high ones, sometimes so pitched as to reverberate in our chests.

Personal horizons

And what of the clarity of a first memory? Some may recall probing for their mother’s breast, others with fingers curled around crib bars wanting to free themselves, still others a first day of kindergarten. I remember fragments of my 4th birthday, and possibly hands around crib bars, but the air doesn’t fully clear until about first grade. This retro-horizon may change, shift slightly as we age, and we may add color and detail to the memory to lock it into the sanctuary of our own “truth,” but we can’t know if it really was how we remember it. Memory is tricky stuff – the retro-horizon is far more gauzy than any distant edge of prairie on the Great Plains.

Humans are social animals with their own range of boundaries that may, if probed, bend or yield to another person. What is the far edge of a person? Horizons change, retreat, evaporate as soon as we move. Or talk, or ask, or offer a certain look in our eyes. Throughout my whole life, having connected with several thousands of people, I’m amazed that so many had such wide-open horizons (“ask me, I’ll tell you!”) and almost as many others were tightly armored, unreachable. But each of us has that far edge – that long horizon that we wake up with every day and may keep curtained from view until the right time suits us. It’s our choice.

It’s good that nature made horizons unclear, and it’s also good that humans want to clarify them. We now know what happens at the event horizon of a black hole, and it’s also good that we have instruments to indicate exactly where a physical horizon lies. But for the rest of us – who aren’t physicists or navigators – we drift between our retro-horizon and our last one, whatever and whenever that may be, and keep our focus (mostly) close-in on the business at hand, on those near to us, on the next few trees on the path, on the next hundred yards down the road.


Till next time, there it is.

Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.