There are pros and cons to prepping beef stew for the slow cooker at eight on a Sunday morning, before you leave for the Upper East Side to tutor. There is the Sunday night dinner that will feel effortless when the time comes. There is the enlivening sense of competence, with all this done and leaving the house pretty much on time, and enlivening is a dear thing on these Sunday mornings. There is the suspicion, on leaving the house, that despite your conscientious use of a splatter guard, the spitting grease of searing beef has lodged itself and its smell in your hair. This is a good smell, but probably overall a drawback of the endeavor. There is the fact that the stew will be ready around 3pm, which is not dinner time. And there was the sad moment when you poured half a bottle of wine in the stew but because it was eight in the morning and you were on your way to work, you could only take the tiniest sip yourself, which is such a sad thing, such a joy - drinking the leftover recipe wine - to miss out on. But there is also the fact, from that one tiny sip, that even though you don’t really like red wine, the man at the wine shop up the street from you was right, t’s good, and you’re grateful for that wine shop, especially in a neighborhood like this.
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