Jessica Rowe is no stranger to dishing up disasters in the kitchen, but thankfully her meals are tasting better this year thanks to some helpful tips from some of Australia’s best butchers.

As a self-confessed crap housewife, Jess is not a cook and she says she will never be a cook! It simply doesn’t bring her joy and she’s ok with that. We put far too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and that is not life, it’s not realistic, she says.

The crap housewife is a badge she wears with pride and it’s a title she wants other women to embrace. For Jess, the idea of ‘crap’ is the real-life messes, hiccups, disasters and bad meals that many of us dish up and deal with every day. This mum is tired of the photos of perfectly packed school lunches, posts about cuisine family dinners eaten together over the table, plus tales of neat, tidy and obedient children with smoothly brushed hair. Why not cut the crap, take the pressure off and admit to the moments, days, weeks and months when the wheels do fall off?

The popular TV personality, who blogs about her domestic woes on her website, has since learnt a lot about cooking meat as host of Meat and Livestock Australia’s Greatest Butcher on Your Block: Ask Your Butcher video series. Jessica admits that one of her main problems with meat was feeling overwhelmed looking at all the raw cuts in the supermarket and having no idea what to do with them.

Jess has been working with Meat and Livestock Australia for couple of years now, traveling around the country meeting and interviewing butchers and helping share their fantastic tips. What she has learnt is that butchers are a wealth of knowledge and so helpful. Go in and have a chat (they love a chat!). Find out the best way to cook a certain meat. Ask what’s on special. Nowadays there are so many great meat products at butchers which already have all the herbs, spices and toppings already added to them – all you have to do is get the cooking instructions from them and you have a really delicious meal.

“I’ve always been impatient when it comes to cooking meat. I crank up the temperature and then wonder why the meat’s burnt on the outside and raw on the inside!”

Jessica says the hints from working with the butchers have come in very handy. “Carving isn’t that tricky if you ask your butcher the best way to carve your beef or lamb,” she says. “That is the only way I’ve learnt how to do it, by asking. Only recently I baked my first ever butterflied leg of lamb and thanks to the tips it was a huge hit with the family!”

How to carve meat like a pro

  • After allowing your leg of lamb to rest, turn it over and slice off the underside piece of meat. Ensure you keep the knife hard against the bone. Put this to one side.
  • Turn the leg back over. Remove the shank and run your knife down the middle of the leg, keeping the point of the blade hard against the leg bone.
  • Ensure you cut along both sides of the bone, divide the remaining section of lamb into two pieces.
  • You should now have three pieces of meat. Take each piece and cut against the grain into manageable slices for serving. Make sure your knife is sharp to make carving easier.

So when Jess isn’t making a meaty mess in the kitchen she’s juggling life with her husband (Peter Overton), her two daughters Allegra, 13, and Giselle, 11, their two stunning cats and the pet dog! We asked Jess about her crap housewife journey.

“I’m proud to say I’m a crap housewife and I love sharing that with my tribe. I began posting about my real life on social media and my website for me about five or six years ago. To actually say “this is my real life”. I was sick of seeing people’s airbrushed lives online. It was time to embrace the real.

Parenting can be lonely. It’s hard. You think it’s just you but it’s not and it’s hard to see all the perfect lives that get portrayed on social media. I love that my platform can help people connect and show that you don’t have to be perfect. I’ve met all these other amazing people online who are also fellow crap housewives. We can have a laugh, share recipes. It’s a beautiful tribe of supportive encouraging women. No one has it all together all the time. If they say they do, they are lying. I’m 50 years old now and I love getting older. The older I get the more I care less about worrying about what other people think!“

When asked if she had a funny parenting story Jess actually snort-laughed when she thought of this one!

“I love fashion and wearing a sparkly top, but when I’m home I love being casual and wearing PJs around the house. When the kids were a bit younger there was a day when I was extra tired and it was time for school pickup. I thought I could get away with wearing PJs in the car if I didn’t get out. Allegra’s face when she saw me said it all. “Don’t you dare get out of the car”. But I did get out and the teachers saw, her friends saw, she was mortified!

The next day I made sure I got dressed but I had no shoes on and she was highly unimpressed by that too. Day three? I’ve listened to the kids. I got to school, dressed tick, shoes tick, all good. So we headed off to a playground after pickup. The girls were playing in the sandpit and Allegra looked up at me standing above her and said “Mum, you’re not wearing any underpants”. I’d forgotten that all important thing under my pretty skirt. Oops. Allegra’s face turned to thunder as all the other parents and I laughed and laughed. Ever since “no PJs, shoes and undies on” has become a bit of a checklist for us as I head out the door and I’ve proudly ticked all those boxes since. See I’m not so crap after all!

Check out Australia’s Greatest Butcher Campaign here:

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