I Regret Nothing by Jen Lancaster with a Recipe

Headshot credit: Jolene Siana 

Fans of Jen Lancaster, bestselling author of Bitter is the New Black and Twisted Sister, surely know that when she decides to write her bucket list as a big birthday looms,  it isn’t going to entail knitting an afghan or doing an extra set up of push-ups. Indeed, nothing Lancaster tackles—whether it’s emulating Martha Stewart for one disastrous year which involved a need for serious glitter removal in her book The Tao of Martha or, as she discovers in Jeneration X, that a great dinner option does not include Froot Loops—is ever dull. 
And so in her latest novel, I Regret Nothing: A Memoir (New American Library 2015; $26.95), Lancaster takes on another set of self-improvement tasks which includes a juice cleanse, learning Italian and even having a tattoo removed at a cost 100 percent higher than she spent getting it and takes us along on the journey.
Lancaster, who lives in the Chicago area, rejoices in humiliating experiences because she knows that’s what makes her readers laugh. She also offers a quote for what it’s like to be a friend or family member when it comes to her writing career and what she is willing to put down on paper.
“It goes something like this–being related to a writer is like having an assassin in the family,” she says.  “Where do you draw the line on what you’ll include in a memoir?”
Putting herself out there and seeing the absurdities and humiliations of life as things to be turned into humor is what makes reading her books so much fun. And it’s absolutely who she is as well.
 “I love readers to come to my live events,” says Lancaster. “I’m absolutely the same person on the page as I am at an event. And I think it’s good for people to know that.”
Of course, Jen being Jen developed her Martha Monday as part of her The Tao of Martha events. Here’s one of her recipes.


(With apologies to both Pioneer Woman and Thug Kitchen)


4 – 5 pounds of pork shoulder/Boston butt–Stacey could likely tell you the difference between the two cuts, but for my purposes, they are interchangeable

12 oz. (ish) bottle of root beer–good bottled root beer, like the fancy craft-brewed stuff, and not bullshit mass-produced root beer, because it makes a difference

1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce–I like the hickory flavored, mass-produced Sweet Baby Ray’s, which neatly makes up for my craft-root-beer-snobbery


Cut your butt (heh) into four equal portions and place them in a cold slow cooker.  Dump root beer over them.  Cover and turn on high.  Walk away for six hours whilst the magic happens.  Maybe you could see a movie or something.  If you want, you can flip the pieces at the three hour mark, but if you have better things to do, that’s okay, too.

After six hours, your house will smell freaking amazing, yet your pot will be full of gelatinous lumps of grayish brown meat bobbing merrily along in horrible mystery liquid.  Don’t run out of the room to order a pizza – I assure you that this is okay.  

With a slotted spoon, fish out the dubious hunks of flaccid pork and set aside.  Dump the terrible liquid down the sink ASAFP, ignoring your three dogs’ imploring gazes.  They do not need to taste the fatty root beer juice, no matter how hard they beg.

Put the drained meat back into the slow cooker and using two forks, shred the pork.  If your pork doesn’t essentially fall apart the second you touch it, then it didn’t cook long enough and you already tossed the liquid, so I’m sorry, but you’re probably going to want to order that pizza now.  Perhaps I should have said something sooner.

 As you shred the pork, you will think, “Huh.  Those gelatinous gray hunks appear no more appetizing in shredded form.  Also, this smells a bit like wet dog.”  Again, fear not, dear Taylor – this is all part of the process.   This is when you squeeze in your entire bottle of delicious sauce and you perpetrate your second miracle of the day.

At this point, you can set your slow cooker to simmer and enjoy your barbecue whenever you’re ready to serve it, or you can stand over it with both of your dirty forks and shovel it directly into your mouth.  

 Really, either option works. 

If you’re feeling fancy, I’d suggest serving the pork on a pretzel roll, topped with red cabbage slaw, but again, the double fork method works equally well.  This barbecue will go all Jesus-with-the-fishes-and-loaves on you and no matter how much you eat, you’ll have more leftover because five pounds of pork really is a lot of meat.