The very few things I know about cooking

I’d rather do the dishes than prepare them

CookingThere are very few things I know about cooking.

1. In general, longer is better.

I discovered this when my father would spend hours cooking spaghetti sauce on the stove at low heat when I was growing up. Ask any barbecue chef and they’ll tell you that time is their ally in creating a great taste.

Bt it’s even true with mundane food such as oatmeal. My wife makes instant oatmeal in the microwave most mornings. But she always says it tastes better when I just boil a pan of water and cook it on the stove for a minute. The process takes an extra four minutes, vital for her on a weekday morning.

2. Water is useful.

I was watching the CBS morning show on Saturday earlier this year. It always has a cooking section. The chef was apparently world-famous, white, male, older, and I think with an accent, but I had never heard of him. He was frying eggs when he put a little water into the hot pan, much to the puzzlement of host Jeff Glor, and me.

I started cooking eggs that way and discovered that, for the first time in six decades of cooking eggs, I could successfully prepare them over easy.

Also, I make omelets with fresh spinach. I would prepare the spinach with a little butter/margarine/Olivio. But my wife wanted to avoid the calories and suggested I use a pan spray. For me, the spinach did not reduce properly. But it did with relatively little water.

Cleanup time 

3. All things being equal, I’d rather clean up afterward.

I’ve noticed that when my wife or daughter prepares food, they use far more dishes/pans/pots than I do so. As I try to keep up with the dishes, I’m forever surprised by that fact. If money were no object, I’d eat out or get takeout every other night. Maybe it’s that I’ve had more experience cooking for one.

But playing in soapy water: now THAT’S something I can get into. I get a certain joy from the cleanup than I ever get cooking or baking. At Thanksgiving dinner in 1987 with over a dozen people, I really didn’t mind the cleanup at all. It’s…USEFUL. Whereas others groan and kvetch about the scalded pots and sticky mixing bowls, I rather enjoy the challenge.

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Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

4 thoughts on “The very few things I know about cooking”

  1. Great little tips Rog , I learn something new every day the trouble is I forget twice as much

  2. I food shop and prepare the meals at least 350 days of the year, the other days we eat out. Like you I clean as I go makes the process so much more efficient. I rarely plan meals, I just know what we have and work from that. Same as shopping, i know when something is due to be used and get a few items that will go with that. This works for us going on 20 years.

  3. I didn’t start cooking until a few years ago, I mean really cooking. There are some great chefs on PBS, and in the years without cable and before streaming, the Wisconsin PBS ran them daily.

    Nick Stillino taught me to cook with love and laughter.
    Jacques Pepin taught me not to be a snob about Howard Johnson’s, where he was the executive chef for years. He also showed me some sauce skills.
    Knife technique would be Martin Yann, although i will never be that fast!
    And Pati Jinich is just the best. She was born in Mexico and makes all her kids roll their r’s like rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    As for cleanup, you and Lex are on duty in our respective houses. He will often say, “You cooked like a boss. Sit down and let me finish up.” And that, my friend, is the sweetest way to tell your partner, “I love you.”

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