This week: Cooking IIEdited by: Robert Waltz
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Cooking is like snow skiing: If you don't fall at least 10 times, then you're not skiing hard enough.
I don't like cooking and don't cook until I am forced to. Then I expect everyone around to appreciate what I dish out.
My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor.
Yes, I'm still stuck on the cooking thing. What can I tell you? I'm just lazy. For reference, last month's newsletter: "Cooking"
Since I'm lazy, and the whole measurement thing might as well be quantum physics (actually, I have a better understanding of quantum physics, which isn't saying much), I want to spend as little time cooking as humanly possible. For me, as I suspect it is for most of us, going out or ordering delivery all the time gets really expensive really fast, so what's the alternative?
Foods that cook quickly, of course. Sure, you can spend an hour cooking actual oatmeal, but there's also instant oatmeal. Ready in 2 minutes!
...Or is it?
I've found that the times listed for cooking anything are always and inevitably wrong on the optimistic side. I've learned that if a recipe says, "Preparation 20 minutes, cooking 30 minutes," well, there goes my entire afternoon.
But misrepresentation of cooking times is everywhere, not just recipes or instant oatmeal. How about that old college staple, ramen? Cooks in three minutes!
Well, not really. That three minutes is just for boiling the noodles. In actuality, me trying to make a bowl of ramen -- even excluding any additions I might want to make to it -- takes at least an hour and a half. Sometimes more.
It usually goes something like this:
1) Decide I'm hungry.
2) Wait half an hour. Am I hungry enough to actually do work? No, not really.
3) (30 minutes later) Okay, now I'm hungry enough to do something about it. But I'm too hungry to take the time to cook anything real. How about a nice bowl of ramen?
4) Walk into the kitchen. (The timer actually starts now.)
5) Put the cat outside so she's not underfoot. (2 minutes)
6) Wash and dry the necessary pots, dishes, and utensils. (20 minutes)
7) Back into the cat and step on her poor tail. Apologize. (20 minutes) (How did she get back inside, anyway?)
8) Measure the water (see previous newsletter) (5 minutes)
9) Set the water on the stove and wait for it to boil (30 minutes)
10) Actually cook the noodles. (3 minutes, as advertised)
11) Add the little cardiac-destroying flavor packet and stir until it's completely dissolved. (5 minutes)
12) Realize I forgot to wash a bowl. Do so. (5 minutes)
13) Apologize to the cat for stepping on her little paw. (30 minutes)
14) Feed the cat so she maybe won't get trod upon. (4 minutes)
15) Reheat the broth because it's been cooling for nearly 45 minutes at this point. (10 minutes)
16) Pour ramen into bowl. (1 minute)
Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Three minutes, my gas.
Next time I'm ordering delivery.
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Last time, "Cooking" featured the first part of the Cooking series.
Quick-Quill : I am your mom but a better cook. I made a great hot fish with hamburger. I had ground ham I used to make ham lunch spread. So I substituted it for the hamburger. It was not good. Only the dog ate it. So now it’s referred as Mommie-o surprise. I still substitute things and experiment. I usually do a good job. I watch a lot of food channel shows
I'm... not seeing how that's "better." Okay, no, now I remember: even the dog wouldn't eat my mom's cooking.
Lazy Writer est 4/24/2008 : Loved this newsletter! I used to experiment with cooking, some things were good and some not so good.
My "experiments" are always: How precisely can I follow the recipe? Then if it fails, I can shift blame.
QueenNormaJean isNancyDrew4now : I like the quote: I won't be impressed by technology until I can download food.
—unattributed internet person
That would be the true achievement of the 21st century. Keep your electric cars. Give me food from the air.
You know what technology from Star Trek I most need to see? It's not warp drive. It's not transporter pads. It's not even the holodeck. No, it's the replicator.
Elfin Dragon - contest hunting : With regards to Cooking...I've found that even with a recipe there is room for creativity. But you still have to understand the basics of what actually tastes good together. Certain spices just don't work with one another. But in general, creativity is a good thing.
The only thing where specific measurements are really required is baking because that is more of a science. If you get things wrong with baking...well your item can not only look bad but taste bad.
Sometimes, I can muster up a milliliter or two of creativity for my writing. That's all there is. There's none left for cooking. You know how some people freak out when they have to do math? I love math, but creativity is forever beyond my grasp.
And that's it for me for September! See you next month. Until then,
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