Jan 1, 2009

A word about timing

This may be old hat to you. You have my permission to skip this post if that is the case.

For those of us who did NOT learn to cook until we were thrown into when feeding ourselves became imperative: This post is for you.

When there are several dishes to cook and they all have different time requirements, how do you get them to finish together and be hot when it's time to eat?

Simple. You do a little math.

Stop groaning. It's not Algebra. It's subtraction.

Here's my example:

I am roasting a chicken that takes 2 hours at 375, cooking brown rice that takes 50 minutes, and steaming broccoli that takes approximately 5 to 20 minutes (depends on how done you want it). There's also leftover cheese sauce to heat.

I want everything to be done at 6:00. By the process of subtraction I write out list. I'm visual--I need to see prompts. I also have a child, so I can't depend on my memory anymore.

Now, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah--timing.

Here's my chart:

  • 3:55--melt butter in preheating oven (Save that energy!)
  • 4:00--brush back of chicken with butter and sprinkle with spices
  • 4:50--put water and rice into pot to bring to a boil
  • 5:00--Turn chicken, brush with butter and sprinkle spices.
  • Return chicken to oven. (I told you have to write everything down.)
  • 5:05--begin timing rice for 50 minutes.
  • 5:30--prep broccoli for steaming
  • Begin timing broccoli when it comes to a boil. I find it's just best to check it for color and smell and turn it off BEFORE it looks done. It keeps steaming even after you stop the heat.
  • 5:45--Begin to heat cheese sauce on low to medium low, stirring often.
  • 5:50--set the table

VOILA! Dinner dishes are ready at the SAME time. Everything is hot and equally delectable.

Then, you call your husband and son. 15 minutes later they meander in. Everything is medium warm now.

Wait, I have a solution for that, too! Call the men at 5:45. Lie if you have to. "Supper's ready," you say. You can whisper an "almost" between the words if it makes you feel less manipulative.

Beware: It may backfire. If they arrive immediately, just enlist them in setting the table. They probably won't notice...?


Stephanie said...

I finally learned to do this over Christmas. It was awesome having everything done (and hot!) at the same time. What a concept.

Roxanne said...

Well, I felt in my bones that I was doing ground-breaking stuff here...

I'm joking, but it really IS ground-breaking when you struggle to make dinner happen before figuring out this concept.

Maybe the NEXT generation won't have to reinvent the cooking wheel if we'll just share what we've learned LOL!

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