Have you heard about Michael Pollan's new book? It talks about home cooking, and why it's important. It's started a whole conver...

Making Time to Cook

Have you heard about Michael Pollan's new book? It talks about home cooking, and why it's important. It's started a whole conversation about how to get Americans back into the kitchen.

Growing up, we had family dinner every night. Despite falling right in the middle of The Simpsons, dinner was served between 6 and 6:15pm daily. (My dad was not amused when afternoon crew practice interfered with dinner timing.)

And, almost every night, that meal was home cooked.

Dan and I have continued the tradition, although we are a little bit more lax about the timing. Oftentimes, dinner is on the table less than 20 minutes after we arrive home. Sometimes, we even eat completely different meals. For example, last week, Dan had lettuce wraps with rice, chopped veggies and peanut sauce, while I enjoyed a grain bowl with quinoa, mushrooms, snap peas and peanut sauce.

How do we do it? It's not as hard as it seems.

A few of my tips:
1. Always make extra.
The rice and quinoa? Those were leftovers from other meals. And later this week, we plan to have black bean soup from a batch big enough for two dinners and two lunches apiece.

2. Multitask.
That black bean soup? We let it bubble away on the back burner while we were cooking, eating and cleaning up another dinner.
While I'm pan frying something, I often turn the heat to medium. Sure, it cooks more slowly, but it doesn't require constant attention. While the broccoli slowly heats, I can make a tasty tahini dressing or begin cleaning up.
Slow cookers and rice cookers do the same thing: they multitask while you're off at work.

3. Share the work.
Dan is our official saucier. Sure, I can brown garlic without burning it, and get a beautiful crust on a batch of tofu. But Dan is the master of sauces. So while I tend to grains, greens and proteins, he dances about the kitchen fetching soy sauce, nutritional yeast, lemons, oils, herbs, spices and more. He always make a big batch—enough for lunch and maybe a second dinner.

4. Think simple.
Ever been to foodgawker? If that was your only source of recipes, you'd think that every meal had 15 steps and 25 ingredients. Not true. Many of my favorite meals seem too simple to share with the world:
-- leftover rice, microwaved with soymilk, nutritional yeast, paprika and curry until creamy
 served with raw veggies and (if I'm feeling fancy) some beans
-- hummus with roughly chopped veggies and pita triangles
-- fresh corn, canned beans, lettuce, olive oil, salt and pepper
All of those dishes can be on the table in 10 minutes.

5. Semi-homemade
Hummus, barbecue sauce, salad dressings, teriyaki sauce—all of these take a collection of ingredients and make them a meal. Dan's not always home to make sauces, so sometimes we use pre-made stuff. I'm not always home to start beans in the slow cooker, so sometimes we use cans.

6. Get better knives.
Nothing sucks the joy out of cooking faster than a dull knife. It will add 50% onto your prep time, and make it impossible to multitask. It will give you uneven pieces of food, which means uneven cooking, increased stress and poor results. And a decent knife doesn't have to be expensive.

Seriously, if you hate to cook, it's probably because you have shitty knives.

You may also like

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.