Saturday, January 22, 2011

Iron Chef (Okay, Maybe Tungsten, Or Perhaps Molybdenum)

For many, cooking is a chore. It's a necessary evil, like flossing or Congress. Some avoid it altogether, choosing instead to eat out as often as possible and subsist on bologna sandwiches and grape Crush when funds are low. I personally enjoy cooking, and I've much better at it now than I was three or four years ago. In that time, I've discovered the secrets to happy, successful cooking.

Step 1: Hire A Good Sous Chef. A solid backup is imperative. Someone who can dice an onion, stir a sauce, and sharpen a knife while you're drinking wine is an invaluable resource.

Step 1: Check

Step 2: Prepare A Menu. Knowing what you're going to be making ahead of time is smart. That way you can prepare the ingredients, plan on an execution strategy, and find the number of a good takeout place that serves the same thing if you start the kitchen on fire.

Note to self: talk to Macy's teacher about
adding "broccoli" to next week's spelling list.

Step 3: Prepare The Ingredients.  Preparation is everything. Having everything measured out, chopped, diced, washed and peeled makes the whole endeavor run smoothly. The French call it "mise en place".  Those French; they have a pretentious phrase for everything!

Macy got the hang of egg wash battering in a hurry.

Step 4:  Cook.  All the preparation and wine drinking leads up to this.The execution of the meal is almost as satisfying as eating it. No fires, no burns, no blackened remains hurled out the back door: these are the trappings of a successful foray in the culinary world.

Most definitely not takeout.

Step 5: Enjoy The Fruits Of Your Labor. After it's all said and done, you finally get to eat. If you're like me, you're likely at least a half bottle of wine into this thing, so the food is bound to taste delicious no matter what.  But if you followed these steps closely, more likely than not you've created something to be proud of.  And if not, you've got a half bottle of wine left, so get busy erasing this memory from your brain.

Note to Child Protective Services: Macy is drinking apple cider.

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