10.03.2010

Will I Ever Master Timing in the Kitchen?

For the first book of the newly formed Bloggers' Book Club, we read "Too Many Cooks" by Emily Franklin, a book about "Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, and 102 Recipes." This post is inspired by that book.

I remember the first time I had friends over for dinner after I had William. I was making Greek chicken, salad, rice, and pumpkin spice cupcakes (an embellished recipe from the box). I was on maternity leave and Matt was catching a ride home from the city with our friends, Kari and Anthony. All week Kari encouraged me to order pizza, to not worry about cooking something, but I was determined to prove that I could still host friends for dinner with a newborn.

When they showed up I was quite possibly on the verge of tears, had no make-up on, a crying kid sat in his bouncy chair on the kitchen floor, and dinner wasn't ready yet. But, I was almost done. They shuffled in, played with William, and I was able to focus and finish it up. And I learned I could do it. It took me longer than I imagined, I got a ton more frazzled. But, I did it.

I've never been great at planning ahead when it comes to cooking. I underestimate how long it takes to chop things and think I can make three dishes at once without a real plan for how it will go down. But, somehow I *almost* always pull it off.

Tonight I decided to make The Best Split-Pea Soup Recipe Ever from Too Many Cooks. I, of course, realized that I was short a half pound of split peas and a pot large enough to hold all the soup the recipe would make, so when the soup should have been simmering on the stovetop, we were out tracking down these small necessities. The recipe calls for putting the soup in the oven for two hours. I gave it an hour and 15 minutes before I had to take it out to keep us from eating too late. I figured it would be fine. And it was. We enjoyed some awesome, complex split pea soup. (See, somehow it always works out.)

So, I guess nothing has really changed. In my head I can chop two leeks, two onions, six carrots, five celery stalks, and eight cloves of garlic in ten minutes and then saute all of it in about two minutes. Clearly, this is not possible. I drastically underestimate stuff like this. I'll for sure make this soup again, as it was a huge hit. But, I promised Matt that next time I would leave enough time for it to spend the recommended two hours in the oven to see what it's really supposed to taste like.

This post was inspired by the book "Too Many Chefs" by Emily Franklin, which I received complimentary as a part of The Bloggers' Book Club. See how other bloggers connected to this book here.

2 comments:

julie said...

The first time I made a whole chicken was for Channukah dinner 5 years ago. I took it out of the oven after the recommended time. It was still pink inside. Very pink. And cold.

My timer and I do not like each other very much.

Oh, and I'm really impressed that your soup turned out okay. Our dinners are ALWAYS late around here as I try to speed things up but make sure they're finished.

Jaime said...

i'm terrible with timing in the kitchen. i try to make things work out right, but usually part of the meal is ready at least 20 minutes before the rest...