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Life is too short to do it the right way...


Fat Guy
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If I performed every kitchen task the right way, with no shortcuts or mechanization, I' be 100 years old by the time I finished cooking dinner. Here, I will fess up to some horrible things I do to save time. I hope you will join me.

I put everything in the dishwasher, including pots, pans and knives. Actually, I should modify that: I don't put my best knives in the dishwasher, but I do wash the Forschners and utility-type knives.

More later.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Good thread!

To save time, I fill the pasta pot with hottest tap water then set it to boil.

I leave the most frequently used or most difficult to store pots or pans on the stove, like the above pasta pot.

I don't truss chickens before roasting: saves work and saves cooking time.

eGullet member #80.

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I put everything in the dishwasher, including pots, pans and knives. Actually, I should modify that: I don't put my best knives in the dishwasher, but I do wash the Forschners and utility-type knives.

I don't own any knives I wouldn't put in the dishwasher.

We don't have a maid but I pay my adult daughter to do the dishes and keep the kitchen cleaned up. She'll be married in 2012 and then it will be back to me doing it.

As much as I enjoy knifework, when I need minced garlic I use a garlic press. Always have - always will.

In my renaissance faire kitchen: I use the pre-peeled garlic from Costco for whole cloves and the already-chopped garlic from Costco for chopped garlic applications and while we basically cook all food for our feast from scratch we do use bottled marinades and BBQ sauces.

I prep fresh veggies for my lunches and snacks but I prefer frozen veggies for dinnertime.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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I use a jar of chopped ginger, instead of fresh. I usually use canned chicken stock because I don't like using freezer space for homemade. Ever since college I've cooked pasta in "not enough" water, long before McGee wrote about it. Lemon Pepper is my secret ingredient.

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the only things that don't go in the dishwasher are woodens, the one aluminium pan I have and the couple of good knives I have, the other knives go in.

I cheat big time with my meatballs in onion gravy - its a wonderful dish for guests, cos the meatballs get browned, put in a oven dish and onions are sliced over the top and onion gravy added. it then goes in the freezer, and can get pulled out at the end of a day taking folk sightseeing and popped in the oven. The onion gravy is a powdered variety that I mix up with cold water before pouring it over and putting in the freezer. Please don't tell anyone who eats here about that one ;)

I hot hot water in the pasta pot too

Neither do I truss chickens :)

Very guilty secret ... I use canned chopped tomatoes (the unflavoured ones) when I run out of the tomatoes I've cooked, stewed and frozen into can size quantites while toms are in season.

the only jacket potatoes anyone in this house gets are the ones done in 20-30 mins in the combination microwave ...

Mmmm. I think I should stop now, before I write a 10 page essay ...

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I use pre-ground spices and cornstarch instead of roux in everyday cooking, and "touch up" my knives on a Sharpmaker instead of the EdgePro.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I don't truss chickens before roasting: saves work and saves cooking time.

Trussing take not even a minute to do.

Rubbish! First you have to dig around in the giant wasteland of a kitchen drawer that holds the things suitable for trussing recalcitrant poultry. Once you find something to keep said poultry legs from flying out willy-nilly and destroying your self-delusional Martha psychosis you must disinfect and bandage the wounds sustained from random poky things found in said hell-dimension drawer. The trussing may begin at this point (making allowances for frustrated detanglements) but it is a well known fact that trussing anything other than a calf at a rodeo takes a period of time that can only be an exponential multiple of the time taken on an average cooking programme. Trussing complete, the aforementioned wounds must be re-disinfected and re-bandaged to prevent icky mess from festering in them. (optional extra time allowance for a desperate search for a clean tea towel). At this point you may bung the damn thing into oven, but will more likely drop it on the floor due to hands still being slippery from not having been dried on a clean tea towel, but hopefully shaken into the sink instead.

Total time: apparently infinite.

Never mind though, as you likely forgot to turn on the oven, so have plenty of time to rinse the damn thing and fend off marauding cats while waiting for it to heat up.

Edited for grammar and 4-th dimension errors.

Edited by Snadra (log)
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I use Asian fried shallots as a topping for things like perogies and sometimes as the onion component in meatballs or burgers. Because life is too short to cry a river over alliums and then go through the rest of the day with hair that smells of their fried corpses.

Edited: because onion components are different and less scary than onion opponents. Damn you autocorrect!

Edited by Snadra (log)
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A trussing needle is a handy tool. Plus, trussing a bird will keep the breasts from drying out. I think it's worth the effort.

Also, I've read that poultry should be started in a cold oven, so the temperature of the meat rises with the temperature of the oven. Not sure how accurate that statement is, but I've tried it both ways and I think a cold oven works well for roasting birds.

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Making fresh pasta. Yes, it's fantastic, etc. I'm not making it anymore since I can buy it at the store. However, most of the pasta recipes we like use dried pasta so why make yourself crazy? If it's good enough for countless Italians and Italian-American families, it's good enough for me.

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I like doing things the long way, and have a freezer full of homemade stock to prove it, but I've never taken the trouble to acquire a trussing needle. I have a way of tying up a bird that doesn't require a needle and haven't felt motivated to do it a different way.

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