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KateW

People Talking to You While you Cook

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I've told him time and time again don't come around the corner and talk to me while I'm cooking. But he always does it. This morning I was trying to get the sunny side up egg from the pan to the bread in one piece, he comes around the corner saying some crap about flooding and I screw the whole thing up. I'm particular about my food. He knows that. My day is ruined if something's wrong with my food. Sure, that yolk would have broken when I bit into it anyway, but that's when I wanted it to break.

Am I too skittish? This doesn't happen when there are people around me talking. Only when someone talks directly to me, all my concentration goes out the window and I screw something up.

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How do I say this without sounding condescending...If I had to tip toe around a co-worker because they couldn't talk and cook without screwing something up and then get blamed for it.....

On a more positive note.....I would initiate conversation to help overcome that

initial hiccup that apparently is the cause of the problem.

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It's not so much at work, although that is annoying too when I'm trying to do something delicate and someone's talking my ear off. The egg incident I mentioned was at home. I can never hear my fiance coming to the kitchen and he always has to bound into the room and immediately start talking and I always jump. Sometimes I'm doing something with food, sometimes I'm not. Sometimes it's his food that pays, but usually it's mine :biggrin:

At work, I hate to be watched. I start second guessing myself when someone's watching.

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I guess I don't understand. My whole kitchen is designed around a sitting area with comfortable chairs and a couch, plus some barstools and at every gathering all people end up there. I have a nice place, large and comfortable, but they always end up piled into the kitchen and I guess I like it that way. I'm going to be in the kithcen and as we have invited people over I want to be able to visit and avoid the feeling that I am in the kitchen in the restaurant and everybody else is in the front of house waiting on their meal.

I did spend a fair amount of my early life working in large commercial kitchens and if you can't deal with direct conversations there, you will soon find yourself unemployed.

edited to say: No. I don't need any help. I know just what I am doing and I am probably better at it than you. It's my kitchen. When I come to your house I am not going to help, so quit bothering me and have another Sazerac.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I don't mind the talking. It's the ones who stand (or lie, if they are four-legged and fuzzy) in the way!

The kitchen can be completely empty. I come in to cook, and lo! there's a cat on the floor in front of the table, a dog on the floor in front of the sink, another cat wanting to get up on the counter to look out the window. And that's when A. will decide he needs a snack, so he'll get something out of the fridge, pour himself a drink, and then stand there in the middle of the room eating it while I'm trying to cross the space he's occupying to get from the pantry to (the sparse two running feet which is all there is) of counter!

Now that sometimes leads me to get testy and stand there snapping "Get out! Get out! All of you, out!"

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I mind the talking.

If blades are flashing, fires are leaping, water is boiling, the mushrooms are ready for a splash of red wine, that is what we should be talking about. But there really isn't time to chat now, is there?

Eating might be a social activity. Cooking for ten to thirty people is not.

And what could be more important and just can't wait than the perfect doneness of an egg?


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I can talk but it must be inconsequential chitchat, because 80% of my mind is on the cooking.

Cooking time is not the time to make major life decisions!

And, I've learned the hard way not to have an argument and cook at the same time - I end up cutting myself every time!


Stephanie Kay

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I mind the talking.

If blades are flashing, fires are leaping, water is boiling, the mushrooms are ready for a splash of red wine, that is what we should be talking about. But there really isn't time to chat now, is there?

I would sit and watch in silent admiration as you went about your many tasks.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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My hard of hearing mother had this great trick - she'd turn off her hearing aid.

Lacking the ability to do that, if I'm busy, I'll just not pay attention except to key focus words like "fire", "death" or "Sifl & Olly are back on TV." So talk all you want, but I can't guarantee I'm listening. I do the same thing when I'm reading a book.


--adoxograph

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If you can hit a baseball coming at at 90+ miles per hour with thousands of people screaming then you can cook with a few people talking.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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I can never hear my fiance coming to the kitchen and he always has to bound into the room and immediately start talking and I always jump.

I suggest tying a bell around his neck - I'm lucky, my boyfriend stomps around like an elephant. I think I can actually hear him getting off the elevator (which is about 100 feet away) when he gets home from work. Wait... did I say I was lucky? :huh:

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And what could be more important and just can't wait than the perfect doneness of an egg?

How about "Have pie, you want pie?". Eggs are good, eggs are groovy, but an egg is not a pie.

Adam, what is this "pie" of which you speak?*

_____

*This is all part of an antediluvian eG meme/joke some eldery members might 'mumber.

Basically, if there is disquiet or jostling one would intone "I like pie", referring only to savoury pies such as steak and kidney, steak and mushroom, Mowbray pok pies etc.

The origins were found in a blanket condemnation of all foods of the British Isles, Adam's reply of "Well, I like pie" and my "Adam, I like pie too!" And it went from there to references as numberless as the flakes of a good crust.

Today's "History Minute" was brought to you by 3.14159265.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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If you can hit a baseball coming at at 90+ miles per hour with thousands of people screaming then you can cook with a few people talking.

Uh...

Maybe.

What is this "base ball" of which you speak?


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I also don't like the gabbing. At work or at home. I'm not saying I wish to cook in the silence of a monastery :rolleyes: but I don't like it when someone asks me something that requires thought while I am trying to concentrate on not burning myself. Luckily, my boyfriend rarely sets foot in the kitchen when I cook. He doesn't like to see how much salt I use, or how much butter, and he doesn't want to be asked for help.


Noise is music. All else is food.

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What you actually need is more exposure to distracting things. As you work with these distractions you learn to tune them out and it becomes easier.

If you isolate yourself all the time, you do not develop the "calluses" on your perception that allows you to concentrate on something and ignore the extraneous and annowying activities around you.

I have done a lot of volunteer cooking and baking at a senior citizen's center and until you have worked around them, you have no idea how much they like to talk, and talk, and talk. One advantage is that they seldom expect an answer. I would go on with my work and listen with one ear, making an appropriate, uh huh or ummmmm, or how about that! from time to time. The main thing is to do the job and not hurt anyone's feelings.

Plan a small meal, invite people into the kitchen and work around them. As I said, you have to be exposed to it to learn to live with it.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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If you can hit a baseball coming at at 90+ miles per hour with thousands of people screaming then you can cook with a few people talking.

i can't do either. not sure if that supports your theory, though.

i'm not very good at doing 2 things at once. but i'm trying harder to be able to chat and prep/cook, as the kitchen is the certain of the universe, and all of my friends agree.

i've found that giving guests little cooking tasks shuts them up. hopefully one day all of us will be able to chat and prep at the same time.


Edited by tommy (log)

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I don't mind talking while I'm cooking - it's that critical plating time when you are so trying NOT to make a mess but the omelette is stuck or the potatoes are a bit overdone and need some "massaging" to make them palatable - that's when HE walks into kitchen - he being The Dane. If all went perfectly and plating is a joy - he must be called to the table. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Depends. If it's something I do a lot, practically nothing can distract me since the movements are nearly rote. In your example, I make eggs all the time, and plopping an egg on toast wouldn't require any thinking at all so I can certainly hold a conversation while doing it. However, if I'm following a complicated recipe with unfamiliar items and techniques then I need all the concentration I can get!

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i should mention that i require silence, and for people to get out of my way, when i approach plating. your asses should be in the seats, wandering around the kitchen. m'kay?

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The origins were found in a blanket condemnation of all foods of the British Isles, Adam's reply of "Well, I like pie" and my "Adam, I like pie too!" And it went from there to references as numberless as the flakes of a good crust.

Today's "History Minute" was brought to you by 3.14159265.

yay pi!

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I don't mind the talking at all. I kind of enjoy the company and the chatter. What I DON'T like is the "helping". I would rather do it all myself than to watch someone chop clumsily with my precious knife or season something that doesn't need seasoning. You can stand in my kitchen, sip my wine, and talk my ear off... just don't touch anything.

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i've found that giving guests little cooking tasks shuts them up.

tommy, I've found that giving guests a fat joint shuts them up, too. Especially since there's no smoking in my kitchen. :wink:


Noise is music. All else is food.

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I don't mind the talking at all. I kind of enjoy the company and the chatter. What I DON'T like is the "helping". I would rather do it all myself than to watch someone chop clumsily with my precious knife or season something that doesn't need seasoning. You can stand in my kitchen, sip my wine, and talk my ear off... just don't touch anything.

exactamundo

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I can never hear my fiance coming to the kitchen and he always has to bound into the room and immediately start talking and I always jump.

I suggest tying a bell around his neck...

There's an Aesop's Fable called "Belling the Cat" about, well, putting a bell around the cat's neck so (can't remember what) would hear it coming. As a child, I saw the title and thought it was a story about a cat named Belling. I keep meaning to name a cat "Belling", but they keep naming themselves, dammit.

Back OT...

I don't mind being talked to while I'm cooking. I encourage guests to crowd around (the other side of) the counter and get lively with the cook. What I can't stand are the children who think my being in the kitchen is an invitation to plop themselves down and play 20 questions with me.

"When you cooked at the restaurant, did you make this all the time?"

No, it was a French restaurant. We didn't serve chili there.

"Why do you run the pepper under the faucet? Is that to make it not be so spicy?"

I'm running the pepper under the faucet because I just dropped it on the floor and now I'm rinsing off the dog hair.

"How would you describe the color green to a blind person?"

What in God's name does this have to do with cooking?"

"Nothing, I'm just asking. If the sky was purple one day would they think it was wierd?"

Get out. GET OUT.

I finally realized that if I let my iPod accompany me into the kitchen (with headphones, not those dainty earbuds that let you still hear what's going on around you) and turn it up really loud, I can just point to the headphones and shrug when I see the kids' mouths start to move.

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