Monday, November 15, 2010

Being Organized is what’s Hard


Alton Brown’s voice was hoarse from three performances at Cleveland’s Fabulous Food Show Saturday and from shouting in conversation to fans in the noisy I-X center. But the white Burgundy and clams with foie gras at Greenhouse Tavern that night were going a long way in soothing the chords and the soul.

“I always say, cooking isn’t hard,” he said. “Being organized is what’s hard.” I’d been planning to write on this very subject and was glad the conversation had turned this way over dinner. “Cooking is easy, cooking is relaxing,” he went on. “It’s the not-being-organized that’s so stressful for people.”

This has been the main progression in my own cooking in the past year or so, and a lot of it is knowing where to lower your expectations and reduce the need for too much planning. I make more things in double batches now and freeze -- swedish meatballs, pasta sauce, stock. I also buy less, and throw away fewer, fresh vegetables. Also, things like buying frozen french fries but actually deep frying them make for tastier dinners without too much deep prep. Now I just need a bigger freezer.

I've simplified things things enough that, in combination with more experience, I pretty much know what we're having for dinner for the next four days at all times (veal loin chops, pasta and meatballs, quesadillas with chorizo and roasted squash, Mignons de Porc à l’ail, Bob and Timmy's, btw).

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