Dec 31, 2008

Diced, cubed, shredded, sliced…..

I don’t know whether I am foodie but I’d like to think that of me. What could possibly make a foodie, a foodie? Love for food? That I have in truckloads. So, I qualify. And I also like to cook. Sometime back the ‘like to cook’ was almost ‘love to cook’ and the demotion in status is due to failed attempts of mine to bake (cooking, baking all same, ok?) a perfect and soft eggless chocolate cake for a relative’s birthday. A small cake and I couldn’t get it right. The cake got a little chewy and I had to heat it every time I cut a slice to eat because, the hotter cake was simply, more edible. Now I shudder at the thought of having to bake, but I know I am just addicted to getting it right someday. I have learned that I should just not follow multiple recipes and tweak it for my needs, without even knowing whether the original worked for me or not! Bah!

On recipes that I find online – I am sure most of us would’ve noticed the layout in which the cook/chef has detailed the procedure – first a brief of what the ‘dish’ is all about, then the ingredients, time estimate and then the procedure, with or without pictures. In the ingredients, there are measures for each of them and we can see the words cut, finely chopped, cubed, diced, shredded, roasted, ground, juiced, extracted, half-cooked, al-dente etc very generously used. Now this is where I have a problem!

The preparation time set out in the recipe just does not involve the time taken for one to cut or finely chop or cube or shred or roast (you get the idea) the particular ingredient. Take diced carrots, for example – for a slow person like me, peeling, washing and dicing (ok, for my defense I will also mention that I like to be a perfectionist and so no bad pieces, for which I also run a quality check), say 2 carrots takes at least 5 minutes. But the recipe says that after your ingredients take (are made to?) the shape necessary for the ‘dish’, the dish could be turned out in, say 20 minutes. Is this fair to assume that all the ingredients are readily available in the shape the recipe calls for? What if some flour has to be dry roasted for some time? These are the things that anger me. I want an approximate time for getting these prepared too…I don’t want to be fooled into an ‘easy and quick to make’ recipe, which required loads of time for preparation. As a matter of fact, some recipes do mention a ‘preparation time’ and then ‘cooking time’, but the ‘preparation time’ is so unrealistic. Only a trained chef or a robot can do that, I say!

People who think what I am talking about is too trivial, try walking by some recipes when you are having friends over for dinner at short notice or something. You will find yourself in your dirty apron still in the kitchen when they are at your door. So, I’ve decided to mentally add all the time to a recipe if I ever try anyone out again. And, yeah, the mouthwatering cumin cookies and almond drops are so inviting…..gosh…I might need to get to baking again.

Cookies, here I come!

Thank you Sri, friends and all anonymouses for stopping by this blog this year. Wish you all a Happy New Year! May you have a wonderful 2009!

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