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Tony Grist

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Preaching To The Choir [Sep. 13th, 2009|12:02 pm]
Tony Grist
Convenience food is a bit of a con.  I just made mayonnaise.  It took me ten minutes. How inconvenient is that?

OK, the steak and kidney pie I made the other day took a bit longer - but not much. You coat the meat in seasoned flour, throw it in a dish with some onion, stock and tomato puree, then cover with pastry. Making the pastry is the toughest bit (and I'm afraid I cheated and used ready-made). The rest is cooking time. And of course the result is very much nicer than anything that ever came out of a tin.

There's no mystery to cooking. You take things that taste nice, mix them together, heat 'em for however long it takes. And that's it.

Everyone should learn to cook.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ingenious76
2009-09-13 11:39 am (UTC)
I agree completely. If you can wait ten minutes for a ready meal to heat in a microwave, you can add another ten and grill some chicken or fish and cook vegetables to go with it. Plus, there's something slightly worrying about people who say they can't cook - if confronted with a fridge of raw vegetables, they imply they'd either starve or poison themselves. Erk.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-09-13 03:15 pm (UTC)
I used to be scared of cooking. I had a few recipes I'd been doing for years- and I stuck to them. Looking back now it seems ridiculous.
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[User Picture]From: calasanctius
2009-09-13 11:44 am (UTC)
I'm impressed: mayonnaise can be fiendishly difficult. I remember trying to persuade my brother that the thin yellow stuff I'd just whipped up was mayonnaise. That stuff took ages to go...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-09-13 03:17 pm (UTC)
I guess I got lucky. Egg yolks, vinegar, mustard- add oil slowly while whisking. It seemed like a doddle. I think the secret may be to stop adding the oil as soon as you've reached the right consistency.
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[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2009-09-13 11:46 am (UTC)
The moment I realized that was truly revolutionary for me.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-09-13 03:18 pm (UTC)
Same here. I just wish I'd had the revelation a little earlier.
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[User Picture]From: wolfshift
2009-09-13 12:24 pm (UTC)
And ultimately, home-cooked food is usually less expensive than "convenience" food.

It usually tastes better. Or it does once you've got the hang of cooking, anyway.

It's healthier.

And I find that taking the time to cook is a nice break from other things.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-09-13 03:19 pm (UTC)
One more thing: it does wonders for your self-esteem to whip up a meal that other people enjoy.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-09-14 03:38 am (UTC)
I could not agree more! Hence the monthly dinner parties at my apartment. Yes, it's an ego trip, but also a reason to cook something a "bit more" than I would for one person alone< such as roasts and moussakas, etc.
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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2009-09-13 01:55 pm (UTC)

Shhhhhhhh!

You're gonna put a lot of us "usseless women" out of work!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-09-13 03:23 pm (UTC)

Re: Shhhhhhhh!

I don't think so. There's always cooking to be done. :)
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From: sculptruth
2009-09-13 03:06 pm (UTC)
Agreed, everyone should learn to cook, it's fun and it's gratifying! I love food posts.

I think the freedom comes in being alright with creating a disaster. If you're ok with that, then mistakes seem trivial. Cooked the roast too long? You have great sandwich meat. Vegetables got crispy on the grill? Add them to your next stock.

Sometimes you do have to use ready-made. Puff pastry can be a real bitch.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-09-13 03:25 pm (UTC)
You're right, most mistakes can be turned round.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-09-13 03:34 pm (UTC)
Ah, so you're taking it to a whole new level! Growing our own isn't an option for us- our yard is too small and dark.
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[User Picture]From: frumiousb
2009-09-13 04:09 pm (UTC)
I agree-- and I remember how much that particular revelation improved my life.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-09-13 05:06 pm (UTC)
I just wish I'd found out sooner.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2009-09-13 05:33 pm (UTC)
Here here! I count myself very lucky that I grew up in a household where most foods were made from scratch until I was about 12 years old. That included jam, pickles, frozen veg, and yogurt. I learned as a child to enjoy the process of cooking, and felt a deep sense of loss when my mother switched to mostly packaged foods. When I moved out on my own, I went back to cooking from scratch as much as possible again. And of course now with the celiac and the dairy allergy, I have very little choice --- which makes a convenient excuse when I run into one of those people who resents and gets sniffy about home cooking. ;)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-09-14 09:25 am (UTC)
Like you I grew up with home cooking- and home-made jams and cakes and all sorts. Being a boy, though, I never got any instruction in the female mysteries. I'd like to think things have changed now- and that boys are routinely taught how to cook- but I don't suppose they are.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2009-09-14 12:27 pm (UTC)
I suspect it depends on the household, but nowadays even girls are rarely taught to cook.

My mother was an anomaly there, in that she taught my brother (who IIRC is about your age) to cook, just as us girls were taught how to mow the lawns. He wanted to learn, though, and I'm not sure how common a trait that was.
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[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2009-09-13 07:32 pm (UTC)
This is so true. There are a few things that aren't really worth making on your own if you can buy them instead, but in general cooking from scratch isn't difficult. I wonder at things like cake mixes. You still have to mix ingredients and bake the cake--why not just mix a few more ingredients and do it from scratch? It's not more difficult at all! And the difference in flavor is huge.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-09-14 09:30 am (UTC)
I don't suppose I'll always make my own mayo (for one thing the home-made variety doesn't keep) but I thought it would be fun to give it a go- and it was.

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