Continuing in our antagonistic ways… This week we would like to present the opposite sides of the ageless turtle vs. hare argument.
(feeble attempt at capturing a fantastic grilled asparagus salad with pineapple aioli, fried jalapenos and chive oil from Rose’s Luxury that J and I shared last weekend)
My mom has always told me I have one speed: “C__ speed”. There is no cure, just a chronic mellow pace that I will carry with me my entire life*. I think it took J a while to figure this out, but once he saw the pattern of coming over to my house and having to wait for me to put on my coat and find my keys (average= 25 min), I think he caught on that this wasn’t the exception but rather the rule. I find this pace allows me to enjoy things that quick people may miss and to really squeeze the substance out of a situation. As with most things chronic, bodily or otherwise, it took me a while to come into my own especially during my middle school days, but I have reached the stage of acceptance and even accelerated (albeit slowly) to the stage of embracement. Of course this means that I cook at a rather leisurely pace as well. The thing is, I enjoy the process of cooking even more sometimes than the product itself which makes going slow rather beneficial. Cooking for a dinner party takes me most of the day, cooking for the week takes me all day on Sunday and baking, well you better have some fierce patience to withstand the waiting time I would throw at you. But cooking is my catharsis and my creative outlet and I want to prolong my culinary-therapy as long as I can. Why would you want to rush that?
*there are two exceptions to my lackadaisical lifestyle and they are my showering speed and my driving speed. I wash my hair and body like there was a fire in my house and I drive as if I am a cop trying to get to the scene of an almost-murder.
I remember the first time I ever went over to C’s for dinner; she was going to make a few mini-pizzas with various choose-your-own toppings. I don’t remember when I arrived exactly, sometime after work, but when I did I thought she would be just putting everything in the oven and finishing up. I was wrong. Instead she was at her cutting board chopping away while the dough sat untouched on the counter. I asked if I could help, but she wanted to do this herself so I yielded to her process. As the evening progressed we enjoyed one mini pizza at a time, somewhat akin to a progressive dinner with all the waiting but no location changes.
Like C said, our pace is a complete contrast in the kitchen. I often feel like I am more comfortable when I have a few different dishes in process that I have to keep an eye on and attend to. I like multitasking. I like chopping quickly (Maybe I’ve watched too much Iron Chef?) and I like whirring around the kitchen testing the vegetable on the stove and tossing the caramelizing onions so they don’t stick to the skillet. Then once everything has finished cooking, plating is one of my favorite parts of the whole process. I want to serve fun looking dishes before people eat them! All of this being said I believe one of the reasons I like the Jamie Oliver “Meals in Minutes” cookbook so much is that it is written with a precise process in mind. Instead of ordering the instructions by dish, he writes them sequentially. Don’t you think it makes sense to finish your broccoli and rice on the stovetop while your Salmon is cooking in the oven? If you did those things one after the other then it would take hours before you could start eating. So much of refined cooking is in preparation and knowing how to juggle everything.
Yet again, agree to disagree.