"It was nice while it lasted"
THINGS I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN
28 September 2005
It's all Paula Deen's fault. Well, that and boring regular daytime TV, especially on the weekends. I have stated before that I am a TV addict and have been for all of my adult life. It's not that I watch so much TV, but while I find it distracting to have the radio or a CD playing in the background while I work, having the TV on is good company, so it's just always on.
I hadn't really watched much of Food Network before, but when I started giggling at the butter-and-cream laden recipes of Paula Deen, I found that I just kept Food Network on more and more often. Every so often, I find a recipe that sounds like a good idea and I copy it down. It's helped spice up my meal planning.
(Sherry cherry tomatoes has become one of my favorite dinnertime vegetables. Who would have thought about doing something with cherry tomatoes other than tossing them in a salad?)
There are times when Rachel Ray's militantly perky personality begins to wear thin, especially now that she has three TV shows, but she does have good cooking ideas. Sometimes the word "awesome" just grates on my ears!
But I've found strange benefits from watching the Food Network. I've been cooking for more than 40 years and there are things that I should have known all this time and just never did.
I knew, for example, that you're supposed to let a roast sit for 10 minutes or so after cooking (and I've religiously followed that rule with the Christmas turkey), but I never knew that the reason you let meat rest after cooking so that it absorbs all the juice and keeps the meat moist and tender. That explains why, as the queen of instant gratification who cuts into other meat as soon as it comes out of the pan, I'm always complaining that my chicken breasts or barbequed steaks are so dry!
You'd think that I would have figured out long before this that if you cover a pan full of liquid when you put it on the burner that it will boil faster, wouldn't you?
I knew that if you roll a lemon around a bit before cutting it will loosen it up and make it easier to extract the juice, but it never occurred to me that if you are going to use your hands to squeeze the juice into a dish that if you hold the cut side up, you won't have to fish seeds out of your food afterwards.
I never thought about rolling basil leaves into a cylinder before chopping, as an easy way of chopping more basil faster.
I never knew how to make a basic wine sauce without following a recipe.
I didn't know that salt in the water would make it boil faster, and oil in the water would keep your pasta strands from sticking to each other, and would keep the water from boiling over in the pot.
It never occurred to me that if you don't have a sifter on hand, a thin mesh strainer works just as well.
I'm always sitting here slaping myself on the forehead and giving a good Homer Simpson rendition of "doh!" when I pick up a tidbit about something that it seems most cooks just take for granted.
If I live long enough and continue to watch Food Network, I might
someday learn how to boil water properly.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
photo by Claire Amy Atkins