Petty Vents II

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dragnlaw

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couldn't find the original - either my search abilities REALLY suck or it is buried buried very very deep.

Why do recipes say 'Prep 10 min. Cook 25 min. Total 35 min.' ?
Here is a typical Beef 'n Mac dinner.
Gather ingredients - How long does it take you to go to the fridge, the cupboard, wash, chop and measure? That alone, only if you are super fast, your fridge, stove, sink, cupboards are all reachable without moving a foot, can you do that in 10 minutes? and I forgot to say getting out a pot and casserole dish plus grating the cheese.
Boil the water - 5 min? Cook the pasta - 7 min? OK, while water boils, you can saute your mirepoix. about 7 min doing it slowly from oil to garlic and paste (according to directions.)
Brown the meat - now this is 1.5 lbs - browning and breaking up, they don't say how long this takes but it is at least 10 minutes right there!
Add sauce, simmer 5 minutes. then you have to layer it all together and bake 20-25 minutes.

An experienced cook will realize that the times mentioned are not even close. But for a newbie/beginner - that is very misleading. When I look at recipes I often check the times needed. Do I need to start around 2 pm because there is resting/marinating times? Or 4 pm or 5 pm to have dinner on the table by 6?
When I see a recipe that states 10 minutes prep time I think OK, they put on their apron then they walked to the stove, turned the oven on, walked to the fridge, removed the casserole, took it to the counter next to the stove, removed the cardboard cover, pierced the film to vent. Poured a glass of wine and put the casserole in the oven. 10 minutes.

Thank you - I feel better (almost, if it wasn't 8:35 am I would be pouring that glass of wine)

Edit: Egads, just found original Petty Vents, 5 threads below this.
I could merge them if y'all think I should. (and there again, I think I can! LOL)
 
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GotGarlic

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This is one reason why I usually stick to specific sources for recipes - some people seem to be more meticulous about recording their actual experiences when making a dish than others. It's so easy to set up a food website that literally anyone can do it. That doesn't mean that everyone is a good recipe writer.

Btw, the Petty Vents thread is here. You can decide whether to combine them. Tip: when searching, you can tick a box that says "search in titles only" or something to that effect.
 

dragnlaw

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GG, yeah, I did edit to say I found the other thread.

Hate to tell you but the website with the Mac 'n Beef is "The Spruce Eats" :sneaky:
 

GotGarlic

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Well, my system isn't perfect, but it helps me, most of the time 😁

I think it's a good idea to start a new thread for an ongoing topic once in a while. Really long threads often get wonky.
 

Marlingardener

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A riff on Dragnlaw's vent. Recipes that don't have a complete list of ingredients. After reading the list of ingredients and getting started on making the dish, you hit "add basil" or "stir in melted butter" which is not in the list. What!!! I've learned to read the entire recipe before starting, but it is still irritating to have to add ingredients to a recipe's list.
(That is why I enjoy the recipes posted here--actual people have actually prepared the dish).
 

Andy M.

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A while ago I started adding elapsed time to my recipes. The clock starts when I walk into the kitchen and stops when I am ready to serve. I don't separate prep from cook times.
 

JohnDB

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A riff on Dragnlaw's vent. Recipes that don't have a complete list of ingredients. After reading the list of ingredients and getting started on making the dish, you hit "add basil" or "stir in melted butter" which is not in the list. What!!! I've learned to read the entire recipe before starting, but it is still irritating to have to add ingredients to a recipe's list.
(That is why I enjoy the recipes posted here--actual people have actually prepared the dish).
Most pros who are capable of creating new recipes scaled down for your average domestic foodie are simply not skilled in relating these things to your average home foodie.

Writing and relating/teaching in themselves are a completely different skill set that most don't have...much less an accomplished Chef.

So much of cooking seems to come from the emanations stemming from the penumbra that it's a mystery for so many people...much less for someone skilled in receiving those emanations and then causing a stop to those emanations so they can chicken scratch them down on paper.
But in truth the wizardry in cooking comes from experience...lots of experience and knowledge that has been carefully categorized with the processes and procedures necessary for pulling off a culinary delight. What goes with what, what elements are crucial for standing out, how to make something shine like a star...rounding out flavors like they need to be.

Then there's timing...which comes from experience and the need to finish faster for a demanding audience....of course a heavy set Italian chef yelling and cursing at you constantly while looking over your shoulder in at least four different languages to get you to perform faster and more accurately for 30 minutes non-stop does tend to make a person either perform or crumple up in a little ball on the floor and go to their happy place.

Not everyone is cut out to be a pro or cook like one. Doesn't mean that their food is bad or they are slow or anything of that sort.
Most cooking times only include resting times if they are significant...otherwise nope.

Sourdough bread of course has significant resting times...so does brioche. But a cake batter doesn't. And depending on the type (chiffon or genoise or some sort of blend) the time it takes to put together the batter is going to vary drastically.
 

dragnlaw

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JohnDB, might be a good idea to visit the website I was referring to. Wish I could put it in a synopsis but that is beyond my ken. I'm sure we've all done many recipes from them. Their staff is impressive, not to mention J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.

Andy, keep pushing, think I see the eman - you just need the ations now.
 

JohnDB

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JohnDB, might be a good idea to visit the website I was referring to. Wish I could put it in a synopsis but that is beyond my ken. I'm sure we've all done many recipes from them. Their staff is impressive, not to mention J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.

Andy, keep pushing, think I see the eman - you just need the ations now.
I've been to that site before several times...when writing a recipe lately I usually visit several websites to see what is going on and general themes and then write my own.

But I've been trained formally...I have my timing down.

But I also understand your frustration too....my wife wanted a desk for her office and we bought one that needed assembly....with an "easy 274 step by step guide" ugggghhhhhh.

The pictures didn't match the hundreds of parts well and clearly. So I had to guess a lot. And then there was the tweaking needed to make the drawers not hit each other so that they would close correctly and etc....not exactly a fun project! The drawers still have issues to this day.

For a professional chef I make a lousy trim carpenter/cabinet maker. And it's especially frustrating when I know guys that can use the instructions for blowing their noses and put one of these together practically blindfolded....not even a hiccup as they put a desk together.

Two days it took me to build a desk....
Just because "everyone" cooks doesn't mean that everyone needs to cook like a pro. Expect longer times and these days incomplete recipes because good editing is another skill in short supply. (Part of one of the many things my wife does for a living)

Then I look at my own recipes I've written....nobody can follow them but me...incomplete and missing steps and missing complete details on ingredients.

I'll list a weight for flour but then neglect to mention the type of flour. I carry six types normally. Three for bread, two all purpose, and then a cake/cookie flour....then there's the semolina, corn, and two rye flours on top. Three sugars (brown, white, and powdered)

And where I know exactly what I'm doing...few can follow even my most well written instructions. When I list something like candied orange peel I certainly don't use any commercially prepared product. I mean orange peels that I have personally candied in a particular way...which again isn't going to be obvious and requires some talent to make as you have to catch the sugar at just the right timing and temperature to be right.

And I do agree though....
If you are going to make a living by posting recipes....you need to make sure that they are easy to understand AND complete with mise en place and methodology.
I ensure every step of my food is correct....why can't they do a bit more editing to make sure what they print is correct?
 

dragnlaw

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My thing is that misnomer of time is on recipes in magazines, on line, everywhere!. I'm sure they have a criteria for how they decide on certain things, actually think I've even read it somewhere. But all recipes that I have come across lately have that unreasonable prep time. I don't care who has written it. Professional or not, testers, editors - all let it slide. These are not done for Cooking Academies! The general home cook public is the target.

I will however, give credit to some bloggers and sites I have come across, specifically for giving approx measures weights in various forms. Ex. when they state "add one large ***" now they are starting to also say, "approx. 2/3 cup" or an approx. weight.

Also kudos to recipes that give both metric and imperial. I grew up with imperial but have learned to comprehend the weights in metric, albeit not so much the liquids and teaspoons.

little side note: Weather temperatures, in Canada, are Celsius (metric) but for the life of me I can't get it. Have to do Fahrenheit. 50 years and I still can't do it. sigh... :confused:
LOL, which adds another vent!
eg: OMG it is below 0! It is -2, it is so cold!
What? excuse me, that is only just barely below freezing at 28.5 F. I hardly think that is coldd! :ROFLMAO:
 

Cooking Goddess

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I'm slow. I double all posted times, throw in ten minutes for "travel time" (counter to pantry to basement, etc), and a bonus five just in case I need to bandage a cut finger. That gets me pretty close to how long it actually takes me to prepare a recipe. :LOL:

And @dragnlaw ? Kenji's cooking site is "Serious Eats". The Spruce is a different blog/site.
 

cookiecrafter

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I remember the first time I saw prep & cook times listed for a recipe. I told my coworker to clip it. She asked if I was going to try it. I said no, my husband does the cooking. He gets to try it. I cut off the times and handed him the recipe. He came very close, the food was good, and I never wondered about it again.
 

taxlady

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I hear ya dragn. If I ever put prep, etc. times on a recipe, I think I will add "fetching time" or at least put a note that it's after "fetching time". I was just noticing that the other day and thinking, "Well, yeah, it took about 10 minutes to prep, after I got all of the ingredients out and handy." And there's also getting out the tools. Okay, my cutting boards, knives, and steel are close to hand, but I have to bend over to get out many of my pots, mixing bowls, and baking stuff. Doing stuff bent over is the thing that tires me out the most. I don't expect anyone to include my recuperation time from fetching stuff while bent over, but yeah, that time counts when I'm prepping stuff.
 

Andy M.

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You first need to acquire a heavy set sweaty Italian chef who enjoys yelling and being angry.
I hear ya dragn. If I ever put prep, etc. times on a recipe, I think I will add "fetching time" or at least put a note that it's after "fetching time". I was just noticing that the other day and thinking, "Well, yeah, it took about 10 minutes to prep, after I got all of the ingredients out and handy." And there's also getting out the tools. Okay, my cutting boards, knives, and steel are close to hand, but I have to bend over to get out many of my pots, mixing bowls, and baking stuff. Doing stuff bent over is the thing that tires me out the most. I don't expect anyone to include my recuperation time from fetching stuff while bent over, but yeah, that time counts when I'm prepping stuff.

Don't forget to add all the time it took you to shop for the ingredients.
 

dragnlaw

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Now, who on earth ever runs out of tomato paste? Either tube or can.... There is always some somewhere! Little tablespoons frozen in the freezer, lost can at the back of the cupboard, soggy looking carton with a squeezed tube but still some in it....

HA! now we know who! :furious:
 

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