Friday, April 16, 2010

This might turn into a bit of a rant

I came home late this evening and found a new magazine in the mail. Even though my work is online now, I am still a print person at heart. I’ve been getting Time magazine since I was 14, and right now I’m struggling to make a decision about my newspaper subscription. My mom has also found some great magazine deals and sent Southern Living my way as well as this new magazine, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food.

First of all, let me say in a quick skim through the magazine I’ve already marked pages and even torn out some recipes. I mean this issue gives me step-by-step instructions on how to spatchcock a chicken, which I had never heard of until reading this.

But the first page I turned to had a heading: Cooking for One, which of course excited me (and I knew it might give me a blog topic). Then the name of the recipe is “10-Minute Shrimp and Tortilla Soup.” But as I read the recipe, I counted 10 ingredients, six of which had to either be diced, peeled, minced or chopped. Now the cooking time all adds up to 10 minutes, but what about the chopping and dicing time? There’s no way I could finish this recipe start to finish in 10 minutes. But why do they tease me like that? I would like to see the person that could make this recipe in 10 minutes and maybe have them become my resident chef.

I’m not saying this is a bad recipe or that I’m not willing to try it, if only because I’m on a shrimp kick. Granted it requires 10 ingredients and my cut-off, excluding spices I already own, is usually five when cooking for myself, but I might be willing to move past that on this one. The amounts required are clearly designed to make a soup with just one or two servings (1/4 of an onion, 1 ear of corn, 4 ounces of shrimp), and I appreciate that they have already done the math for me.

I have a similar issue with a famous cooking personality who markets “30-Minute Meals.” I strongly believe if every ingredient was already chopped and measured, I could make those meals in 30 minutes the same way she does on TV. But I don’t have a prep person in my kitchen, and I only find myself frustrated watching these shows.

The thing is I am willing to invest time in a recipe. The advantage of cooking for one is not having some hungry person lingering in the kitchen waiting for you. But I don’t like having an expectation of how much time it is going to take and then realizing halfway through that it is much more time consuming than I planned for.

How do you judge how long a recipe will take?

(Note: I was searching for the recipe online but can’t find a link. If I do actually try it, I’ll post the recipe and give you my review.)


  1. First of all, a resident chef sounds like a great idea. Maybe we can go in together. :) Second, I can completely sympathize with the chopping angst. I started making butternut squash soup last night only to run out of time with only half of the squash cut up. Tonight, I suppose.

  2. Totally agree on the misrepresentation of "10 minute, 30 minute" meals. Great point Lizster.