Friday, January 28, 2011

One more thought on cooking, A.B.

I just remembered one other technique that has helped a lot in preparing meals with a baby around.  I call it The Cooking Show Technique, so named because the idea is that you first get all of your ingredients out, washed, chopped, and lined up on the counter.  (If you were actually on TV, you could even put them in matching little glass bowls...but I digress).  You only start cooking after everything is out and ready.

I used to be a big fan of cooking "in parallel," meaning an onion is softening in a pan while you chop the next ingredient to be added, rather than "in series," as I am advocating here.  The problem with cooking in parallel A.B. (after baby) is that you are likely to get a few things into the pan only to have baby demand your attention for 20 minutes or so, during which time the stuff in the pan becomes mush.  By separating prep work from cooking, you consolidate the actual cooking time so that you are less likely to get interrupted.

Also, and this is something we've been doing more often, one parent can do all the prep work (say, before the other parent gets home from work), then take care of the baby while the other parent does the actual cooking.

In the picture below, baby and I are taking a well-deserved break and gazing at the fire while dad is off-screen cooking two stirfries that we readied for him.


  1. I still try to cook "In parallel" because I always feel like I need to rush through it, mostly because I'm so slow. And I like to clean as I go. BUT I think your idea is the bestest. I do that on occasion and feel a lot less stressed for sure!

  2. Yup, I still cook in parallel sometimes too...but more often than not, I end up regretting it (ie overcooking things, ending up with sauce boiling over everywhere, or one dish done while the sides haven't been started...).