My wife posed a question to me recently. I will attempt to paraphrase.
“Why is it”, she asked, “that when men cook in the kitchen, they always wind up emptying the cabinet of every single pot, pan and plastic container?”
It does open the door to those marathon dish washing sessions. Your dinner guest might end up putting out a hashtag on Twitter:
Important rule: the dish washing should NEVER take longer than the meal itself.
As for my wife’s question, I have a theory.
Problem 1: We, as men, are not very good at judging proportion when it comes to cooking. If you’re preparing soup for two…you DO NOT need a stock pot. If you’re cooking French toast for one…don’t reach for the jumbo-neighborhood fish fry-size cast iron pan (even if it is the first vessel you lay eyes on that will do the job).
Problem 2: Once we realize that the pot/pan we’ve chosen is not right for the dish we’re making, we immediately go hunting for a smaller-sized container. In some cases, we misjudge on the small side too. There’s nothing like cooking rice or grits and not taking into consideration how much it will multiply in volume once it absorbs the liquid. This search for the right pot happens several times — hence the great pot pile-up.
Been there. Done it.
This is why — I believe — men are so fond of grilling. (Yes..I said GRILLING. Remember…barbecue is something you EAT, not something you DO)
It’s one LARGE, FLAT surface over heat. And, if you’ve set it up correctly, there are zones on the grill surface that regulate the intensity of the cooking (direct vs. indirect heat). So if you’re cooking ribs, steak or burgers on the center of the grate, the vegetables or seafood can cook slowly or stay warm in one corner (or a raised basket) off the heat. You can brown buns or Texas Toast in another corner.
Thanks Bobby Flay and Food Network for that knowledge.
Guys…I’ve found my way to avoid the kitchen mess. I confine my cooking to the Crock Pot. One pot..dump everything in..and wait five hours (or more). Perfect for setting up and turning on before you go to work, and enjoying when you get home. And when you tell your dinner guest that the meal has been cooking for hours, it’s not a lie.
And then..there the minimal mess afterward.