commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
[personal profile] commodorified
Solicit or offer ideas, cheer each other on, ask for or offer data or resources, team up and do a group-authored post or a mini-carnival cluster of posts, find a beta, be a beta ...

I would like to say: I am not at all worried about avoiding duplication, and suggest that nobody else be either.

If eight people do posts on How To Cook Eggs, they will all be different, they will all be right and useful, and each of them will be somebody's absolute most useful and favourite post of the whole carnival.

Carry on!

Date: 2011-12-18 12:54 am (UTC)
0jack: Closeup of Boba Fett's helmet, angular orange stripe surrounding a narrow window on a greenish metallic field. (Default)
From: [personal profile] 0jack
This would be a great post, too. First and foremost, there's using things you can simply throw out after a single use. There may be some frowning on this practice, but if that's the barrier between you eating well and not, screw it. When my friends have babies or a sick child, I bring them disposable dishes along with other things to make life easier.

The slow cooker is a good solution for some of those problems (one pot meal, cleans out easily). Focusing on meals where you only have to prep one thing and the rest comes out of a package is always good. Parchment paper is a great supply that can be used to make convenient little packets for baking, then discarded. Tin foil can be used, then rinsed off and recycled.

If you have storage space and means, shops like M&M Meats are what most of my friends use, or the frozen foods section of a high-end grocery store, and some who are better off use a meal service. In all those cases, the food is in disposable containers and there is zero clean up beyond swishing the dishes through a soapy sink.

I will probably end up addressing some cook-ahead stuff in my post, which allows me to schedule most of the dirty work for a time I'm ready to put in the effort. Signing up for a community kitchen program—when you act as your own meal service and prep food in a large kitchen with several other people—works on the same principle: make the mess when you want to make it and not when you're tired.

Date: 2011-12-18 01:59 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] bemused_leftist
A soapy sink? What a concept! When wiping with a paper towel doesn't seem sufficient, I usually put a little water in the item and heat it to steaming in the microwave, bring it out for soaping, then the same again for rinsing, thinking how nice and sterilizing all this boiling water and steam is. Stovetop pots same procedure: if the vessel cooked on the hotplate, it heats its own wash water there too (and sometimes becomes the dishpan for forks and such).

But all this careful finicky fiddling takes time and brain power I don't always have, so I'd rather spend energy in advance, arranging to cook in disposables or at least with disposable liners.

Date: 2011-12-18 02:07 am (UTC)
0jack: Closeup of Boba Fett's helmet, angular orange stripe surrounding a narrow window on a greenish metallic field. (Default)
From: [personal profile] 0jack
That's a great idea. I use the microwave to deodorize plastic containers and disinfect dishcloths, I will try it for sticky glass pans, though. Heating pots and pans with water to clean them is my stand-by as well. Proteins are the dickens and if they got there by being hot, being hot will get them out. *g* Even with a sink, I usually use a bowl or pan instead—less water and it leaves the sink free.

Date: 2011-12-18 02:18 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] bemused_leftist
The slow cooker is a good solution for some of those problems (one pot meal, cleans out easily).

What is the advantage of a slow cooker over a microwave set on LOWEST or DEFROST? Giving the microwave timer another twist every once in a while is not a problem, and a slow cook recipe can rest in the microwave between times.

Date: 2011-12-18 02:38 am (UTC)
0jack: Closeup of Boba Fett's helmet, angular orange stripe surrounding a narrow window on a greenish metallic field. (Default)
From: [personal profile] 0jack
(a) I find that meats and beans cook far better in the slow cooker. Something about the way the microwave heats things up, maybe?
(b) I don't have to attend the slow cooker, I can leave it on all day and go out of the house, etc. I also use it overnight for cooked cereal or a hot meal to be packed for lunches.
(c) I don't have to stir or anything like that either. Also, it doesn't boil over, which is (for me) a hazard of cooking large liquid dishes in the microwave. I will note here that I have terrible attention issues sometimes and if I were using a microwave, I'd never finish cooking most stuff.
(d) The food stays at a steady temperature for many hours if I don't get to it, making it safer.
(e) I can cook a lot more in the slow cooker than I can fit in my microwave, which is a consideration when cooking for a number of people but not for one or maybe two.
(f) I don't know how the microwave would handle cooking something like a whole small chicken from the frozen state.

Downside, slow cooker is an expense not always proportionate to the use people get from it, even if it comes cheap. Though you can get a mini slow cooker, it still may be too big for what a single person needs, making it inefficient. Also, it is not going to be as fast as a microwave for cooking many things. It's another thing to store, which is a pain in the ass.

I consider it an extra for most kitchens but not for the way I cook personally these days—it interfaces with my use of the freezer and my "cook ahead" strategy for dealing with the ups and downs of my energy levels. Back in the basement days, I would have bought a deep electric skillet before a slow cooker. I had to live out of a hotel after I had my daughter and she was in the NICU and the electric skillet saved my sanity.

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