On the radio, they are talking about the myths of French cooking compared to the reality. In 2011, the average amount of time the French spend cooking every day is.... 38 minutes. When I was little, I'm sure that my grandmother spent at least 2-3 hours a day cooking, depending on the day of the week and whether she was heating some leftovers or not. Washing the dirt off vegetables, plucking and cleaning chickens, etc., was a very large part of the preparation time.
Back then, of course, everything had to be made from scratch. Not so these days.
Depends on the meal and the occasion. Yesterday, I steamed some fresh spinach, whipped up a simple tomato pasta sauce (from canned and bottled tomatoes), and boiled some frozen 4-Cheese Ravioli. Total time, mybe 40 minutes.
The big deal meal we have planned for three guests this Sunday (Bruschetta, Salad, Creamy Polenta with Mascarpone, Slowly Cooked Boneless Shortribs in Red Wine Sauce) will take hours of preparation and semi-attention. That's the exception, not the rule. One of the guests is making a sorbet for our dessert. I've already started to make the bread. I may be a day or two early.
Thinking about it I would say I spend about 2hrs a day preparing dinner. I like to drag it out by sitting at my kitchen table and peeling the vegetables, then marinading or spicing the meat so it has time to 'absorb', then starting the cooking part. I have a small TV in my kitchen so keep an eye on that and on the cooking. I like to have everything done when my husband arrives home from the hills. Breakfast is a 10min job and lunch most days is out at a cafe`. If I entertain it's a two day prep. and many long hours making something really nice!
I'd say I spend a minimum of an hour a day every day. I can't imagine taking less time unless it's heating up a bit of leftovers. Especially as I make the sandwich boxes for the kids in a morning, a snack when they come home from school and then a proper meal later after homework.
Oh,it certainly depends on the meal and the occassion as Don C. indicates. Also,a major factor here in NOLA,is the time of year...We do far far less actual cooking in the summertime than we do in the fall and wintertime for various reasons all having to do with the god awful heat and humidity,lack of a hearty appetite because of, and, eating heavy foods in the summer that take much more time to prepare than other foods we eat in cooler weather. Traditional foods,I never shortcut,dishes such as a gumbo.etouffe,cassoulet etc. all are cooked with time and precision in mind. As my husband spends time on the road,and, I often dine alone,I do not tend to cooking much for myself. My husband usually makes a dish on Sundays that we can both reheat during the week and have with a salad or side vegetable dish. Usually something like a roast of some kind of meat,a stew,gumbo etc. When I am having company,I go all out and spend a great deal of time,days ahead planning, prepping and such until the day of the meal when I try and get it all together. Also,growing many of the foods that I eat in salads and side dishes saves me a great deal of time trying to make a decision about what I'm going to prepare. If I'm flush with arugula,then,an arugula salad it is...and, add ingredients culled from the fridge and pantry. Neither my husband or I have ever really mastered how to properly freeze food so,that rarely,if ever, comes into play. Whenever we resolve to try,it always ends up as some kind of "freezer surprise",and ultimately goes wasted. Cool topic.
One of the problems of living alone is not being able to properly make a lot of the stews or long simmered dishes unless I make a large quantity. Therefore, whenever I have the pleasure of slow cooking a boeuf bourguignon, the stew part of couscous, tripe or whatever, it means that I have one long-cooked meal and then two or three defrosted meals out of the freezer, which really lack the charm of the first meal, even if they still taste great.
I must be strange. I cook for about one hour everyday, just for me. And I just love slow-cooked meals - I tend to fool myself that there will be enough for two meals.. .and then I just eat the lot. so have to start again for the next meal.
Dans les grandes choses, les hommes se montrent comme il leur convient de se montrer; dans les petites, ils se montrent comme ils sont.
Usually when I make a big, long-cooked dish it's because I'm craving it. Sometimes some of it gets into the freezer, but more often than not, I eat it all over a period of two or three days, sometimes having it more than once a day.
hm but if you say your grandma spent 2 to 3 hours a day cooking, I assume your grandpa wasn't cooking? so that already leads to an average of cooking per person of 1 to 1,5 hours... and then there might have been other family members not cooking either...
then again, maybe the 38 minutes for now already means per household?
I am very lazy when it comes to cooking. I don't enjoy it much, I always swear a lot, always make a mess, it just isn't my thing. So I tend to do things that are easy and go fast (though I avoid ready-made meals these days, when I first moved out from home that was what I usually had) - maybe 20 minutes or half an hour of preparation time...?
Mr. r. often invests much more time when he cooks, but then at other times he will just put a pizza in the oven, which again I don't do...
I would tend to agree that there is no reason to cook for the same length of time as the old days unless one wishes to totally deny that any progress has been made.
As I have not joined the Amish community, I am all in favor (assuming that one can afford the difference in price) of using frozen or pre-cleaned and pre-cut vegetables, industrial sauces and other shortcuts, etc. Often the praise of traditional ways is completely specious, because people only really praise the things that they don't mind doing, such as cleaning, chopping and cooking vegetables. I have rarely seen anybody say that it is compulsory to wring the neck and pluck all fowl that one consumes, to gut and scale fish or to slaughter and skin cattle.
People think that if they do the "fun" stuff they can brag about what authentic cooks they are when really they have not done much at all.
I'm not the worst cook of Indian dishes and with a dinner party I have been known to start at 8am in the morning and finish at 6pm in the evening by which tiome I'm totally sick of it and have no appetite whatsoever.
Sounds like me when I do a Vietnamese or Thai meal for a group. Most of the actual cooking for that goes very quickly, but the chopping, peeling, shelling and just the whole general organisation of 16 ingredients which must be added one after another turns my kitchen into a war zone.
We have a guest tonight and have decided to barbecue.....again! This time a simple salad will be presented. Back from the supermarket, I have already sliced & diced the red onion, two different colour bell peppers, tomato, and lastly I will chop the romaine lettuce before serving. Before I left to buy the ingredients at 12 noon, I microwaved the potatoes in their jackets. I have been able to scoop them out (as they were just warm upon my return) and mix together with chives and cheese before re-assembling. Will bake before serving.
It's nearly 2pm, the kitchen is clean, and I can do some of my favourite things, like be on Anyport
Mick - I know just what that feels like and puts me off any major entertaining. I bet you felt pretty pooped too Kerouac! On the odd occassion when I do a sit-down three/four course dinner, I have to start prepping one or two days before. I like my guests to be wowed so don't serve up anything mediocre - gluttons for punishment are we??
On average it's probably 1-2 hours a day that I spend on cooking. For me, it's a bit of a luxury right now as I'm not working and study by distance-learning. Cooking is something that I enjoy and I like thinking of new food combinations and trying new things. I've also become a bit more conscious about all the crap that is put into processed food and now that I have the time (and a fellow eater!) I started to do more things from scratch.
But for years I'd come back from work, starving, opening the fridge and it was just "Ready, Steady, Cook".
I am no cook. There is no hanging around the markets at 6am to get the freshest things with exotic and fashionable names.
I have a big freezer. When I do cook I store enough away in the freezer for the nights I don't feel like the mess and clean up.
No meal needs more than 7 ingredients, but it must be enough to overcome hunger. Thank heavens we have passed the era of a twist of lemon on a couple of centimetres of fish with some goo dribbled around the edge of the plate like a crazed kindergarten kid let loose with a squirter bottle.
If I had to place an order for my last meal it would be my daughter-in-law's Roast leg of lamb and veg...and I get the knuckle!
Travel! Set out and head for pastures new[br] Life tastes the richer when you’ve road worn feet.[br]Ibn Battuta[br]