Today, people want recipes that help them cook fast and get it out of the way. Editors are looking for cookbooks that make the consumer’s cooking life easier. Go to a book store and look at the titles of some of the cookbooks, “fast,” “easy,” “simple,” are words that are in the title. Gone is the art of the long, slow cooking process, learning how to do it right. People just don’t have the time.
I contend that we do. The explosion of cooking classes and Private Chef instruction is proof. Cooking classes abound, and even the new grocery store up the street built a Cooking and Demonstration Kitchen into their store.
Let me introduce you to my process. When I cook at home, I use the Batch Cooking Method. I’ll make soup or chili, several types of tofu items, fava beans, and several of our favorite Indian dishes. I like to make hummus, falafels, and pakoras periodically. I cook rice twice a week to serve with these dishes.
Organization is imperative when faced with four or five recipes at once. First I make a menu, nothing fancy, just a list of dishes I plan to cook. Next I break the Menu down into a list of ingredients that I need to buy. And I make a separate to-do list for when I get home from shopping (in professional kitchens we call this a prep list).
When I get home from shopping, I usually start out by processing the proteins. I’ll start cooking the beans that have been soaked in the fridge overnight. I’ll press the tofu if any recipes call for it. And then start chopping up vegetables that are needed for the different dishes. Since some of my soups and beans have the same base, I’ll prepare this food at the same time.
Once the prep work is done, I cook my way through the four or five dishes that I’m making for the week. That’s the basic process and it works because I organize the recipes , the ingredients, and the prep list at the start.
I realize that most people don’t have this level of organizational skill when it comes to cooking. They look at a stack of ingredients and wonder “WTF”. But with a little practice and guidance, this skill can be gained.
The process described above may seem overwhelming, but read through it again. Organize. Start with two dishes or maybe three, and get used to the process. Read cookbooks for recipe ideas. Look on-line for meal-planners and shopping lists that can help. Once you get the knack, Batch cooking Day can become as easy as going out to the fast food joint.
If you are still confused at how this works, please ask questions in the comment section. I’ll answer them to the best of my ability. And I encourage any success stories as well.