Beware of the Dreaded Meanwhile
This cooking cartoon idea came to me years ago when I was preparing a recipe and halfway through it said,
Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente in a pot of boiling water.
Wait a minute, couldn't you have told me to bring a pot of water to boil to cook the pasta at the beginning of the recipe. Now I have to take the time to bring the water to a boil even though I'm halfway through preparing the rest of the recipe.
The lesson I learned from this and many other "Meanwhile" experiences is to read through the entire recipe before starting. If you don't, you just may finding yourself as I have finding out I was suppose to "roast a chicken the day before" in order to make this dish.
I'm sure you've had this experience once or twice in your lifetime.
- Meanwhile, soak the beans overnight
- Meanwhile, marinate the meat for 3 hours
- Meanwhile, let the dough rise
- Meanwhile, refrigerate for 30 minutes
- Meanwhile, bring the butter to room temperature
- Meanwhile steam the vegetables
- Meanwhile, de-vein the shrimp
- Meanwhile, I think you get the idea
I have a post(s) called How NOT to Start a Recipe that talks about this issue plus many more common mistakes people make before starting a recipe and ways to avoid them.
What Are Your Meanwhile Moments?
If you have experienced a "meanwhile" moment in your cooking, I would love to hear about it. Please let me know in the comments section below.
I love your site, and your story, and it's the first time I've seen the "Meanwhile" addressed. Whenever I see a "meanwhile", I read the rest of the recipe with my librarian-eyes for mistakes, because this person is usually cutting corners to make the recipe sound easier, and they leave other things out. For me, the "meanwhile" is almost always something that I've never done before, and does NOT take 5 minutes! Plus, I then burn the onions during the meanwhile, or turn the broccoli into mush, and that adds time for me to start over with that. God help them if I have to go to the store for more broccoli.
Thank You for addressing this topic - I thought it was just me! ...and I did learn the hard way to read the recipe carefully before starting, and to prep everything into bowls, so I can dump it in at the right time.