I was making a meatloaf Sunday night, mostly because Savenor’s had some very nice ground meat. I like meatloaf. I figured I’d make the pate en terrine from Ruhlman’s Twenty and get on with work while it cooked.

Then Linda delivered the bad news: we were out of ketchup. Was I planning to make the ketchup from Ruhlman’s book, too?

No, I was not planning on that — not least because the recipe calls for three hours of simmering and it was already past seven. But now I wanted ketchup for the meatloaf! So I made Ruhlman’s chipotle ketchup and just simmered it for whatever time I had — maybe 45 minutes. And it was great.

This is a good general lesson about cooking. Lots of things are better if you do them right, but they can turn out pretty well even if you have to cut corners.