May 23, 2013

Another World

In a letter to the NY Times, Elizabeth Daniel asks how we can expect people to cook.

Try getting home at 6 or 7 with children weary from after school, starting your fresh-cooked dinner and supervising homework at the same time. By the way, when did you buy those veggies and that salmon?

I don’t have children and I don’t supervise homework. But still: I don’t see the problem.

I’ve got a 40-minute commute. That’s a nuisance, but it can’t be helped. On a typical day, I’ll knock off work around 7. I stop off at the grocery on the way home, and often I’ll grab a hunk of salmon and a lettuce or a handful of asparagus. That takes ten, fifteen minutes. So, I’m home sometime after eight. I can do something easy with the salmon in half an hour, including a fifteen minute marinade. Then grill it, or maybe coat it in thyme and sesame seeds and sear it, drizzle some balsamic on top. Hell, go wild and try a Hollandaise or a sauce Gribiche; it’ll take five minutes and if it doesn’t work the first time, you didn’t need it. Set the table, open a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, light a candle, you’re good to go.

OK: most nights I skip the candle.

But, seriously, what’s the big deal? Sure, some dishes take a lot of work, but plenty of them are fast and you don’t need to make coulibac for the kids. That’s why we sauté — to make things jump. (“Sauté” is French for “hop to it!”)