Timed Perfectly

A marathon weekend spent watching America’s Test Kitchen, The Food Network, and similar cooking shows inspired me to attempt an untested recipe. Like any good man getting ready to tackle a job, I knew I needed tools.

First step: Shop for a new pan. Not just any old pan would do. It had to be the exact one used on the show. One capable of going from the stove top to the oven. With a matching lid. Online shopping to do. Oh, while I’m there I think I’ll purchase the exact chef’s knife they used in the show also.

Next step: Wait two days for the pan and knife to arrive. While waiting, go shopping for the ingredients. Splurge on the best meat, spices, and other ingredients. Decide upon appropriate side dishes and purchase everything fresh.

Finally, set aside a four hour time slot to prepare, marinate, cook the main dish and several sides. Invite people for the meal thereby raising the stakes and pressure to succeed on this first time.

Cook. Cook. Cook. Refer to the printed recipes and online videos for refresher notes frequently during the process. Carefully coordinate the boiling, baking, simmering, and stir frying to present all elements at the table piping hot and at their peak aromas.


Big success. Friends praise the food. Praise the presentation. Express joy at being invited to participate in the inaugural meal. Inquire about plans for new recipes.

Realize I can’t afford to keep doing this. I need more frugal recipes.

What’s the most elaborate, complicated meal you’ve ever cooked? Was it a triumph for the ages, or a colossal fiasco? Give us the behind-the-scenes story.

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