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No glove boning for me.
June 10, 2008 5:30 AM   Subscribe

NYT asks: What's your recipe deal breaker? Deep frying? Requiring a helper? Standing overnight? Lifehacker readers chime in with the recipes that stop them cold.
posted by divabat (139 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
- anything requiring more than one ingredient I don't normally buy
- anything with even one "stupid" ingredient (sea salt requirement, for instance)
- anything cooked in more than two separate steps
- anything that takes longer than 20 minutes (once the entire procedure is memorized and optimized)
- anything that takes longer to clean up after than to eat

Growing up, my mom made a "Wacky Cake" for birthdays. It's "wacky" because it's a chocolate cake with white frosting. GEDDIT?!? Anyway, I love the cake, natch, and my wife hates making it. The recipe has multiple stupid, overly fussy steps, any one of which would normally be a dealbreaker for her. But she still does it every year. *heart*
posted by DU at 5:42 AM on June 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


I skip "cut off and discard" recipes that ask me to waste food.
posted by gum at 5:43 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Usually, I will try a recipe and determine if it is worth the hassle. Some of the things that I really like to make (and eat) can be a pain.

I find that the more "touches" that a recipe requires in light of where the dish places in my meal (is it an entree or a side) determines if I can/will use it again. It is difficult enough to time dishes to hit the table at the same time let alone trying to time recipes that have multiple steps of differing lengths to be ready at the same time.

Fun post!
posted by zerobyproxy at 5:52 AM on June 10, 2008


These days, I'd say pretty much anything I "cooked" before I turned 25.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:55 AM on June 10, 2008


Anything that asks for a jar of salsa (not fresh), or canned veggies. I will use canned beans though.

Practically though, most complex recipes are a show stopper for me, because my wife will roll her eyes, shove me out of the kitchen, and cook something just as nice but much simpler from a Bittman cookbook.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:00 AM on June 10, 2008


"Add meat". Fortunately there are plenty of ways to get around that one. Other than that, I'm game for anything.
posted by baphomet at 6:01 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Scandinavian gravlox.
posted by The Straightener at 6:01 AM on June 10, 2008


I skip "cut off and discard" recipes that ask me to waste food.

You gonna eat that fat Spaulding?
posted by three blind mice at 6:01 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


recipes i like: any in which scaling for multiple people = the same thing, only with greater quantities (eg curries, soups, stews, salads, pasta etc). These also usually allow for overdoing the quantities to end up with freezable leftovers for another day.

recipes that suck: anything involving separate preparation of each individual item (anything stuffed, wrapped in pastry etc). For small quantities, it's just too much overhead; for large quantities it's boring & repetitive.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:02 AM on June 10, 2008


I can't do deep frying. It's a hassle and I never have the optimal equipment. My roommate had a fry part once, and we were wiping grease off every surface of the kitchen for at least a week.

Other than that, I don't eat meat, but I'd probably be very very lazy when it comes to deboning, butchering, and such.
posted by piratebowling at 6:03 AM on June 10, 2008


What if you only use recipes as a "suggestion" anyway?
posted by Pollomacho at 6:03 AM on June 10, 2008 [10 favorites]


I think the only real dealbreaker for me would be a recipe that required expensive equipment I don't have and couldn't really see myself using again, or an ingredient that is only sold in large and expensive quantities that I'll use a tiny amount of for that recipe and never use again.

Time is an issue, but only to a minor extent and I can't see it being a dealbreaker. Good food is, basically, crystallized and solidified time. Leaving stuff sitting overnight, making several discrete sub-dishes and combining them, long minimally supervised cooking times, that's just part of making really good food.

And some recipes do make a bigger deal about stupid stuff than they should. Sea salt, as in DU's example, might be called for, and the recipe may claim its essential, but I'll give you any odds you want that kosher salt can be substituted with no problems at all. So sometimes its a matter of being able to figure out what seeming dealbreakers in a recipe are, essentially, just fluff.
posted by sotonohito at 6:04 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


...just as nice but much simpler from a Bittman cookbook.

I've been hearing how simple and awesome Bittman is, so I got one of his books at the library. Maybe this was a pre-simple era book or maybe I've just never really seen a complicated, fussy recipe. Whatever, I scanned a few pages and then just put it back. I didn't have a single ingredient and lacked much of the equipment.
posted by DU at 6:05 AM on June 10, 2008


Also, who disposes of the deep frying oil afterwards? Some things get better with age, like a fine wine. How else are you supposed to get that teensy oniony edge to your hushpuppies without reusing the oil that you made onion rings in last week when they had those apple sweet Vidalias at the farmers market?
posted by Pollomacho at 6:07 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought I would be unusual on this, but yeah, I stop reading the recipe when I come across some weird ingredient, particularly an herb or spice, that I know I'll buy and use once and end up throwing the rest away (I refuse to pre-plan waste). Like: 1 cup buttermilk. You can't buy one cup of buttermilk, and what the hell else am I going to do with buttermilk? Or: 1 tsp of fresh thyme. Can I buy 1 tsp? If I don't want to waste thyme, do I have to have like a thyme-themed food week if I want to use it up?
posted by troybob at 6:08 AM on June 10, 2008


Okay... somebody point me to a link that explains how glove boning is done, ironically I feel inspired to cook this weekend.
posted by destrius at 6:09 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


troybob: buttermilk is delicious when subbed into many recipies for plain milk. gives a nice tang (you may have to fiddle slightly).

As for herbs.. a window planter (on my agenda for this summer) is the key. Just snip off what you need and leave the rest growing.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:10 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I won't deep fry -- it makes a mess and I'm constantly terrified that the whole apparatus will tip and a wave of hot oil will engulf everything in the vicinity.

This winter I had to finally admit that I won't cook with a whole chicken. Yeah, yeah, I know, roast it and I'll have dinner for half the week on leftovers. We always end up wasting so much of it that I just switched back to chicken breast.

Other than that, I'm pretty game. If I'm in the right mood, a fiddly recipe with dozens of steps is perfect. I am such a picky-ass eater that I'll substitute most anything that looks suspicious. The worst that can happen is that something tastes weird, and if it's too strange I can get Chinese takeout in twenty minutes.
posted by sugarfish at 6:11 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


How else are you supposed to get that teensy oniony edge to your hushpuppies without reusing the oil that you made onion rings in last week when they had those apple sweet Vidalias at the farmers market?

Use the oil in the tractor between fry-ups. And don't replace the filter too often.
posted by three blind mice at 6:15 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


who disposes of the deep frying oil afterwards?

My roommate had a deep fryer in an apartment we shared a few years back. When he changed the oil in his car, we also changed the oil in the deep fryer. It was all in 2-liter soda bottles sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting to be recycled, and completely indistinguishable. Use it til it goes rancid, I say.

In any case, very few things will actually spoil a recipe for me, although I agree with UbuRoivas: many individual preparations are a pain in the ass. Once or twice a year I'll make pretzels or bagels or something, but that's about the limit of my patience for such things.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:15 AM on June 10, 2008


This winter I had to finally admit that I won't cook with a whole chicken. Yeah, yeah, I know, roast it and I'll have dinner for half the week on leftovers. We always end up wasting so much of it that I just switched back to chicken breast.

Ohhh yeah, forgot about this. Whole chicken is another thing I just don't have the patience for. Even when it's good--which it certainly can be--it's not good enough to make up for the hassle and mess.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:17 AM on June 10, 2008


I'll eat or make damn near anything, but any recipe will get tossed out which lists in the ingredients liver, gizzards, or organs. Let's save that stuff for the rendering plants or for economic collapses.
posted by crapmatic at 6:19 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


When it calls for me to prepare something, then let it sit somewhere for hours beforehand. Let's see, I want to eat at 7pm, so let me start cooking now, at 1pm, only that's when most people are at work.

Okay... somebody point me to a link that explains how glove boning is done, ironically I feel inspired to cook this weekend.

Whatever is being concocted, I don't think want it.
posted by cashman at 6:21 AM on June 10, 2008


After I got a bread machine, I gave up on traditional breadmaking due to the time suck involved. (At about the same time, the quality of bread available in regular stores started to improve as well.)

I tend to avoid recipes that call for pre-made, packaged, branded products as one of the ingredients (jello, for example, or cream-of-mushroom soup).

I'm willing to put more time and effort into making something from scratch if the result is a classic item not available otherwise (a souffle, for example) or if it seems like there's an interesting learning experience (I've made my own puff pastry a couple of times).

For some things, bread being one, pasta being another, yeah, I can make 'em, but the cost/benefit ratio in making them traditionally from scratch just isn't there.

Sadly, I have to restrict the number of items per year that I make that call for large amounts of unhealthy fats. (Or, I make them to take to events, and destroy other people's cholesterol numbers...)
posted by gimonca at 6:22 AM on June 10, 2008


(Surely I am not the only person who read "No glove boning for me" and figured that this was about condomless sex?)

I refuse to make recipes that involve sub-recipes, especially if there are multiple sub-recipes. I'm willing to make the shepherds pie, but not if it means first making a complicated garlic butter, and then making a special version of a stock, and then something else. I've seen a few recipes that were really silly in this regard, with the sub-recipes being extraordinarily elaborate and time-consuming.

Sometimes you can just look at the recipe and see which of those to ignore (or to substitute something normal from the fridge), but sometimes they are written in a way to make reengineering the recipe really hard.

And I usually won't make a recipe that involves particularly expensive ingredients that I am unlikely to use again in the future. My real interest is in food that I can make again and again, improving it each time, and making it more and more "mine." To me, that precludes budget-breaking ingredients, or things that have only a single use.

But then I'm in no way a "foodie" -- I just like eating tasty food that doesn't consume my whole day to cook.
posted by Forktine at 6:23 AM on June 10, 2008


I skip recipes that require a food processor. I don't have one, and I don't want one.
posted by donajo at 6:24 AM on June 10, 2008


Sushi. I don’t trust myself, or the local Whole Foods, to find fresh enough fish and to handle it properly. Strangely enough, I don’t seem to have a problem eating prepared sushi from the local Quick-e-Mart.

Other than that, I’m up for pretty much anything.
posted by bondcliff at 6:26 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I need just a little bit of a spice or herb, I get some at the bulk food store. I don't buy full jars or tins or bags of dried herbs or spices, unless I use it all the time. And if I'm going to need, say, buttermilk, I'll get the smallest container I have and/or plan on recipies to use it all up.

I'm not a fan of recipies that require equipment I don't have. Even if I could afford it, I don't have space for every little gadget. I like multi-taskers, and I want to use the equipment I have. And while I'm okay with trying new, and even weird, ingredients, I'm not fond of recipies that are entirely built around a new food item I'm not sure I'm going to like, or where the ingredient is really expensive.

Also seconding gum regarding recipies where you have to discard a lot of food. Unless I can hold on to whatever's discarded for another recipe soon (i.e. egg yolks).
posted by sandraregina at 6:27 AM on June 10, 2008


Sadly I don't have a lot of dealbreakers. That means I spend more time cooking than I should.

The article was good for recommendations on cookbooks NOT to read.

The "couscousière" got me though--how is that different than just throwing it in a steamer? Though for that matter, steaming something used to be a dealbreaker. I just didn't know how to steam things.

Also: making your own fleur de sel from buckets of seawater. How precious.
posted by artifarce at 6:29 AM on June 10, 2008


"'Add meat'... Other than that, I'm game for anything."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Erm...

You mean you didn't do that on purpose?
posted by Mike D at 6:31 AM on June 10, 2008


Re: buttermilk. Maybe this makes it less tasty, but I have always used (because my mother used) buttermilk powder. Any thoughts on this?
posted by artifarce at 6:32 AM on June 10, 2008


Well, cooking's my hobby and so it's been a long time since I've skipped a recipe because of the recipe itself (as opposed to "nah, that's not what I wanna do atm" type of skipping), but my personal dealbreakers include:

- specialised equipement (havn't got a microwave nor the need for a stovetop smoker to make your own smoked salmon? Thx but I've got a good supplier)
- anything made with fake food (cool whip, jello, self-rising flour, Uncle Bens..)
- way too exotic cuisine for my nearest farmer's market. ("shuck the fresh abalonee with a special knife...)

BUT if I could find some instructions for glove boning I would definately try it. :)
posted by ruelle at 6:33 AM on June 10, 2008


Ohhh yeah, forgot about this. Whole chicken is another thing I just don't have the patience for. Even when it's good--which it certainly can be--it's not good enough to make up for the hassle and mess.

I totally understand not making a whole chicken because of concerns about wastage -- even if there are two people in the household, you have to be careful to not have a lot of wastage.

But hassle and mess? I think we are following very different recipes -- I just remove the giblets, rinse the chicken (probably not necessary but it makes me happy), put a little butter under the breast skin (a totally optional step), plonk it in a pan, put some root vegies around it, roast, and serve. It takes less time to get ready than the oven takes to get hot. Cleaning the pan can be a hassle, but on the other hand it is a one-dish meal -- no other pans to clean at all.

And you can avoid the wastage and save about two minutes of prep time by buying chicken parts rather than a whole chicken -- toss in pan with the root vegies, sprinkle some salt on top, and roast. I use chicken and potatoes as one of my "I am way too tired and cranky to cook" dinners -- it is easier and less work than boiling pasta with canned sauce (though it does take a little longer), and produces a really solid and flavorful meal with minimal fuss and cleanup.

That said, there are many, many chicken recipes I won't go near, because they have too many steps and weird ingredients I don't own and I just don't care that much -- chicken is basically chicken, whether or not you do some 25-step marinade/searing/whatever process first.
posted by Forktine at 6:34 AM on June 10, 2008


I refuse to make recipes that involve sub-recipes, especially if there are multiple sub-recipes. I'm willing to make the shepherds pie, but not if it means first making a complicated garlic butter, and then making a special version of a stock, and then something else.

Ahh.. see that's your mistake.

1) Garlic butter is easy. Make a big lump, freeze it, chop off hunks as necessary.
2) Sub-recipes.. for something like shepherds pie, for example, the sub-recipe is mashed potatoes. Which you conveniently have left over from dinner two nights ago, because you made too much on purpose.
3) Stock.. you don't make stock for one recipe. Either buy it (buyer beware), or again--make a batch, freeze, use as necessary.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:36 AM on June 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


Surely I am not the only person who read "No glove boning for me" and figured that this was about condomless sex?

I read it as an aversion against being fisted.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:42 AM on June 10, 2008


But hassle and mess? I think we are following very different recipes -- I just remove the giblets, rinse the chicken (probably not necessary but it makes me happy), put a little butter under the breast skin (a totally optional step), plonk it in a pan, put some root vegies around it, roast, and serve.

It's funny, because I cook a lot, and I often cook a lot of reasonably-messy or involved things. But this--though I know it's simple--is messy and troublesome to me. Now that you've pointed it out, I can't explain why. But so it is. Maybe I just don't like roasted chicken.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:42 AM on June 10, 2008


For me it's that completely abominable unit, the cup. Nothing else is as guaranteed to obliterate my desire to try new recipes that I find on the Internet. And what's worse, there are metric, imperial, and Japanese cups to contend with. What's a poor european to do?

If a recipe needs a table of densities to work out the quantities then sorry, I'm out.

Or I could just order a cup from somewhere, I suppose.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:44 AM on June 10, 2008


I skip all those recipes off allrecipes, etc., that want me to use '1 can cream of xx soup' as the base flavour/sauce. Seriously? I'm looking for a recipe - I am trying to make real food.
posted by jacalata at 6:46 AM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Anything that requires more than one pan, pot, or dish.

Yes, I am a single guy.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:51 AM on June 10, 2008


Anything that makes me cook by weight, rather than volume or piece-count.
posted by aramaic at 6:51 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


1) Garlic butter is easy. Make a big lump, freeze it, chop off hunks as necessary.
2) Sub-recipes.. for something like shepherds pie, for example, the sub-recipe is mashed potatoes. Which you conveniently have left over from dinner two nights ago, because you made too much on purpose.
3) Stock.. you don't make stock for one recipe. Either buy it (buyer beware), or again--make a batch, freeze, use as necessary.


(The shepherds pie is a totally fictitious example, by the way -- I make it routinely, but I also make a very simple version that has no complications, and do exactly what you mention with the extra potatoes, etc.)

And your examples of garlic butter and stock are really good examples of what I mean. I am happy to do those things, and freeze them, for stuff I will use all the time, like stock. But a complicated sub-recipe for something I will only use once? That's where I draw the line -- it's just more work than it takes for a single dinner; it only makes sense for something you can spread out over a lot of dinners (like your hunk of garlic butter).
posted by Forktine at 6:53 AM on June 10, 2008


1. Live monkey brains.
2. Sumac. (I could get some, but I can never remember in between the times when I need it.)
3. Balut.

But beyond that, part of the skill of being a decent cook is being able to look at a recipe and optimize it to your own tastes, equipment, and available ingredients.
posted by bokeh at 6:55 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or: 1 tsp of fresh thyme. Can I buy 1 tsp? If I don't want to waste thyme, do I have to have like a thyme-themed food week if I want to use it up?

Very punny.

(I laughed, anyway)
posted by Afroblanco at 7:01 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I will substitute almost anything for almost anything else, since the time I was making various kinds of Japanese food and didn't have an Asian grocery nearby; I subbed beer for the sake and mirin, and it came out fine. If a recipe has two herbs and three spices, I might use one herb and one spice - or I might substitute whatever spices I have in the cupboard.

Ingredients are not a problem; time and equipment are, particularly since I'm moving often enough that I don't want to acquire much equipment. I would love to have an immersion blender, or a regular blender, but I don't, so lots of soups and purees are out of reach.
posted by Jeanne at 7:03 AM on June 10, 2008


re: buttermilk -- you guys do know that you can just substitute with regular milk mixed with a bit of lemon juice, right?

artifarce, re: coucousiere -- it is basically a steamer,but one with a finer mesh at the bottom, to prevent the couscous grains from falling through into the broth below. Also, it's built similar to a double boiler in that the couscous rests in an upper compartment that can be easily attached from the water/broth compartment below, to allow for stirring and fluffing.

If anything, traditional couscous defines my dealbreaker as it doesn't necessarily require specialized equipment to be done properly, but the equipment is essential to doing it well, and the recipe requires several tedious stages for completion. You could use a substitute of a steamer insert with cheesecloth, but the multiple cycles of team / fluff / steam / fluff /steam gets rather tedious after a while. I'm glad to have done it once to develop my understanding of the dish, but I'm perfectly happy to never have to make it again.
posted by bl1nk at 7:04 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


bokeh -- few folks in the Philippines actually 'make' balut. We usually just buy it off the street vendors trawling the bars nearby. It's like the Tamale Lady who wanders the Mission bars in San Francisco ... but creepier.

But, to bring a carton home and boil it up yourself? That's about the simplest recipe one can find. If you can boil water, you can make balut.
posted by bl1nk at 7:07 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Re: leftover buttermilk: pancakes!

Also, I can't imagine anything easier and less fussy than roasting a chicken... maybe I'm doing it wrong?

The only things that really irritates me in a recipe are editing errors, such as when an ingredient appears in the list, but then is never mentioned in the instructions.
posted by trip and a half at 7:11 AM on June 10, 2008


Deep frying: gross.
Shellfish: I'll probably poison myself.
Fresh artichokes: baffling.
Anise: nasty.
Multiple days of preparation: seriously?
Fancy pan/apparatus requirement: lame.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 7:11 AM on June 10, 2008


The recipes from Cook's Illustrated are often very complex and finicky, but they work every time. The best part is that they explain what effect each step has on the final product and what their tests show will happen if you don't, so you can decide for yourself which parts you might leave out or what shortcuts you can take.

But really, a recipe is a good place to start. The fun comes in altering and substituting and making things up.
posted by echo target at 7:33 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The word "meanwhile".
posted by The Bellman at 7:34 AM on June 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'll try anything once. If it looks good, I'll try it. That said, I have to cater to another eater in my family, and there are food allergies and aversions I have to cope with. No mushrooms. No lemon. No olives. No anchovies. I miss the mushrooms, and I've learned I can add some lemon or lemon zest, but the olives and the anchovies are a definite no-go.

Buttermilk is great for marinating chicken for frying, especially if you add a sliced onion or two. (There's a particular recipe I've been tinkering with a lot lately, and it makes the best fried chicken I've ever made. I have a post about it on my blog.) It's also good for dressing a salad, or making biscuits.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:40 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


re: buttermilk -- you guys do know that you can just substitute with regular milk mixed with a bit of lemon juice, right?

Dude, Yahoo answers link? Seriously?

The lemon juice thing will get you by in a pinch, but real buttermilk is pretty fantastic. I know, I know, it's no longer a byproduct of butter making, but some sort of controlled enzyme dealio, but it makes fantastic cakes and ice cream. The buttermilk powder is probably your best bet though if you don't want to buy a whole quart though.
posted by electroboy at 7:41 AM on June 10, 2008


There aren't too many things that will scare me away from a recipe. I love experimenting with pretty much anything in the kitchen.

The only things I can think of:

sushi (raw fish is one of the most disgusting things I can imagine swallowing.)

saffron (I paid $18 for an ounce of the stuff, and the best thing about it is it's color. Why bother?)
posted by TrinaSelwyn at 7:41 AM on June 10, 2008


MetaFilter: I don't want to waste thyme.
posted by Mister_A at 7:42 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I avoid anything that requires a flame or heat source, requires boiling water, requires pots and pans, requires refrigeration beforehand, requires store-bought items, requires more than five minutes of preparation, requires any amount of concentration whatsoever, requires access to a stove, oven or blender, requires electricity or natural gas, requires a knife or fork (a spoon I can do, although it's a bit of a hassle), requires any peeling, slicing, dicing or washing. Needless to say, I eat out a lot.
posted by ornate insect at 7:44 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


• Anything requiring more than two cooking vessels (pots, pans, skillets, etc)
• "Let sit overnight"
• "6 hours before serving"
• Any recipe calling for a small amount of an odd, yet key, ingredient that only comes in large quantities.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:48 AM on June 10, 2008


I refuse to make recipes that involve sub-recipes, especially if there are multiple sub-recipes.

I'm with you on that one. I've seen cookbooks that require you to buy into their system to make anything at all. Like you're expected to spend a few hours every weekend cooking up the basics for the week, so then the recipes each night are easier. But I only cook one or two days a week, usually for one, so that's just not going to happen. Weekends aren't for cooking, they're for eating out.
posted by smackfu at 7:48 AM on June 10, 2008


bea arthur: a cup is a quarter of a liter. I know it's weird to measure all things by volume, but that's the way Americans do it. It's needlessly difficult, takes longer to learn how to do well than just weighing things, and is prone to errors if you switch any ingredients. But on the other hand, you eventually learn that you can't treat cooking as a science experiment, and directions are just guidelines.

Anyway. 1 cup == 0.25 liters. 0.23 really, but a cup is so vague in the first place that a quarter liter will get you there.

--

As for "wastage" in roast chicken, I am floored by that notion. How do you manage to waste anything from a roast chicken? It's usually good for five or six meals all by itself. First meal is the freshly roasted chicken. Second and third meals are the leftover chicken you didn't eat the first night. Fourth meal is when you take the carcass and boil it for stock -- save the boiled-off chicken meat and serve with some of the fresh stock and rice. The chicken itself is sort of dry by this time, but it's still food and the soup is great. Fifth meal is whatever else you make with the stock.

If only I had something that could crush chicken bones, I'd use those in my compost. The boiled-dry bones are all that gets wasted from a roast chicken in our house.
posted by rusty at 7:57 AM on June 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


I cook when I'm hungry. Which means any dish that will take longer than I'm willing to wait to eat is automatically discarded. So pretty much anything that takes more than 30 minutes is right out.
posted by Justinian at 7:59 AM on June 10, 2008


I decline to cook recipes where you have to put something aside for a while and then come back to it and finish cooking. Like chill x for two hours or put x in warm place for a hour and a half. F that.
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:01 AM on June 10, 2008


the littlest brussels sprout: Find some big fat artichokes with tightly clustered leaves in the store. Slice off the tough end of the stem. Snip off the pokey ends of the leaves (leave the leaves in place though). Steam for oh like 20-30 minutes or whatever. Melt some butter. When leaves will pull off the artichokes easily, stop steaming them. Pull the leaves off, dip the wide end in butter, scrape the whitish stuff and butter off with your teeth. When you get to the middle, cut out the hairy stuff out and eat the rest with copious butter.

Mmmm. Artichokes. Out here in the NE we only get decent ones once a year. In CA or probably anywhere in quick shipping range of there you should be having them all the time. They are so good.
posted by rusty at 8:03 AM on June 10, 2008


Or: 1 tsp of fresh thyme. Can I buy 1 tsp? If I don't want to waste thyme, do I have to have like a thyme-themed food week if I want to use it up?

Well. You could store your thyme in a bottle.

*rimshot*

There is not too much that will scare me away from a recipe, but I tend to steer away from any confections. They tend to be too accurate, whereas I am more of a visual measurer. And weighing ingredients.. Not a big fan of that either.
posted by Jonsnews at 8:03 AM on June 10, 2008


Single Guy cooking rule #1:
If I have to spend more time preparing it than I do eating it, it's out.
posted by boymilo at 8:04 AM on June 10, 2008


Unfortunately, I like chillis and curries and spicy stuff but my children are complete whusses (although one shows promise) so I have to avoid most of the recipes that I see in the food magazine that I buy religiously every month. Also, I can never have a deep fryer in my house or else I would become very, very large very quickly so all deep-fried stuff is out also.

I don't like chickpeas or, well, most legumes really so anything involving hummus or lentils or nasty, pasty bean things are out too.

I like friendly, western sushi rolls made with canned tuna and cooked chicken and stuff, but yeah, sushimi, tartare and other raw food variations won't be happening in my kitchen either (I sometimes eat a speck of raw mince just cos but I couldn't tuck into a whole plate of it).

Anything involving offal is off the menu also, although my mum used to cook brains and I have a vague memory of liking it, and as I love the marrow from lamb chops it's not inconceivable that I would find it edible, but I can't imagine ever cooking it myself.
posted by h00py at 8:05 AM on June 10, 2008


You could store your thyme in a bottle.

I keep mine in a thyme cube.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:09 AM on June 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Recipes where I can't find a decent substitute for an unavailable or really hard to find (here in Italy) ingredient get chucked. Luckily few and far between: I make some bitchin' bastardized Tex-Mex enchiladas with Gouda & scamorza instead of cheddar. When I actually found a source for sour cream around the corner from my flat, it was like the angels began singing Hosannas from on high. Might haven just been my neighbor the Pope, though.

Like jacalata "can of Cream of Foo Soup" has me sticking the recipe in the when I have time to make Cream of Foo soup from scratch pile.

It always cracks me up to see these "quick, no fuss" recipes calling for a can Cream of Foo; it's not so quick & no fuss when cans of Cream of Foo soup are non existent & you have to make your own. (damn sight tastier though, when I finally do get around to making the Cream of Foo)
posted by romakimmy at 8:10 AM on June 10, 2008


I take a pragmatic approach (though deep-frying is almost entirely reserved for special occasions). I won't write off a recipe because it calls for cream of mushroom soup...that's part of the freakin' American comfort-food-lexicon (though yes, the soups can be made easily and with no MSG). On the other hand, I favor Alton Brown heavily and find Sandra Lee mostly revolting, and I love complicated recipes if I have the time for them, and I find that the foods I enjoy most seem to involve multiple steps along the way (see: Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican). It is irritating to have to buy things you may not use entirely in the recipe, but that simply presents you with a new challenge: find a way to use up that buttermilk or knob of ginger that doesn't involve buying something else you'll have to use up, or give it to your neighbor.

Today I'm going to make some kick-ass shredded beef. I laboriously made a big pot of green chile stew involving a ton of seemingly-contrived steps (my first attempt won a cook-off at work against several impressed Mexican ladies) last week...today, I will be making a garlic/cumin paste (I always have both on hand), browning the meat in a stainless steel pan, deglazing the pan with Mexican beer, reducing, and braising...mmm. Some would be happy to throw it all in a crock-pot and call it done, but there's a huge difference in the finished product.

Complication for the sake of complication is not a good thing, but the process of building layers of flavor can be necessarily lengthy depending on what you're trying to accomplish. I studied a variety of shredded beef recipes (realizing it's a painfully simple dish) to get an idea of how I'd get the most flavorful results. Many people complained that their shredded beef tasted like a decent post roast, but wasn't "Mexican-enough," so I was able to take that into consideration and come up with something awesome that definitely blows anything I've had at a restaurant out of the water.

Homemade pizza takes about 90-120 minutes (at least my recipe) but it's so damned good that I rarely order in. Cooking can be stressful if you set yourself up for something time-consuming when you simply don't have the time, but when approached like a hobby, with careful consideration and a healthy willingness to experiment, it's a lot of fun. Admittedly, not everyone has time for another hobby, but food is a high priority to me, and gets its fair share of attention :)

I still absolutely loathe cooking on Mondays, and have built that expectation into my meal planning. And hell, I doubt I'll ever bother making elaborate Indian recipes since I would need to set aside time for bread, rice, etc. The local restaurant nearby charges about $10-15 per entree, but if I order take-out, each meal works out to about 2.5 real servings.

Sometimes it is more economical in the long run to buy prepared foods; I love green chile but if I don't have the time, I can always pick up a quart for a few bucks from a local restaurant.
posted by aydeejones at 8:12 AM on June 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: is one of the most disgusting things I can imagine swallowing.

Don't ever let someone take you to Masa (NYT, NYMag).
posted by gen at 8:12 AM on June 10, 2008


Heston Blumenthal recipes, Kylie Kwong recipes, they are better made by someone else and eaten by me.

Other than that, any recipe involves a processed vegan/vegetarian version of something; fakin' bacon, scheese, quorn. Exceptions being seitan, tofu and tempeh, which are all better than chicken or duck etc. in asian recipes. If you have nice chicken or duck, why would you need to spice it so strongly that it gets lost in the mix?

TrinaSelwyn, indeed, I have a considerable amount of saffron given to me by well-meaning friends who know I like to spend time cooking. Sadly, I have no interest in saffron having never eaten a dish that contains it which excited me. The same could be said for truffles, caviar, oysters, prawns, eels...

Maybe due to a lack of imagination, but not for want of trying!
posted by asok at 8:19 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


My dealbreaker is anything that claims to be "quick," "easy," "no fuss" or involves a microwave. Boring.

I'm sort of the opposite of this whole concept. The more a recipe involves handmade special equipment, ancient techniques nearly lost in the mists of time, abstruse scientific, biological, and/or engineering knowledge, or multiple steps involving brining, steeping, fermenting, chilling, drying, etc etc, the more likely I am to try it. Especially when it starts from some truly basic ingredients that I can recognize as having come recently from the ground or a known animal and promises to become, by some sort of magic process, some amazing edible product.

I enjoy brewing beer, making hard cider, and (trying to make) proper French bread, if that gives you any idea.
posted by rusty at 8:20 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


On the raw fish tip, I tend to try any fresh fish I come across (as rare as it is here in Ohio) raw. The other week I was over at the in-laws, and they had some fish the FIL had just caught from his pond, so it was blue-gill sashimi and a sample of raw catfish. The blue-gill was very very flavorful. The catfish is not something I think I will try again. It was good cooked, but raw was... blech.
posted by Jonsnews at 8:22 AM on June 10, 2008


And yes, I'm aware that I should steer away from fresh water fish raw. Especially salmon.
posted by Jonsnews at 8:28 AM on June 10, 2008


Don't ever let someone take you to Masa (NYT, NYMag).

At $300 a plate, I'm pretty sure that will not be an issue.
posted by TrinaSelwyn at 8:29 AM on June 10, 2008


I read that as "MTV asks:". In which case I guess the dealbreaker would be anything that comes raw or needs a kitchen tool other than a microwave.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:30 AM on June 10, 2008


Ironically, this post is now the number one google result for 'glove boning'
posted by daHIFI at 8:39 AM on June 10, 2008


As someone who graduated from pastry school, I'm pretty sure I should be ashamed of this, but I don't do caramel past the "golden" stage, and I don't do caramel if I have to mix the sugar with anything (cream, butter, what have you). Scrubbing fifteen people's burnt caramel mixtures out of steel pans for days pretty much broke me of ever wanting to do that again. That and the horrible, horrible burns.

But roux? I make a damn fine DARK roux.

artifarce, I use that buttermilk powder all the time. I never have fresh on hand when I want to make one of the three recipes I make with buttermilk, and I never use up the fresh when I buy it. I can notice a difference -- especially in the cake that takes buttermilk -- but it's still worth it for "everyday" cooking.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:40 AM on June 10, 2008


aydeejones writes "cream of mushroom soup...that's part of the freakin' American comfort-food-lexicon"

related: I'm in Australia. I've seen it, but I've never eaten it.
posted by jacalata at 8:46 AM on June 10, 2008


The thing with cream of mushroom soup is that making it from scratch takes, what, 15 minutes? Be lazy and buy pre-sliced mushrooms, even. Green been casserole with real-deal cream of mushroom soup is awesome.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:53 AM on June 10, 2008


If only I had something that could crush chicken bones

When I was a kid, we called that the dog.

There are also things that I will (sometimes totally irrationally) eat in a restaurant but not at home, regardless of how easy or hard they are to make. Raw meats fall into this category -- sushi, steak tartar, etc. -- but so do a whole set of things that I tend to think of (if sometimes unfairly) as "unhealthy" -- anything deep-fried, cream-based soups, etc. All these things I love eating, but generally won't make in my kitchen.

And it genuinely makes no sense. I have access to farm-fresh beef and eggs, so I can be as sure as it is possible to be about the safety of eating it raw; I can grind it in my kitchen and so on. But instead I will order steak tartar in any random "French-inspired" restaurant without even a whiff of concern about how many days that raw meat has been sitting on their counter being sneezed on by the pastry chef. And I've eaten plenty of grocery-store sushi, too.

So there is a totally irrational side to this, over and above the decisions about "this is too much fuss."

For me it's that completely abominable unit, the cup. Nothing else is as guaranteed to obliterate my desire to try new recipes that I find on the Internet. And what's worse, there are metric, imperial, and Japanese cups to contend with. What's a poor european to do?

I can understand using weight (or is it mass?) for baking, which accounts for whether your flour is dry or damp. But regular, every-day cooking is (for me) a lot more about volume than it is weight or mass. I want enough soup to fill X bowls, or enough sauce to cover Y servings of chicken, or whatever. I have no interest in having 50 grams of sauce (or ounces, or cubits, or whatever) -- it's the wrong form of measuring for what I am trying to produce. That said, I agree that giving instructions like "1 cup of chopped onion" is just as silly as "100 grams of chopped onion" -- onions come prepackaged in individual units of themselves, and a much better instruction is to say "1.5 medium-sized sweet onions, chopped." That actually tells me something, and lets me scale the recipe easily to my tastes and what ingredients I have available.

And, as a general rule, recipes calling for "cups" are really just giving proportions. You could use a cup the size of your house, or a cup suited for a mouse, and as long as you scaled the other ingredients proportionately things will be fine. Rice, couscous, bulgar wheat, and other things are good examples of this: the "recipe" will call for 1 cup rice and 2 cups water, say, but all that is really saying is a proportion of 1:2 -- you can just grab any old cup or other container you have around, and as long as the proportions agree things are fine. Cakes and breads rely on a proportion of dry:wet ingredients; you can measure them in cups, grams, or anything else, and it doesn't matter as long as those proportions are maintained. I can't think of any savory dish that relies on the precision that baking calls for -- using realistic units (eg whole and halves of onions, individual carrots, meat in increments of 1/2 pound or 200 grams, etc) will always work fine; you can ignore the specificity of "cups" and "grams" with no consequences whatsoever.
posted by Forktine at 8:55 AM on June 10, 2008


I don't bake (pastry, bread), I don't cook with organ meats (for the wife and kid, I'll wreck a plate of offal in a restaurant), I don't like to buy some specialized piece of equipment to make one thing. I am currently experiencing a ban on Bouillabaisse because I made it for New Years dinner and I added a whole (like eighth of a gram) of saffron and made my hundred dollar fish stew into the nastiest, saffrony, oily hellbroth, now the thought of saffron makes me queasy and pissed off in the wallet. I don't deep fry because I have enough cooking scars.

What I do like to do is heavily salt a good thick steak and then give it seven minutes a side in a blazing hot cast iron pan, deglaze the pan with beef stock and red wine and then throw in some shallots until they're pretty soft and serve the steak and jus with (just frozen and cooked in the oven) fries and a salad of baby lettuce or endive with a little blue cheese, green apples and some more shallots.

You want to appear like you really know how to cook? Salt the shit out of the meat before you cook it, put shallots in everything. Lots of butter and a little yogurt or sour cream in the mashed potatoes. Salads with cheese and crunch. You know why food in restaurants tastes so good (especially French type bistros)? It's terrible for you.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:59 AM on June 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


I will not roast anything in the belly of a giant Slor. Except Zuuls, of course.
posted by Mister_A at 9:00 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyway. 1 cup == 0.25 liters. 0.23 really, but a cup is so vague in the first place that a quarter liter will get you there.

Rusty, is that true. Really? As in, I could use my measuring jug to measure out a cup? 'Cause if it is true, you've just opened up a whole world of internet recipes for me.

Forktine, if you are used to using weights for cooking, there's a bit of an intellectual leap you have to make to switch to thinking about volume. Also, I don't (didn't) know how big a cup is, and even though I know (knew) you could use any container, I have (had) no concept of how big a cup is, so I can (could) never be sure that my container was approaching the right size, I don't want to accidentally make enough rice to feed five thousand.

That said, apart from baking or other recipes where proportions are essential for success, I tend to treat most recipes as a guide.
posted by Helga-woo at 9:18 AM on June 10, 2008


I won't cook with Soylent Green. Do you know what that stuff is made of?
posted by The Bellman at 9:20 AM on June 10, 2008


- Anything that I need to buy a unique tool to make
- Anything that requires days to prep.
- Anything that can collapse.
- Anything that has specific steps that can make or break the whole dish. EG Browning something "just" to some point.
- Anything that needs to be done super fancy. I'm not much of an artist. However a couple nights ago I made burgers. When I was buying the meat, I saw thick cut peppered bacon just sitting there... begging me to buy and grill it along with the burgers...... I then added cheese to the mixture..... a little stadium mustard. Dear God.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 9:23 AM on June 10, 2008


i've never found success with yeast. i don't know what i've been doing wrong (okay, i suspect the water's been too hot, but whatever), but eventually i just stopped trying. also, i believe i may be too stupid for artichokes.

generally, though, i like absurdly elaborate recipes. at this precise moment, however, given the temperature in my apartment, the phrase "preheat oven" is a definite turnoff.
posted by wreckingball at 9:26 AM on June 10, 2008


Anything in a recipe book is pretty much no man's land for me. And not in a sort of Jamie Oliver "Well, I'll throw in an imprecise dash of foodstuff A and a vague peck of foodstuff B and come up with something tongue-blowingly awesome, bless my bee-stung lips" kind of way. More in a sort of "Mein Gott, cooking is so fracking tedious - it's a good thing I really like raw stuff and sandwiches so I can spend more time fighting crime and making the world a safer place" type of thing. Only without the crimefighting.
posted by Sparx at 9:29 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


For me, a major dealbreaker is anything requiring a lot of counter space, since I have shockingly little.

Appliance-wise I have to reject anything requiring a food processor or a mixer. I've had a bag of chocolate chips sitting waiting to be cookied for about 6 months now because I'm too lazy to mix the batter by hand and too cheap to buy a $15 electric mixer.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:40 AM on June 10, 2008


Rusty, is that true. Really? As in, I could use my measuring jug to measure out a cup? 'Cause if it is true, you've just opened up a whole world of internet recipes for me.

Yes, very true. A cup is 1/4 of a quart, which is just slightly smaller than a liter. Big coffee mugs are often about 1.5 "cups", but more modest sized tea or coffee cups are often pretty close to a formal "cup." And "teaspoons" and "tablespoons" are just fractions of a cup, and can be (for things that aren't baking, and being cautious with salt and spices) approximated by the smaller and larger spoons that you eat with every day.

You are right, that moving between volume and weight in cooking can be a headscratcher. I just did some googling for some metric rice recipes, and find the idea of cooking rice by weight really peculiar -- I've always treated rice (and other grains) as a simple proportion exercise for cooking -- depending on the variety and the result you want, you do anything from a 1:1 to a 1:3 proportion of the grain to water. The advantage of this is that you can make any amount you want, just by varying the size of the container you use for the proportions -- it makes cooking while traveling, or when camping, really easy (and you don't even need to measure, as long as you are ok at eyeballing volumes in a pot). But it is certainly less precise than using weight, because damp rice is heavier than dry rice and will absorb less water per unit volume.
posted by Forktine at 9:45 AM on June 10, 2008


The main thing that turns me off of recipes is ingredients that are hard to find or that I have to buy a lot to use a little. I just don't have the money to waste.

Also, I wanted to thank h00py for pointing out that sushi doesn't have to involve raw fish. It can be fun to make your own cooked rolls at home.
posted by owtytrof at 9:50 AM on June 10, 2008


The old Joy of Cooking that I had seemed to be double-boiler happy, that was always a deal breaker for me.

Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be the case in the newer edition I have...
posted by lumpenprole at 9:55 AM on June 10, 2008


Cooking is not for the feint of heart; it's about innovation, resourcefulness and the sheer joy of creation. Cooking can be messy. And if you expect to create the perfect meal on the first try at a new recipe, then you are probably going to miss out on a lot of excellent recipes.

I don't think you need a Deep Fryer to deep fry food, or a fancy Kitchenaid to make a cheesecake. Can you substitute buttermilk powder for buttermilk in a recipe? Only one way to find out! I can also guarantee that your pumpkin pie will still get compliments if you don't have ground ginger or allspice.

Not all recipes that "require" special tools really do; I doubt French chefs in the 18th century had a high-speed electric mixer to make merengue. And the ones that truly do need special tools may not be worth making in the first place (creme brulee excepted). The only recipes that phase me are ones for food I don't like to eat.

Before hesitating to use ingredients that seem messy or gross, remember: the first person that thought it was a good idea to eat chunky, rotten milk was a brave, brave person. But cheese is good.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:05 AM on June 10, 2008


I won't cook with Soylent Green. Do you know what that stuff is made of?

Illegal immigrants?
posted by inigo2 at 10:08 AM on June 10, 2008


The old Joy of Cooking that I had seemed to be double-boiler happy, that was always a deal breaker for me.

Do you have a small saucepan? Do you have a metal mixing bowl bowl that fits into it without making contact with the bottom of the saucepan? Then you have a double boiler.
posted by dersins at 10:14 AM on June 10, 2008


At least two people have mentioned artichokes. Y'all are scaring me.

All you have to do is put them in a pot big enough to cover them with water. Boil till the leaves come off with only a bit of a tug. Drain and serve with a dipping sauce (I like melted butter with lemon juice, my partner likes balsalmic vinegar with olive oil, pepper, and a splash of beer).

When you get down to the choke-y part, scrape it out with the tip of a table knife. Then cut up the yummy, yummy, delectable heart and eat it. Mmmmm. So easy! So good!
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:21 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


the second human sacrifice.
posted by joelf at 10:22 AM on June 10, 2008


I keep mine in a thyme cube.

Chill and serve in hourglasses.
posted by artifarce at 10:33 AM on June 10, 2008


Fiercecupcake: My personal aversion to artichokes isn't the preparation, but by how creepy the fuzz is. Does this look like something you should be eating, HMM?

I jest: I do love the taste of artichokes.
posted by artifarce at 10:37 AM on June 10, 2008


My favorite dealbreaker recipe ever is from Cookin' With Queen Ida, by zydeco musician Ida Guillory. It's for hog's head cheese, which I love.

(Okay, get all the "EWWW HEAD CHEESE") stuff out of the way. Done? Okay.)

Good Cajun-style hog's head cheese is terrific, and when I describe it to non-Louisianians as a "coarse, country-style Cajun pâté" they go for it and invariably love it. All porky and red with cayenne, chilled very cold and sliced thinly on crackers or French bread with a cold beer, mmmmm.

Anyway ... here's how her recipe begins:

"Remove the tongue and eyes from the hog's head; discard the eyes.

"Wash hog's head thoroughly adn pull out any bristles and hair follicles. (A needlenose pliers works well.) Saw the head into six pieces ..."

Much easier and more pleasant to just go to the grocery and buy some.
posted by chuq at 10:40 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Turducken, once. Now: Stuffed Camel.
posted by gwint at 10:45 AM on June 10, 2008


"...discard the eyes."
There you go, wasting good food.
posted by Floydd at 10:52 AM on June 10, 2008


I don't think you need a Deep Fryer to deep fry food

Word and amen; I deep-fry all the time with just a big pot. I don't really use a splatter-screen either, though, 'cause I found that as long as I'm cooking while naked, the thin sheen of sweat that forms on me is enough to neturalize any flecks of hot oil that might hit my torso. So I guess my main dealbreaker is any recipe that requires me to be clothed.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:04 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well I must be a die-hard foodie because very few things turn me off a recipe. I very much enjoy complicated and time-consuming dishes. However, being a veg-head (well pescatarian I guess if you're gonna go all reductionist) I wont cook any meat other than fish/seafood, although I have used prepared meats (like proscuitto) in meals for my carnivorous family. As with many folks, deep frying is out as well - just too messy and gross. Fresh artichokes as well - just too annoying. And okra, because thats just disgusting.
posted by elendil71 at 11:05 AM on June 10, 2008


Once again with the buttermilk powder: the folks over at Cooks Illustrated seem to think that it's comparable to the real thing. And if you're making something with flour, you can just mix the powder with the dry ingredients and add as much water as you would buttermilk.

Me, I don't cook anything that I can't make as well as my favorite takeout, specifically Indian and Thai food. Also, whenever I cook Indian food, I seem to end up coated in a thin layer of ghee.
posted by bibliowench at 11:09 AM on June 10, 2008


Okay, people. Stop. Don't panic. It is possible to occasionally use canned soup, frozen vegetables, and bouillon cubes in your cooking, and STILL BE A DECENT HUMAN BEING!
posted by tehloki at 11:13 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Naah-annhh, tehloki.
posted by Mister_A at 11:17 AM on June 10, 2008


Does that mean Chiptole is okay cause they've gone organic?
posted by ReadingGuide at 11:20 AM on June 10, 2008


I made a flourless chocolate cake once. Pain in the ass. Delicious, but a pain. Now I never have to make it again.

If it requires a pasta maker - nope.
If it requires pie dough (from scratch) - nope, because I suck at making pie dough. Fortunately, my partner is excellent at it.
If it requires fresh truffle - only if I've recently won the lottery.
Peeling freshly roasted or steamed chestnuts - no! Huge pain, literally.
Butchering something more than a chicken - nope. I have no experience, so it would take me a long time and I'd do it wrong.
Making my own sausage - nope. Too many delicious ready-made sausages already out there for me to risk giving myself food poisoning on a homemade sausage.

Otherwise, pretty much nothing is a dealbreaker. If a recipe requires 50 steps and 9 hours, I'm not going to make it on a weeknight, though I may start whatever steps I can if I want to eat the thing the next night. Big, complicated things, or things that need you to cook them, cool them, and then heat them up (lots of stews are much better the second day) I save for the weekend.
posted by rtha at 11:32 AM on June 10, 2008


The thing with cream of mushroom soup is that making it from scratch takes, what, 15 minutes?

Recipe please. IIRC the last time I made it was more like an hour.

Green been casserole with real-deal cream of mushroom soup is awesome.

That it is.
posted by romakimmy at 11:34 AM on June 10, 2008


If I have or can jerry-rig the equipment and it doesn't high-light one of the few ingredients that make me gag I'm all about it.
About the only deal breaker I have anymore is anything that calls for more than a quarter stick of butter. Butter is awesome and often the secret ingredient, but as I cook more I realize it should be a subtle base note, not a screeching Okie violin.
posted by mikoroshi at 11:39 AM on June 10, 2008


I don't understand the conceptual aversion to volume measurement.* It is really easy: fill this thing to the top.

* I get not having measuring cups.
posted by dame at 11:41 AM on June 10, 2008


It pains me to say, there are a plethora of recipes that are non-starters for me because I don’t have a grill. And this is the worst time for such poverty since all the periodical cooking magazines invariably devote the early summer issues to grills.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 11:59 AM on June 10, 2008


Recipe please. IIRC the last time I made it was more like an hour.

It's just like making sausage gravy, but with extra liquid (broth), assuming you're going to make casserole with it (so it ought to be thick):

1. Do up about a pound of sliced mushrooms with 2 or 3 T of butter and a little salt til they get brown and wilty-awesome, maybe 7, 8 minutes. Stick some minced garlic in there for the last minute or two.
2. Sprinkle on flour in an equal amount to the butter, get it all mixed up, and cook it for a minute or two.
3. Add a cup or so of chicken broth (or veggie stock) and boil it briefly.
4. Lower the heat and add maybe a cup of half-and-half or cream, cook it another 5-10 minutes, til it thickens a bit.
5. Season with some black pepper and probably more salt. (Nutmeg if you're feeling saucy.)
posted by uncleozzy at 11:59 AM on June 10, 2008 [8 favorites]


“I’ve been hearing how simple and awesome Bittman is…”

Here’s the simplest and awesomest Bittman recipe, Sausages with Grapes: cook sausages; add grapes and balsamic vinegar; serve with bread.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 12:03 PM on June 10, 2008


Or I could just order a cup from somewhere, I suppose.

Have an American send you a set of US measures. They cost about a dollar, and meant that I was able to make US recipes reliably for the first time in my life.

It's worth it even if you only use them to make American pancakes. Seriously.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:05 PM on June 10, 2008


Can you substitute buttermilk powder for buttermilk in a recipe?

You can't buy buttermilk powder here in the UK. I use a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of regular milk and let it stand for about ten minutes.

Again, my US measures are my friend here.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:10 PM on June 10, 2008


Helga-woo: Oh my goodness. Is this a common problem? Google converts units for you. All kinds of units. Really! What's 12 cups in liters? How many fathoms in a furlong? and so forth. It does math too.

I'm still waiting for the day google gives me the right answer to "where the hell are my socks?" but for everything else...
posted by rusty at 12:13 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anything that requires a double boiler.
posted by hjo3 at 12:50 PM on June 10, 2008


rusty: Thank you for the instructions, but truly, that sounds like torture. I don't know why I am so reluctant to prepare artichokes at home, because I certainly enjoy eating them.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 12:52 PM on June 10, 2008


You can't buy buttermilk powder here in the UK.

Can't you just put out a note for the milkman to bring you a pint of buttermilk? Has it been that long since I spent mush time in the UK?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:55 PM on June 10, 2008


i love can of Cream of Foo Soup. love, love, love.

what can i say? i'm a meat, potatoes, and can of Cream of Foo Soup kind of gal.
posted by msconduct at 1:28 PM on June 10, 2008


Okay. One more artichoke thing.

I will admit that after years of being anti-microwave, a new (and tim-consuming) gardening hobby has taken me out of the kitchen and into the yard, so I finally caved in and got one.

The best thing about the microwave?

If you get a big pyrex bowl, put 1/4 cup of water in it, put an artichoke in it, and cover it with plastic wrap, you can cook it in the microwave in about five minutes.

Yes. That's right. Five-minute artichokes.
posted by mediocrates at 1:56 PM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


The most complicated thing that I've ever made was plum pudding. Odd ingredients, like suet and candied citron; preparation time of weeks; steamed via a precarious arrangement of a bundt pan perched over a pot of boiling water (with a proper pudding pan, it probably would have taken forever; the bundt pan not only speeded up that process, but also eased serving). But, oh, man, was it fun to pour burning rum over that thing in a dark dining room.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:07 PM on June 10, 2008


Yes, but how did it taste?
posted by Dave Faris at 2:12 PM on June 10, 2008


Anything that requires ingredients I can't afford to buy, anything that requires a partner. Those are pretty much my only limits, and both have been broken on occasion.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:31 PM on June 10, 2008


As others said above, anything that requires multiple steps over long periods of time. I made a coconut creme pie this weekend. Mix and chill. Then fold. Then chill. Then top. Then chill. With all the time involved, I *cannot* understand why clowns waste these pies by throwing them at each other's faces.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:57 PM on June 10, 2008


Seafood and any recipes that leave either onions or tomatoes raw are things I always give a pass, but there isn't much else I won't touch or try (blood, guts, yum). Space- for both preparation and storage- is my issue along with money, so anything that requires lots of either is out. I make up for it by putting the ingredients I can afford through all kinds of torture. Tiny amounts of expensive fresh herbs, or a spoonful of something that'll sit on my shelf for the next several months, aren't worth it to me, nor is anything that requires excess gadgetry. Knives, processor, grater, Foreman grill, and the necessary pans... is about all that fits in my shoebox of a kitchen. Pretty much the only things I splurge on are spices and cheese. Most of the time, everything ends up in one pot or casserole, but once or twice a week, depending on how many days I have off, I'll happily spend several hours frying samosas, stuffing dozens of grape leaves, or trying to duplicate different kinds of risottos that I used to watch being made at the restaurant where I worked a few years back... I blame that place and its spur-of-the-moment cooking classes on lazy afternoons for my continuing obsessions. I'd be a food snob if my taste allowed it, but actually I'm just biding my time until I can get a deep fryer and make my own fried Snickers.

This guide (about.com, sorry) is what I think of when I hear "glove boning", and maybe it really does merit a youtube demonstration? Probably by someone less messy than me, though.
posted by notquitemaryann at 2:58 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mainly recipes that involve some pre-prepared ingredients - like a tin of mushroom soup. Recipes like this seem quite common on the internet. I was searching for a recipe for minestrone soup last weekend and found a recipe that had, as one of the ingredients, "1 tin of minestrone soup". Lame.

Recipes that require particular, exotic types of mushrooms are another one. Around here, we've basically got three choices that I've seen for sale: Button, Swiss, or dried Shitake. Anything weirder than that, I don't bother with.
posted by Jimbob at 4:58 PM on June 10, 2008


somebody point me to a link that explains how glove boning is done
Turkey.
Jimbob - Huon Valley Mushrooms.
posted by tellurian at 7:11 PM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Anything with cilantro. I hate cilantro. Fortunately it can be left out and the recipe is only improved.

Like cilantro? OK, fine, but just don't force it on everyone, add it to your plate if you want it.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:43 PM on June 10, 2008


http://thymecube.com/
posted by sammyo at 7:53 PM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, sorry, ob actually topical comment:

Ok, buttermilk, now some will gag, but powered buttermilk exists and exceeded my expectations, low they may be. What ingredient stops me cold? Depends on the day and mood, but certainly a flavor I don't care for. Deep frying for a long time due to memories of a sister that was burned as a child, the memory was probably worse than reality but there was a trip to the hospital. Oh fresh grated truffle is a dead stop as I do not own a truffle hound or live where the 'hound' would be effective.
posted by sammyo at 8:02 PM on June 10, 2008


Definitely deep frying for me.

Bonus: My heart thanks me.
posted by rokusan at 8:28 PM on June 10, 2008


Anything involving any wine derivative in any way, shape, or form, due to a sulfites allergy. I even know of 'sulfite-free' wine, but just the thought of eating or drinking anything with wine in it just makes my stomach turn. Same with peanuts, walnuts, and/or strawberries. I'm a load of fun to cook for, let me tell you.

Non allergy deal-breakers: Anything involving specialized tools. I'm game to cook with most any ingredient as long as I can eat it, and I'm willing to try 20 step recipes, recipes that take all day, require complex techniques, etc. But, if it involves a specialized tool for one thing, and it can't be replicated, and it's not something I make all the time, then no. (My tortilla press is an exception, as I love to make homemade corn tortillas.)
posted by spinifex23 at 1:35 PM on June 11, 2008


My heart thanks me.

But, alas, your soul has long since hopped a train to Memphis.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:18 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll do multiple steps for something that is really worth it AND is not readily available in stores.

But some stuff is ridiculous - I remember watching my old roommate make samosas from scratch, which involves making the pastry, toasting the spices, chopping and cooking the filling ingredients, assembling the samosas and then baking them. It takes hours, and it's just a friggin' samosa which to me is a side dish anyways, plus I live off Brick Lane so they aren't exactly hard to buy... pass.
posted by vodkaboots at 3:51 PM on June 11, 2008


But some stuff is ridiculous

Funny. I remember watching my old roommate level-up from scratch, which involved going on some quest, killing monsters or NPCs, looting the corpses, taking their items back to a town, selling them in the marketplace, and then using the gold to buy the items he actually wanted. It takes hours and it's just a friggin' video game character, plus I have ebay and a credit card so they aren't exactly hard to buy... pass.
posted by dersins at 4:14 PM on June 11, 2008


My point is not that video games are stupid. My point is that some people (gasp!) actually enjoy the process of cooking as an end in itself. The tasty snacks at the end are just a little added bonus.
posted by dersins at 4:16 PM on June 11, 2008


Yeah, any recipe where I have to change character classes or spend more than a half-hour grinding just isn't worth it. It's like, "What the fuck, only Dragoons can make this cake? And they have to be at least level 15? FUCK THAT"
posted by Greg Nog at 9:09 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


It takes hours, and it's just a friggin' samosa which to me is a side dish anyways, plus I live off Brick Lane so they aren't exactly hard to buy... pass.

Exactly. That's precisely what eating out should be about: sampling the dishes that are fiddly or technical or time-consuming or require specialist equipment that you cannot easily make for yourself at home.

On the other side of that coin, I always feel like I've been taken for a ride if I visit a cafe or restaurant, only to eat something relatively simple that I could cook at home, probably better & definitely cheaper:

"It costs fifteen bucks, and it's just friggin' bacon, sausage & eggs which to me is bachelor food anyways, plus I live just down from the supermarket so they aren't exactly hard to buy...pass"
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:52 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


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