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For me, multitasking makes cooking not fun

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    For me, multitasking makes cooking not fun

    One thing I particularly struggle with in cooking is multitasking. I just don't enjoy it, and often get flustered. I like to do one thing and follow it through.

    Last night I did a dish that involves coordinating the grill and three pans to make sure everything came out great and at the same time. That was a little stressful, and I was only cooking for myself!

    Thinking about this this morning, it occurred to me why I seem to be enjoying BBQ more than my "Emeril Lagasse" phase I had in the early 2000s. (Yes, I had a "phase.") With smoking, smoke-roasting, and even some grilling....it is a much slower, even straightforward pace. You have time to think and reflect on what you are doing. Furthermore, this frees one up to do that side dish.

    There's also this notion that BBQ is done when it is done, so there is almost a built-in idea that things might not come together perfectly at the right moment.

    That's one thing I love about doing pork butt. There is no critical rest time in the cambro. It can put it in there, let it rest for 45 minutes and then start the side. If the side finishes in 10 minutes, fine; if it takes another 45, that is perfectly fine, too.

    My style of cooking.

    #2
    I totally agree. Before retiring, I wore quite a few hats over the years ... many of which required constant multitasking. Cooking ... and especially smoking and grilling ... are a form of extreme relaxation for me and if I get my way, will never involve much, if any, multi-tasking (insert sigh of relief here). As I've told SWMBO whenever she's "suggested" some sort of time-critical food-juggling event, "Just because I can doesn't mean I want to" ... then I usually wind up doing whatever it was as "suggested" anyway (insert sigh of frustration here).

    Comment


      #3
      If I did the grill and three pans at least one, maybe two would be a chore to enjoy or ruined completely.
      To the point its chew bubble gum or drive....I can't do both at the same time.
      And the older I get the worse it gets.

      Comment


        #4
        It is what ya make of it. You do have a choice. You can do a multi scramble or ya can cook the sides & let warm while yer cookin the important thing, the grillin or the Q’in. Sometimes lately, the only thing I have to eat is the grillin, that & maybe a piece of bread or one side as in a frozen veggie. You don’t care, ya don’t care. The end result is pretty much pleasant & am reminded at how decent a cook I am. Ya could always eat the same thing everyday, day in, day out. Make it what you make it.

        Comment


          #5
          Pellet Grill/smoker, set and forget until temp alarm. The long slow cooks allow time for sides and PBR.
          I don't mind multitasking when BBQing, but don't care to be rushed. Although it is a challenge that is not needed in my old age.
          Happy Grilling to you

          Comment


            #6
            I’m totally with you on this. Especially over the last year where I’m cooking 4-6 days a week. We do a lot of salads and easy sides like frozen veggies or baked taters. I’m happier when the main course comes out great rather than missing the mark on that to manage side dishes too. I don’t have a crazy side dish game anyway, so some of the steamer bags aren’t much of a step down from what I’d make from scratch. If I’m doing something that has a good rest, I’ll get more adventurous with sides.

            Comment


              #7
              Agreed.

              when the plan changes _after_ the cook has started or when special requests abound at an event. Juggling more than a few special requests for meat doneness or ingredient holds is tiring.

              Comment


              • Mr. Bones
                Mr. Bones commented
                Editing a comment
                Just Say No.

              #8
              Multitasking describes 99% of my life. It's second nature. I think any working-outside-of-the-home parent will tell you the same, in addition to most stay-at-home parents. I remember checking the weather to see if, in the middle of my busy afternoon at work, I'd have to schedule a ride home for my kid in case an after-school outdoor swim team event would be canceled due to rain. Not to mention driving home from work trying to figure what the H. E. Doubletoothpicks to fix for supper for a hungry family.

              Multitasking also part and parcel of getting a meal together. Salad, sides, the main, all have to come together and are often simultaneous in prep. Try grilling chicken and making double-fried french fries at the same time. Multitasking at its finest. (Enter my rationalization for having an Camp Chef Somerset IV outdoor gas range alongside my smokers. I heart that range!)

              For me the two biggest innovations in the past few years that have eased the stress of multitasking in my meal prep are the Joule sous vide unit and the Fireboard with Drive and Pit Viper fan.

              With the sous vide unit, food is no longer the boss of me. I can sear the steaks, etc. when all the family or guests show up and we're ready for them. Just yesterday I sous vided then seared some bratwurst. Why? Because with sous vide I don't have to poke the sausage with the Thermapen to test for temperature doneness (always a pet peeve) only to have that delicious fat squirt out. Also because I could sear the brats off when I was ready to serve them, hot and fresh.

              The Fireboard with Drive and Pit Viper fan turn my smokers into appliances. If I have a "lazy day", I can relax and smoke the meat old school, tweaking temps and fiddling to my heart's content. Or until the beer runs out. But especially when we entertain and I need a tight ETA for the meat, the Fireboard and its Temp Controller Pals make life so much easier.

              Kathryn
              Last edited by fzxdoc; March 20, 2021, 02:08 PM.

              Comment


              • Polarbear777
                Polarbear777 commented
                Editing a comment
                Agreed. SV and pit control removes a great deal of stress.

                I can even drop my pit temp to hold when something is done if we aren’t ready for it.

                SV sausages is pretty much my only way now if not smoking them. So easy and predictable. Plus they turn out with crackly skin and juicier than imaginable.

              • Polarbear777
                Polarbear777 commented
                Editing a comment
                Catered a picnic a couple years ago. Ran two SV machines full of brats and pasteurized them. Then showed up with a cooler full of brat bags in the hot water. Seared and finished about 60 or so. Easy and low stress.

              • Mr. Bones
                Mr. Bones commented
                Editing a comment
                Polarbear777 Me likeys th way ya rolled on dat one, lesson duly catalogued, many thanks, Brotherman!

              #9
              I get it. There are a few things you can do to reduce the multitasking. Can you work ahead to a certain point, then put it in the fridge and come back to it? Mise en place is also a really good idea. And don't get stressed. You aren't trying to win a contest here. You can get better at it with practice, provided you give yourself permission to make some mistakes along the way.
              ​​​

              Comment


                #10
                I'm lucky since my chef wife has to be involved with whatever is cooking so she always manages the sides while I'm grilling / smoking. This is good because otherwise I forget where I left my beer.

                Comment


                • fzxdoc
                  fzxdoc commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Perfect setup.

                  K.

                #11
                While some people may do multitasking out of necessity and others enjoy the "thrill" it gives them, my experience has been that the people who do it end up doing a lot of things half-baked (I usually use a word other than "-baked" in that phrase). I don't even like to watch cooking shows that are competitions showing chefs/cooks running around in a state of panic with sweat dropping into their food.

                If I am the only cook, I will try to focus on the one main event and either have simple sides or sides prepared in advance so they need only be warmed up or pulled out of the fridge.

                For occasions like Thanksgiving, I do the turkey and delegate everything else out to the rest of the family. Cooking/BBQing is my escape from stress. I don't want it to be the cause.

                Comment


                • Steve R.
                  Steve R. commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Amen. I suck at multitasking, so I just admit that and move on. I would rather focus on trying to be great at what I am already good at. In my way of thinking, sides are kind of an afterthought in the big picture, so I'm fine with handing that off to others.

                • Mr. Bones
                  Mr. Bones commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Amen, brother!
                  Cooked professionally many years, can FULLY Appreciate th Big DIfference!

                • Skip
                  Skip commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I don't like the competition cooking shows where people run around all stressed either.

                #12
                Originally posted by JCGrill View Post
                Mise en place is also a really good idea. ​​​
                This really has made a huge difference. I even group the stuff on the counter by recipe steps. It is extra stuff to clean (not all that much) but it makes things as you said, so much smoother and less stressful.

                Comment


                • Polarbear777
                  Polarbear777 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I usually rewrite recipes in paprika before I even make them and group the ingredients into separate bowls so getting set up to cook is easy.

                • Steve B
                  Steve B commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Agreed. I try to have everything in place when doing a multi cook meal.

                #13
                Interesting subject. I was going to respond with I get stressed boiling water. But it is a challenge at times. I find prep and organization helps. Also if I can pre-cook sides and feel comfortable I can maintain their integrity as being right off wherever they were cooked I'll do it. If I am doing a recipe, I literally line all the ingredients in the order the recipe calls for. So it works as well as pairing a libation with whatever I'm cooking really helps ease the stress. Not so sure it's a benefit for the final product but I have fun.
                Last edited by RichieB; March 19, 2021, 04:57 PM.

                Comment


                • FireMan
                  FireMan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Organization? Integrity? You kill me. 😳

                • RichieB
                  RichieB commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yea, I'm organized and have integrity in everything I attempt to do. I can boil water and not break a sweat And put down a few libations in the midst of a cook. To me that's multi-tasking.

                #14
                Totally agree. I completely credit my wife on teaching me this aspect of preparing food. I have taught myself alot and the majority of that comes from this forum. How to prepare meals came from my wife and how she taught me to prepare multiple dishes at once. When I started the kitchen looked like an absolute train wreck. Now, not so much. Alot of practice for sure. Hang in there.

                Comment


                  #15
                  Multi tasking... I can't do it. As a aircraft technician they teach us "multi tasking means you are not doing any of those tasks correctly" Mrs. H and a lot of others can I'm sure. I hope to get better at doing the complete meal some day soon.

                  Comment


                  • FireMan
                    FireMan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    There is a reason that “they” teach that in yer profession. Multi tasking is not excelling at anything. Focus is critical to what you do, hence ferget lookin at somethin else.

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