January 2, 2004

Recipe Time

Belgian waffles are on my mind, because I've made them 2 days in a row. But, how long does it take to prepare Belgian Waffles? Anyone? Anyone?

I guess you could find out by finding a recipe and reading the prep time listed there. If you were to do that, you might come along the recipes I read yesterday in my Belgian Waffle recipe search.

The first recipe stated "30 minutes" prep time. The second recipe quoted "20 minutes." Great - if I use this recipe, I save myself 10 minutes! A quick comparison shows the recipes weren't identical. But the differences were in the ratio of ingredients. Pretty much all Belgian waffles are made of flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter and milk. The ratios vary. The preparation steps are almost exactly the same.

Then I came upon Emeril's recipe. Prep time is 10 minutes! Great! I can make them in 1/3 of the time that some other folks take. Wunnerful. Hmmm. Again, it's pretty much the same recipe. In fact, Emeril has you spend some extra time with the egg yolks and the sugar. And yet, it takes a pro like Emeril less time. Amazing.

Back in reality land, it does actually take about 15-20 minutes to prepare everything. I'm sure it depends on how efficient your kitchen is set up, too. But what I really want to know when I make a recipe is what sort of an investment am I looking at here? How much time will it take to prepare? How much time will it take me to cook? How much time will I spend eating this and feeding it to my family and guests? And, most importantly, how much time will it take to clean up?

That's the question they never seem to answer. What's the cleanup time? Some recipes are a godawful mess. Some recipes are so traumatic, it can take years for a kitchen to recover (some brewing experiences I've had, for example). On TV, the chefs that teach you how to make this or that never do the dishes. You never see them cleaning their equipment. It's whisked away by magical elves. In fact, they seem to always be using brand-spanking new utensils and cookware. I'd be lost without my well-seasoned cast iron. These people are addicted to nonstick because it works well right out of the box (and lousy soon after) but it also looks good on camera, especially when you're endorsing the product.

The real point is, eating a Belgian Waffle makes you so happy, you forget the mess you made of your kitchen. When you spilled egg on the floor. And your kids got into the powdered sugar. And everything is sticky with strawberries.

Posted by James at January 2, 2004 12:03 AM
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Just a comment on recipes. Back when I could eat waffles nothing was better than yeast raised waffles. You have to start the prep the night before but MY GOD they were awesome. I suggest you try them you may never go back to plain old waffles again (we did't). I can get you the recipe we usd but I'm sure an epicurious.com or google search will get you a decent recipe.

Posted by: Bob at January 5, 2004 11:21 AM

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