Patience

Cooking requires a lot of patience. Ask anyone who knows me, and they are going to tell you that patience is not really one of those attributes I was given by nature or nurture. But cooking requires an enormous amount of patience. (Side note: The instant pot can avoid some of this requirement!)

I love to smoke meat. This takes hours. Hell, it can take me an hour or more just to get the Weber at the temp I want to even put the meat in to start smoking, although I have gotten much better at judging how many coals and such to get to the temp I want. It turns out one needs to know a bit about science and weather to really do this right. Then, you get the meat on, and you wait. Then, you wait some more. You get within 5 degrees of where you want to pull the meat, and it seems like it takes hours to advance a measly 5 degrees. Seriously, we often smoke to sliceable rather than shreddable because I just don’t have the patience. And don’t even let me get started on the time investment requires to make things like pastrami and corned beef.

But let’s go back to before I started trying to smoke meats. I started learning about the patience requirement many years ago. Alfredo was my wise teacher. When making Alfredo sauce, the timing of when the cream is ready for the cheese is very important. The recipe would say x number of minutes and of course, I would get impatient and think it was ready. This resulted in some grainy or broken sauces. I’ve discovered a small aid to this problem. It’s called a thermometer. Just check the temperature and tell yourself to chill when it’s not ready.

I recently started making my own cheese, and this definitely requires some patience. First, you have the same issue as with the Alfredo. You need a specific temperature. You cannot rush the cream/milk/liquid to the temperature you desire. You have to heat it slow, or you’re going to have a scorched mess. So, you have to wait. And you need that thermometer. Do not try to eyeball this if you want to come out with the cheese you desire. As a side note, start with Ricotta. It’s the easiest and requires the least amount of patience. I have not tried making any aged cheeses, as I lack the proper cooling chamber at this time, but I imagine that would be an extreme test of patience.

In general, low and slow equals delicious. Again, anyone who knows me will tell you these are not words that make sense with my personality. But almost any of the most delicious foods I have made (let’s exclude things in a wok) are best if cooked slowly, over low heat, while waiting for all the flavors to develop and unite in a beautiful symphony of flavor. Think chili.

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