Last night I whipped up a batch of coleslaw that tasted fine & took a few minutes to make, from raw head of cabbage to completed slaw layered atop pulled pork from the crock pot.
I note this because coleslaw is a potential culinary rabbit hole, one of those super basic things many cookbooks insist on transforming into a labyrinth of time-consuming techniques. I'm usually a huge fan of the various America's Test Kitchen cookbooks, but their coleslaw is prohibitively complex in pursuit of a "dream" slaw with NO PUDDLE OF WETNESS at the bottom of the dish. Which is great if you're a kitchen tyrant with your own legion of prep staff and sous chefs, but for a weekday meal at home?
I'm almost fatally disposed toward 'perfect' recipes that solve these sorts of non-problems, however many extra steps they require. I'm better than I used to be, but still far from recovered.
I put a marinated pork roast in the crock pot yesterday before work, figuring we could do something with it that evening & have leftovers for hash or whatever on my 'weekend'. While at work the plan evolved into a little get-together, and something extra seemed called for.
Except I'd be getting home just about when we should be eating & my inclination toward fiddly, lengthy recipes was thwarted. Instead I hunted up Google's 'Fastest Coleslaw Recipe', which was something like
1lb bag shredded cabbage & carrots
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1tb lemon juice
1tb white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Dump in bowl & mix to combine, serve.
Not being an animal I substituted a head of cabbage & a bunch of carrots for the bagged junk (at what point did washing & chopping produce become a BRIDGE TOO FAR for American kitchens?), but otherwise stuck with the plan.
And it turned out fine.
It wasn't amazing or revolutionary (or particularly healthy), it didn't make you re-think your position on coleslaw....but tasted good and was much better than the offerings of a typical BBQ joint. Prep included the whole thing came in under five minutes.
I have a block full of good, expensive knives that I enjoy using, but my favorite is a basic 8" chefs knife from Chicago Cutlery. I doubt it was more than $20 new, but I picked it up at an outlet store for $2 due to a nick in the blade, which my knife sharpener made short work of. It keeps an edge pretty well, its huge wooden handle fits my hand perfectly, and it's the knife I reach for 90% of the time.
A capitalist environment (like authoring cookbooks, like selling knives) is adept at baiting our neuroses, leading us down spiraling tunnels of ever expanding complication solvable only with the purchase of their anodyne, making us forget that our favorite knife only cost two bucks and that you can make a perfectly fine batch of coleslaw in a couple of minutes with mayonnaise & vinegar.
moments after publishing this as if on cue, this toddled across my Twitter timeline:
$40 Deviled Eggs