Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lessons Learned: A mincer is not a mincer is not a mincer

So I’m making a recipe that calls for two tablespoons of minced shallots. I have the shallots. I also have a mincer. It’s a garlic mincer, but it’s still a mincer. This book wants the shallots minced, fine, I’ll put them in this mincer and mince the motherfuckers.

But, lo, that is not what happened. I put the shallot in the mincer and squeezed and, instead of some nicely minced shallots squooshing kind-of grossly out the other end, all the juice in the shallot was forcefully expelled out of the shallot, some onto the kitchen counter, but most directly into my eye.

Then I cried like a baby. Not because my eyes were aflame with the juice of an onion (although that too), but because once again, I have been fucked over by cookbook authors.

See, a shallot is like a tiny little onion, all crisp and juicy. And garlic is like, well, garlic. Not at all the same thing, and they cannot be minced with the same tool, apparently. But did the cookbook say this? No. Did it say, “Mince the shallots by using a knife and cutting them so tiny that you also slice off some of your fingernails, not by using a garlic mincer, which will get you all onion-juicy”? No. The mincing of the shallots was not even a step in the recipe! It’s just there on the ingredient list: 2 minced shallots.

This is bullshit, people. The ingredient list is for ingredients. Ingredients come from the store. There are no “minced shallots” at the store. That’s preparation. Step one of your recipe should be “Mince the shallots. Oh, and by the way, here is how to mince a shallot.”

And while we’re at it, let’s quit with this coy game of “I-know-what-vegetables-look-like-and-you-don’t.” The other day I was going to make a recipe that called for leeks. So off I went to the grocery store to get some. Unfortunately, I don’t know what a leek is. I’ve never seen a leek or eaten a leek or taken a leek to a baseball game. Lucky for me, my grocery store has signs! But when I located the sign that said “leeks,” there were two vegetables underneath it. There were also other signs for things like “bok choy” and “edameme” (???), and all the vegetables underneath were sort of jumbled around. So I had to take my best guess, then walk around the store until I found someone who worked there and shake the vegetable at him and demand, “Is this a leek?”

It was. But when I got it home and chopped it up, I only had half a cup. I needed two cups. Did the recipe say “4 leeks” in the ingredients? No, silly, it didn’t. It said, “2 cups chopped leeks.”

Cookbook authors, listen up: I’m wise to your game, and I’m not going to take it anymore. Two can play at this.

So now I present my gourmet recipe for Herbed Cornish Game Hen:

1 Herbed Cornish Game Hen,


Look! I’m a cookbook author! Give me money.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geraldine would be so very proud of you!
She often fixed Herbed Cornish Hens. They were full of bones! We often would eat before we went for a visit. Than we would pick at the bones.
I found a leek in the garden? I did not plant it.
I am not a dicer.

5:51 PM  
Blogger rf said...

is there going to be any more?

1:15 PM  
Blogger housefrau said...

Yes, more. As soon as I get off my ass and do something around the house. Right now, my only housefrau news is, "Everything dirty. Very sleepy. Night-night."

I'm pathetic, really.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you use a mincer or a garlic press? Was it a scissor like squeeze device, or a twisty bladed thing?

12:42 PM  

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