20 July, 2008

Preheat the planet

Okay, so maybe I exaggerate. But it really annoys me when recipes start with "preheat the oven" and then launch into an extended series of steps to prepare the meal that clearly takes much longer than it takes to preheat an oven. For example, I have a cake recipe that starts with preheat the oven to 180°C, and then asks you to boil an orange and lemon in a pan for 30 minutes until soft, drain them and let them cool, which is bound to take at least another 20 minutes. Then you make the batter which probably takes about 10 minutes. So you preheated your oven and then took an hour to prepare the cake. I know it's important to have an already hot oven to put a cake into, but it doesn't take an hour to get there. This is just lazy recipe writing and wastes energy and annoys me. I've even read recipes which get you to preheat the oven at the start and then you make pastry and rest it for 2 hours before you start making the rest of the food. Arrrgh.

So my environmental tip for the day is, when cooking from a recipe, read it through carefully and calculate how long it will take to get the oven hot, and therefore when you need to turn it on. Don't believe the book. They are all too often wrong.

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