The Prep Work

Something I’ve noticed recently about cooking, at least the type that I do, is that it’s not the actual cooking that takes so much time and energy.  It’s acquiring the ingredients that’s the hard part.  Especially here in Paris.  There’s no one-stop shopping.  You go to the boulangerie for your bread, the fromagerie for your cheese, one stall in the farmers market for your veggies, another stall for your meat.  It’s not easy, but I’m not really complaining.  When each vendor or store specializes in one thing, their product is more likely to be of high quality.  Don’t get me wrong…there are supermarkets here with pretty much everything you need in one place.  That’s just not the preferred method of buying groceries here.

My meals lately have been pretty simple, but focused on quality ingredients.  For instance, I made a roasted chicken with potatoes, carrots and onions.  My time in the kitchen was minimal.  I spent about 20 minutes peeling and chopping veggies.  The oven did the rest.  But buying those ingredients took more time and effort. I got those ingredients from 2 different stores and probably spent over an hour doing that.

This is similar to sewing in that the actual sewing on a sewing machine is not the time-consuming part of “sewing”.  Cutting out the pattern, cutting out the fabric, pressing seams, trimming seams – those are the things that take the most time. Realizing this distinction allows for better time management-more realistic expectations about what parts of the task (i.e. cooking or sewing) will need more time.  It also helps me be patient with the more time-consuming parts.  Maybe this is old news but I’m just discovering it.


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