It's All in the Timing

"My wife has to be the worst cook. In my house, we pray after we eat." - Rodney Dangerfield

All the great stand up comedians from George Burns and Rodney Dangerfield to Jay Leno and David Letterman know the answer to success - it's all in the timing. Even the funniest and best-written jokes can fall flat if not told with great timing. Leave out a needed pause and the joke can fall flat.

Just as in comedy, even the tastiest recipe with the finest ingredients can fail because of errors in timing. An underdone cake can sink in the middle, an overcooked pie crust turns black and hard, and a burnt steak from the grill is tough and hard to chew. On the stage, when a comedian's timing is off, he wants to walk away and try again the next night with a new audience. When a favorite recipe comes out of the oven burnt or the cake has fallen, the cook wants to throw the whole thing in the garbage and start all over.

If throwing out underdone or overcooked food is happening to you, the answer to your problem could be a proper timer or thermometer. For example, if you are grilling meat, it is a delicate process, one that requires complete vigilance. How do you know that the steak is medium rare or medium? If you are doing larger portions of meat in the oven or on the grill you may want to consider a remote meat thermometer which measures the internal temperature of your meat. You just program the specifications for the meat and the thermometer beeps when it's ready. What makes this nice is the thermometer sits outside the oven or grill for easy access. No more letting all the heat escape while you check the temperature.

If you have a tendency to forget that you have something in the oven, or if you know you will be in another part of the house or yard working at another task such as gardening, take the timer with you. A timer worn around your neck or on your belt loop can save your family from eating another batch of black bottom cookies. When the timer goes off, just return to the kitchen and everything comes out of the oven just right!

For those of you who just want a regular timer, with no programming features, a standard timer works just great. (These trusted timers have been used for many tasks other than cooking, such as music practice time, "time-outs" for children and keeping peace between siblings by "time sharing" toys.)

So the next time no one laughs at your jokes - just remember your success in your kitchen - success is all in the timing!

While many of the great chefs of the world are men, the average fellow is a notoriously distracted cook. As has frequently been observed, a "devil-may-care" attitude in the kitchen can get you into a lot of trouble. Recently one young fellow, after dedicating himself to a lifestyle that involved frequent trips to the gym and physical abuse by mechanical devices designed to deliver optimal stress and strain to targeted muscles, determined that his self-inflicted misery was incomplete without diet reform. He therefore resolved that oatmeal would be his cereal of choice. After his first meal, however, even his high threshold for suffering was tested to its limit. As he remarked to his sister later the same day, "I hope I develop a taste for the stuff. It goes down real rough."

"Well," she replied, "how long did you cook it?"

"Cook it?" he muttered, "You're supposed to cook it?"