- Take pictures of the plates of food you want to remember as if they were for a menu. They kind of are. As long as you can recognize what it is, viewing picture files in its own folder is a great way to decide what you want for dinner, mixing and matching side dishes you’ve tried. Plus you learn to “plate.” If you haven’t made your plate attractive before for a camera, you will be surprised what it does for the experience of eating.
- Have a recipe bin that includes the day-to-day. If you forget the ratio of water to rice and how long to cook it, make a “recipe” for rice. Why not? Sushi rice (American grown) is 1.5 cups water per 1 cup rice in a glass bowl with a lid, microwaved for 10 minutes stirring once. Some rice needs more water. If the water is gone after 5 minutes add more and write down on the bag and/or in a file how much water it took.
- Many dark green vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and brussel sprouts that you don’t want to get limp, yellow and vitaminless are great microwaved. Line them in a single layer with 4 tbsp water sprinkled over the top of them in a microwave-safe dish, cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Add time as you need it.
- Make your own sauces and countless other prepared foods. Spy at the store to copy ingredients. Take for example a steak sauce you will really miss. Write down the top ingredients in order until you reach obviously irrelevant fillers down below or anything that you don’t use at home. Write “sugar” for all the corn syrups and things ending in –ose like dextrose. When you prepare, add the top ingredient on the label and plan on it being half of the total sauce. Maybe. Add a lesser amount of the second. How much is your guess. You can look at several recipes online to see if they match what you wrote down because if they do it helps with quantities. Skip and substitute as necessary. You might some ideas on "Cooking for Engineers" in the substitution list- one of the first articles. But be sure and write down the measurements of ingredients you use every time you are experimenting as you go. You never know until you taste it when you did it right so keep writing and adjusting. Then copy it for your recipe box (or bucket with index cards and scraps of paper in our case). What is amazing is how close you get on your first try and how much better yours will be when you’ve got it perfect than the store’s, not to mention cheaper.
- Try using Google Conversions and Google Calculator. If you type “1 cup in tbsp” in the search bar, you’ll get the answer. Start with what you have and then say “in <unit you want>” 3 quarts in cups, 3 cups in quarts, 2 liters in gallons. It also works with time, days, lengths, currency, temperature… you name it. If you’re trying to double batches etc., use the Calculator that also just works in the search bar. If you type 1+5, you’ll see 6 along with a link for more ways to use it. I did my most insane physics class multi-step calculations in Google by mastering the art of parentheses and copying and pasting answers into new equations. It is very handy for any level of math, and doubles as a nerd toy. Tell the nerd in your life.
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