I don’t cook often. For one thing, I don’t plan ahead of time to be hungry. I go about my normal life with no thought about my next meal. When the mood to eat strikes, I don’t want to have to plan something — I want to eat.
But there may be other reasons.
I have a simple formula that I use when deciding whether or not to go somewhere. I compute the amount of time it will take to get there and the amount of time it will take to get home. If those two numbers, added together, are greater than amount of time I will actually spend at the destination, I generally don’t go.
I think, subconsciously, I might have been using a similar formula when deciding what to make for lunch. If the time it takes to prepare a meal is longer than the time it takes to eat the meal, I don’t make it.
And since I generally wolf my food down, this has limited me to a very narrow range of meals. Throw a couple pieces of bread in the toaster, cut a few slices of cheese, grab a bit of ham and maybe a banana, pour myself a Pepsi and by that time the bread has popped up and is ready to be buttered. Three minutes and I’m ready to eat. Take a bite of cheese, a bite of ham and a bite of toast and, really, it tastes an awful lot like a sandwich. Six minutes and I’m done — a perfect ratio.
One recent Saturday morning, I saw my wife cooking an omelet for herself. It looked, and smelled, good and I got a hankering for one of my own. But there were two problems: 1) an omelet takes a powerful lot of preparation, and 2) I’ve never made one. I had a bowl of cereal.
But when lunchtime came around, I still had omelet on my mind. I decided to go for it. I checked the time and began. First I grabbed the frozen mushrooms out of the freezer and warmed a few in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil. I set them on a plate. I then cracked two eggs in a bowl and stirred them up and dumped them in the pan. While the eggs were cooking, I grabbed a slice of cheese and a piece of ham and put them with the mushrooms. Then I popped two pieces of rye bread in the toaster and peeled an orange.
When I thought enough time had gone by for the eggs to cook, I dumped in the mushrooms, cheese and ham and folded everything over. I buttered the toast. I checked the omelet and scraped it off the bottom of the pan and put in on my plate. I noticed it had a decidedly different texture than the one my wife had made — more like a flaky sponge, somehow (which is the third reason I don’t cook often). I checked the time. The meal preparation had taken 14 minutes.
Although it looks rather pathetic (my wife said I probably needed to stir eggs more — but that would mean even more preparation time), it didn’t taste awful.
Oh, and the time? It took me 10 minutes to eat everything on the plate, four minutes less than it took to prepare. This may be an insurmountable problem.