58 DISTILLING TO THE FEWEST MOVING PIECES
Braising, as our ﬁrst example, typically involves the following steps: 1. Brown the outside of the meat, then remove. 2. Sauté mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) in the same pan. 3. Return meat to pan. 4. Add enough liquid to cover 1/3–2/3 of the meat. Much like Toyota removed steps to make “lean manufacturing ” a groundbreaking new standard in car production, we can eliminate steps one and two. If we choose our recipes well, we’ll still end up with delicious results. This takes us from 7–10 discrete tasks (cutting prep, browning, moving ingredients between pans, etc.) to 1–4 tasks and reduces all of our “tripping points”: time, cleaning, and overall beginner stress. This simpliﬁcation should at least double our compliance rate: the percentage of people who make this dish more than once. ————— — — — Whenever I read a “simple” recipe, my ﬁrst question is: can I use half the ingredients and half the steps and get something some people will not just love, but perhaps even prefer? Sure. For one thing, you can a ord better ingredients if you’re buying fewer of them. Reduction, much like with sauces, can concentrate ﬂavor. In comic book penciling, there’s an expression, “When in doubt, black it out.” Here, the same applies: when confused and overwhelmed, remove ingredients or steps. The best method for you is the method you’ll use more than once. The best method is the one you use many times because it’s easy, the same method you’d recommend to friends to help them reduce stress. You don’t need more recipes. You need to learn to cook without them.
9/25/12 10:30 AM
THE 100 MOST COMMON WORDS IN WRITTEN ENGLISH‡
Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) wrote The Cat in the Hat using only 236 di erent words. Later, to win a bet with his editor, he wrote Green Eggs and Ham using just 50 words. What can you do...