The other day a disparaging remark was cast toward the boy as he pulled out two tortillas and a bag of cheese. Firstly because he wasn’t using any of the queso fresco on hand; lastly because he was heading toward the microwave. Ew.
He played it off well: “No — I’m going to make it the right way.” He’s learning. “So.. How do I do that?”
He turned the burner up to 11 like the kids always do, dabbled in a bit of oil and asked how long it took to cook. Five, then two? It was explained that the second side always takes less time, like with a grilled cheese. Is there any explanation for that? The boy tried to explain it using thermodynamics, but that seems moot since it’s the same in a cast iron. (He then claimed it was because the bread and butter had a chance to warm.. Seems dubious.)
He ended up burning the second side, replacing the tortilla and checking the substitute tortilla as it browned. He’s learning.
Was it worth the extra seven minutes to pan cook the quesadilla? Of course it was!! It’s a funny concept — the amount of time spent creating food, especially some of the Indo-Asian stews, not to mention raviolis. We spend all this time in a whir of activity, madly stewing and brewing, then dine, for often a fraction of the time. Sometimes you question if it’s worth it — but then you nail something just right, and clearly it is.
The paneer tikka masala only took about 45 minutes, and only because of the cheese and fresh tomatoes used (couldn’t help it). Time spent eating it was far less:
There was an article, once, on why the French eat better than we do, and part of the pretentious postulate was that the French spend much more time savoring their food. While that is certainly admirable, the proposed hour and a half for breakfast was a laugh — bottle of wine for lunch, too. The Franco or two of acquaintance seem to have comparably similar dining habits, so the article was likely just complete b.s., or d’affaire of the leisurely privileged.
An hour and a half to make the meal, on the other hand — that seems perfectly reasonable, non? The difference that hand crushed methi makes for ones malai, or the time it takes to bake a Chicago style pie (which only builds the anticipation and appreciation of it when it does finally arrive). It’s completely worth it to spend twenty minutes steaming a hot dog instead of exploding one in fifteen seconds in the microwave. That’s why we fry our tortillas crispy when making quesadillas.
That’s why we go out to dinner some nights.