I have a simple rule of cooking: two hours.
That means than any kind of stew or mixed thing dish requires two hours, at least, to steep, percolate, combine, layer, mingle or, well, stew.
That's it, isn't it? Stewing.
You don't stew for a few minutes, you stew for hours, days, months, years or until you die! Stewing takes time and so does so many dishes we all cook.
Sure, there are short order cooks and some things can be done on short, quick notice. Chicken fried steaks do not need to be stewed. Fry them, serve them. Simple.
Some chicken and fish do not need to be stewed, fried or cooked at all. Fry that chicken! Serve that sushi. No foul.
Texas chili? Well, that's a different animal. It needs time or as they say in Texas, Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime. At least two hours and if you let it sit overnight then reheat, then prepare for the Second Coming because you're going to come for a second time. (Courtesy of DoubleEntendre.com)
Now, my rule of cooking is Don't Peek. It's a simple rule. I put stuff in a pot and you don't peek at it. I don't peek at it, rather, I remove the lid with respect to slide in another layer of seasoning. But you, dear reader, don't touch my pot. Got it? No pot it.
So, imagine my amazement when someone who should know better asked to see what was in the pot. The conversation went like this:
What's in the pot?
Dinner. Don't look. You'll ruin it.
Seriously, I'll "ruin" dinner by looking at it?
Yes. Do you remember your freshman physics at all? Think back to the Schrödinger's Cat thought experiment? The cat is in a box with a 50-50 chance of being killed, but you can't see in the box. The cat is both alive and dead until you open the box. Then you either see a purring, happy cat or a corpse and at that time you collapse the probability of 50-50 to 1. By the same reasoning, if you look at dinner it has a chance of being ruined. Don't look.
I'm going to look. Oh, it's meat and gravy! My favorite! Pour me a glass of red and I'll retire to the study until dinner is ready.
I poured a glass of Cline Zinfindel 2002 and resigned myself to my doom.
Opened the lid, she did. I'll need an Owl Burger with onion rings and a tall one to recover from this.
Later I called dinner and served up. The meat and gravy was perfect, nicely seasoned and in a delightful mushroom and onion sauce, and the sprout were perfectly cooked as was the rice. In all respects a gourmet meal cooked and presented to perfection.
After the expected ooooh's and aaaaaah's on presentation I awaited judgement on the main course which was, of course, perfect.
There was a forkful, a taste, a quizzical look and finally a pronouncement: I know your meat and gravy and I like your meat and gravy but I have to say this meat and gravy is lacking something. Perhaps time?
Slowly, I turned, step by step, inch by inch ...