When I was in Boy Scouts, we did a lot of camping. Each patrol of 7-10 boys was responsible for preparing thier own food for the duration of the trip. The food we made was pretty bad–of course it was– we were 10 years old, tired and just didn’t care. Cooking a potato with a carrot and ground beef wrapped in tin foil and thrown in the coals sounds just as appetizing as it was.
Even more unappetizing to us was planning the menu and shopping for ingredients before the trip. It was always a painful exercise, and we always forgot a few crucial ingredients, which always proved interesting when in the woods. We never got better at planning or shopping, mostly because we were boys, and none of us were particularly interested in this chore.
Little did I know that I was introduced to a simple skill that I would use almost daily as a home chef. Careful planning of a meal, from the ingredients needed to jotting down a quick timeline of what needs to be prepared and when will insure you enjoy the evening when entertaining friends, instead of sweating it in the kitchen (while your guests watch) and serving dinner at 11:30. I’ve been there and done that, although the details are pretty hazy because I’m sure I drank too much.