My ex- always said I could “burn water.” He was acutely correct: I can and have burnt water, or rather the pan, when I forgot that I put the pot on the stove. (Ok, for the record I’ve done this more than one or two times.)
I approach cooking in a very casual way. Too casual, in fact, because it has recently been pointed out to me that I fail to read instructions and/or follow directions. It isn’t intentional. I’m distracted. I am not an accidental housewife. I am not a domestic diva. I am usually chasing around my two preschoolers during the time when magic needs to happen in the kitchen. Not to mention I’m self-employed. The work day doesn’t end at 5pm (or midnight or “whenever-the-hell it is supposed to end” said every mother and/or lawyer ever).
Having navigated my own divorce, as well as the divorces of many (many) other people, I am still trying to soften the burn of my failed marriage. (I’d also like to lessen the smell of burnt food that occurs whenever I pre-heat my oven – if anyone has any tips out there!).
And so, after frantically attempting to bake “homemade” peanut butter cookies for a kids’ party several weeks ago and charring the majority to carbon in an epic baking fail typical of my efforts, I offer this tip from a private, executive chef I know:
Turn the baking sheet after five minutes. Ovens don’t always distribute heat evenly (especially ovens in tiny, rented New York City apartments). You can even bake cookies at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time.
Or do what I do and go to the bakery down the street.