November 21, 2005

Bachelor Cooking

Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 2:06 pm

Often derided, bachelor cooking is, and rightly so. Does your diet put you at risk of things people used to get in old stories, things like scurvy, rabbit-starvation or the dreaded vapors? I’m here to help. I have, over the last two years, created and refined a culinary technique which I will now bring to your attention.

Arlene is often away, sometimes for days at a time, and these skills have been created out of the raw, chafing necessity her absence engenders. I am not likely to starve to death, you understand, but away from her civilizing influence my two preferred food-acquisition techniques are:

  1. Sharpening a stick, baying at the moon and loping into the dusk, to prey suddenly on the slow and the weak, or
  2. Ordering pizza.

Which can be expensive and awkward in the long run. My unstoppable new culinary technique saves me from all that, scales up well from bachelor cooking to two-or-more-busy-people cooking with trivial ease, and you don’t have to shank your neighbor’s golden retriever and cook it on a spit. Even better, it requires virtually no forethought; the only thing you really need is a fridge with a freezer, but having a rice cooker helps.

You need a couple of different bottles of marinading-stuff and a box of ziplock bags. Then, meat! I usually go with deboned chicken thighs, because the dark meat is both less expensive and tastier, and porkchops, both cheap and plentiful. But whatever – the point is that you are able to divide it up into double servings with a minimum of agony.

Then, when you get this home you put two small portions of the meat into the ziplock bags, you put some of the marinade over them, and you put them in the fridge. Dry rubs, if you’re willing to take a walk on the wild side, work just as well. The next morning, you put them in the freezer.

That’s it, you’re done. We routinely put together two weeks worth of dinners like this. You can defrost them in a bowl of warm water in half an hour, or just take one out of the freezer and put it in the fridge the morning of. We usually have some quantity of the Vegetable Of The Week just to round the meal out, but that’s all there is to it – blanche the veggies in boiling water, cook the meat in a fry pan or on the barbecue, some rice. The whole thing takes fifteen minutes of actual work, is easy to clean up, and you don’t have to eat fast food or prepackaged crap that tastes like sawdust all the time. I tend to use soy, teriyaki and hot sauces for the marinading, and sometimes throw in some garlic of ginger as well, but there are a hundreds of premade marinating sauces out there.

You can just skip the frills, slice up the meat and throw it on a sandwich too, if you’re so inclined. But I’m only saying that to keep my streak alive.

Some of you might argue that my innovative technique of freezing food in small portions might be obvious, or perhaps that somebody might have employed this technique in the past, but you are deluded and those are all filthy lies. This is entirely my own innovation, and I insist on full credit, possibly royalties, and definitely, definitely respect.


  1. Respect. My bachelor cooking often involves frying up some frozen mandu (gyoza in Nihongo) or boil-a-bag curry over rice. Btw, I have no idea how I lived without a rice cooker before now.

    Comment by Nick Hamilton — November 22, 2005 @ 1:24 am

  2. s/(dark meat) (both less)/\1 is \2/

    Also, baking. Being able to throw together a decent set of biscuits, bread, pastries, brownies, cookies, cake and the like is useful – even more so once one has built up a small set of recipes optimized for some combination of prep time, cooking time, ingredients (tasty, speedy cake without eggs, for example: check) and equipment. The latter is particularly useful. Throwing together a good dessert in ten minutes plus cook time, using two dry-measure cups, a measuring spoon, a fork and a cake pan: priceless. Fifteen minutes once you factor in cleaning time.

    Also, lesson learned: wicked coders are often experimental cooks to some degree, and seem to yield excellent recipes based on the previous criteria rather more likely than one might expect.

    Comment by Gnomon — November 22, 2005 @ 2:19 am

  3. I’ve made the correction. I don’t know about your “wicked coders” argument – I find it a suspect generalization, because while I know a handful of excellent coders who are also excellent cooks, I also know a lot of pretty sharp programmers who can’t make themselves tea without burning something.

    For a more generalized disassembly of that view, see here.

    Comment by Mike Hoye — November 22, 2005 @ 4:52 am

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