1. Don’t cook with too much oil or butter.

It is normal to add oil or butter to your pan. In fact, it is encouraged. Adding oil or butter to a hot pan means that your food will not stick to the pan, making it easier to both remove the food and clean later. It is also often the case that oil is used to sauté a specific dish. Cooking with oil and butter has also been proven to have significant health benefits. However, when you add too much oil, you lose the health properties that you could potentially gain, as it oversaturates your food and could lead to future artery issues. Remember not to go overboard on the oil and to try to find the perfect balance, instead. 

2. Know the different boiling points.

You probably remember learning about boiling points from chemistry class in high school. Knowledge of it is incredibly important for cooking, believe it or not. The boiling point of what you are cooking will affect everything from the time you need to cook to flavor. Consider cooking a poached egg versus frying an egg; poached eggs are made by cracking an egg into a bowl filled with simmering water, set at 195 degrees Fahrenheit. Frying an egg, on the other hand, requires putting some oil on a pan and breaking the egg once the oil is warm, which happens at a temperature of 375 degrees if you are cooking with olive oil. So, if you try poaching an egg at 375 degrees, you will go above the simmering temperature for water and will thus mess up your poached egg. Therefore, it is important to know the boiling point of what you are cooking with. 

3. Don’t rush it!

It’s tough to cook on the Block Plan. Often, you can only put 30 minutes aside to cook your meals between tomorrow’s 15-page essay that you haven’t started, your prior commitments to all the clubs you are signed up for, and catching up with friends. When we only have 30 minutes, we want to cook our meal as quickly as possible, which often translates into cooking at a higher temperature. This is a big mistake. While your food might cook quicker, it will not cook evenly. In fact, the outside will be far more cooked than the inside, often drying up your meal. Further, you end up carbonizing the outside, which could kill many of the health benefits attached to what you are eating. Finally, cooking at a higher temperature places strain on your cookware, meaning you will have to buy new ones sooner. Instead of rushing, take advantage of those 30 minutes. Relax and use cooking as a tool for catharsis. Take the time to smell what you are making and to realize that you are making something new and delicious. Instead of following the rushed Block Plan style of cooking, treat it as an opportunity to take your much-needed break. 

Photo Courtesy of Catalyst Archives

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