Growing up, my mum cooked meat well done, and then cooked it some more. My husband, on the other hand, will eat his steak even when there’s not enough doubt about its’ ability to get up and walk off the plate.
The way we like our meat is a very individual thing, but the fact is that cooking meat can turn the very best of us into a psycho; a revolving door with a different emotion at each turn.
If you’re like me, these are the stages you pass through:
1. You spend an age on recipe websites. You cull the recipes with ingredients you’ve never heard of. Then you cull the ones that use fahrenheit and ounces. Next comes the ones that reference the level of difficulty as being 4 or 5 stars. The difficulty is that you’re now left with recipes that rely on butter and cream to taste good, or that are so simple they rely on you actually being able to cook to make the meat shine.
2. You go to the butcher and drop names of meats, pretending that you know the bleep a spatchcock is. You settle on the most expensive cut in the shop, because it must be the best….. and as the butcher is explaining his way of cooking to it you, you’re walking out the door, thinking “whatever buddy, I got this!”
3. You call someone on the way home, bragging about how good dinner is going to be saying things like “it’s so lean, and don’t get me started on the marbling.”
4. You start prepping your animal. You herb it, oil it, stuff it, tenderise it – whatever lights your candle. You fight the urge to coat it in every herb and spice, but restrain yourself thinking “no, the recipe knows best.” (I lie, I always add something extra for good measure).
5. You shove it in the oven with a smile. You’ve got hours till your guests arrive, and you honestly contemplate applying for next years Masterchef.
6. You know the meat will take hours, but you defy logic and check it every 10 minutes. You have absolutely no idea what you’re looking for, but just looking makes you feel like you’re cooking.
7. Your paranoia increases. What if, in an unprecedented way, your 3kg lamb roast goes from raw to overcooked in 45 minutes?! You start checking the oven every 5 minutes, all the while still knowing you have no idea what bloody colour that meat is on the inside.
8. You start talking to yourself…..“Just take it out, cut into it and check if it’s cooked”….. “Don’t make a cut in it, people will know you had to check!”….“Have faith in the recipe”…“The recipe doesn’t know my oven”…
9. It’s time to get dressed. You get yourself looking fabulous and then you set the table. You put some music on and pour a wine (ok fine, the wine was opened when cooking started).
10. The guests arrive. They comment on your outfit, how relaxed you looked, how amazing the kitchen smells. They ask if you’ve been cooking all day and you respond “no, don’t be silly, I just whipped a couple of things together last minute!”
11. The oven timer goes off. IT’S TIME. You open the door, grinning from ear to ear as you pull your pride out of the oven to rest. But the next 10 minutes have you questioning the need to do a nervous poo or have a Xanex. You settle for a wine refill.
12. You don your apron and you make the cut. It’s overcooked. You want to cry. You joke by offering takeaway…even though you can’t afford it after the cost of the meat. People say it’s fine, that it looks great. Your partner says “don’t worry there’s gravy that will cover the dryness….“
13. You spend the entire meal apologising for how meat the tastes. You blame the oven. You blame the butcher. You blame the recipe. And then you resolve to cook your guests the best damned vegetarian meal they’ve ever tasted for the next dinner party.
Moral of the story? Take the guessing out of cooking with a food probe. Simply set the desired internal temperature, shove the probe into the meat and walk away. From rare to well done, the food probe has you covered, literally to the enth degree. Many of our ovens come with food probes, including Asko, AEG and Vzug.
Watch this quick 45 second video to find out more about the probe.