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Photo from Katie Smith on Unsplash

As a fan of efficient cooking, I have developed a few go-to tricks that simplify the whole process.  One big reason a lot of people don’t like to cook at home is the amount of time it takes. Instilling some streamlined methods will remedy that, and make cooking more enjoyable in the meantime. The quicker the prep the sooner the eating can occur, which is always a good thing. 

1. Slicing an avocado

Given the frequency with which I consume these green beauties, I have become quite adept at slicing into them with maximum efficiency. The most important thing is that the avocado is adequately ripe. This will ensure that the knife doesn’t slip while trying the cut it, and allows the pit to pop right out. Most of the time I even just use a butter knife to slice around the middle. Then gently squeeze the half with the pit in it to remove it, then score the flesh (innards? green part?…) into slices while its still in the skin, and finally scoop it all out with a spoon. Voila! 

2. Peeling garlic cloves

Fresh garlic tastes so good but it is equally annoying to remove all that papery mess and have your fingers smelling like garlic for the next two days. Sure they make garlic presses, but then you have to clean all of that gunk out of the contraption, and I feel like that just replaces one problem with another and causes another dirty dish in the process. No thank you. My favorite way to peel a clove and take out a little anger at the same time is to smash it with the flat side of a big knife. Just place the knife over the clove and hit the flat part with the heel of your hand (while avoiding the actual sharp part, obviously) so the papery peel becomes easily separable from the actual garlic. At this point, the garlic is a little smooshed, which makes it easier to chop too! Two birds, one knife. 

3. Baking with cold butter

There is nothing worse than wanting to make cookies or another baked good only to realize that you don’t have a room temperature stick of butter at the ready. And once you’ve decided on baking something, who has the patience to wait HOURS for butter to soften? I, for one, do not. A way to speed up the process is grating cold butter on a cheese grater. It makes a bunch of little tiny pieces that once mixed into the rest of the batter, immediately become warmed up and incorporates beautifully. 

4. Boil water in a shallow pan

This is seriously life-changing. Pasta is one of my favorite meals to make because it cooks so quickly, but waiting for that dang pot to boil seems to take longer than the actual pasta takes to cook. But, increasing the surface area (yay, science) that is exposed to the burner speeds that process way up. Use a wide, flat bottomed pan and fill it with about an inch of water and it will boil even if you watch it. Pure magic, I tell ya. 


Thumbnail image from Katie Smith on Unsplash 

Kelly is a senior at William and Mary studying biology and kinesiology with plans to become a physician. Outside of class she enjoys reading, spending time outside, being active, and preparing and eating food that nourishes both body and soul.
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