As the youngest of five, my mother was always busy cooking for my four older brothers and I. My poor parents had four teenagers for over a decade. We (the locust, as my father lovingly refers to us) ate them out of house and home.
During this locust swarming phase, I learned a lot about how to get around in the kitchen. We (almost) never went out to eat, so breakfast, lunch and dinner was hand-crafted to pinch pennies. My mother was an artist when it came to disguising left-overs as a new meal all together. Left-over pot roast from Monday? We're having Shepherd's Pie on Tuesday. Left-over bacon from breakfast? BLT's for lunch. I never saw her use a recipe and rarely saw her use measurements, and this was how I was taught to cook.
Don't misconstrue this as a laissez faire approach to cooking, because it's more like the opposite. I don't measure. I don't use recipes. But I am border-line OCD about my food when cooking.
My poor boyfriend will often come into the kitchen as an effort to be apart of something I love so much, to cook. But unfortunately, cooking isn't a group sport in my house. God forbid he agree to sear the meat and not obtain a deep, rich and caramelized exterior. Or what if I tell him he can dice the onion, and he MINCES it instead?
I have no recipes, but I have expectations. I use what we call in OA, ‘definitions of done', and I love this phrase.
As I said earlier, my expectation or definition of done when searing meat would be that the exterior of the meat has caramelized and formed a dark (not burnt) crust on the meat, full of flavor.
Or when I'm making a sauce and I allow it to bubble and thicken, I know it's done when it has the viscosity to cover the back of the spoon.
Definitions of Done are like checkpoints to determine if things are done (and done right).
Implementing these within your processes is such a game changer! You'll thank us later!
For more tips on successful streamlining, check us out at www.operationsagency.com/training .