COMMENTARY
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Timing Is Everything

In the kitchen, it’s all that and a bag of biscuits

By Hilary Berg

Whether it’s the president responding to a national crisis, a Portlander traveling to catch a glimpse of the total solar eclipse, or me getting my now first-grader to school before the bell rings, timing is everything.

Editor's Note

Hilary Berg has been the editor of OWP since 2006. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s in journalism. She and her husband own a seven-acre vineyard and winery called Roots.

Cooking is no exception. In fact, the clock rules supreme in the kitchen, and if you don’t pay attention, you may have “fail” fodder worthy of a montage on YouTube or Pinterest.

I perform pretty well with one dish to accomplish. Although, even then I’ve been known to have issues. It’s funny how the same cookie recipe causes me such anxiety on when to remove them from the oven, resulting in a different batch every single time.

But that’s small potatoes compared to my inability to balance several dishes simultaneously. I’m not referring to twirling plates; I am talking about timing.

In one of my favorite diversions, “The Great British Baking Show,” I’m always in awe of what the contestants accomplish in such a short amount of time — and with one oven. But it’s not the length of time that impresses most; it’s their sense of when the sponge (cake) should go in the oven so that the biscuits (cookies) have a chance to bake before adding the hundreds and thousands (sprinkles) to the icing (not to be confused with American frosting).

For someone so nervous in the kitchen, I’m not sure why I enjoy this show so much. Maybe it’s their accents. Maybe it’s my love of sugar. Maybe it’s watching people — amateurs — defeat the clock.

On page 32, you will find OWP’s cover story with recipes featuring game fowl from top chefs around the state. I will admit, the recipes are lengthy, but worth a try and definitely a read. In the details, you’ll notice tips and methods you could apply to dishes you already make. If you live in Oregon or in the Seattle area, you can find the unusual meat by searching Nicky USA’s website, www.nickyusa.com, for markets near you.

A look at these dishes, and again, I am in awe. Unlike us, chefs have a kitchen staff to help execute the plates, but their ability to multi-task other orders at the same time is noteworthy. Of course, prep work cuts down on the chaos, but I would still be flustered.

No time to cook? Don’t want to mess up the kitchen you just cleaned? Head to any of the restaurants featured in the story. In the case of Le Pigeon, my husband and I have attempted to eat there many times, but rarely seem able to secure a seat.

Like I said, timing is everything.

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