“Fast food”, the kind that one might succumb to after a long day in that too-common, too-busy to think about dinner grind, sounds terrible to me. Aside from the implied calories or lack of quality, it implies that the most important criteria in choosing what to have for dinner is convenience. If you’re like me, you look forward to dinner they way you look forward to a new episode of Happy Endings (before they cancelled it—do not get me started). It’s a thing that helps get me through a long day. Sure, I’m basically equating it to a reward, and will own all that’s messed up about that, but aren’t you with me? You deserve a great meal, particularly after a hard day. But, also, on those “days” that wrap up well into the night, dinner does have to come together fast. But still be so good! You deserve it! But, yeah, fast…
To help with this conundrum, I submit two things.
First, a dose of inspiration via a story of the best-ever after-school “snacks”.
I had a friend in high school who would cook almost daily. His family might have a Filipino stew ready on the stove, and there was definitely always rice sitting warm in the cooker, but he would often whip up something especially for the 2 or 3 of us who’d hang around after school in his usually parent-free house. Shift work meant they’d cook during the day, then be out for the evening. Now, he could really cook, but he was still a kid and he wasn’t going to stand for long at the stove, or wash fussy herbs, etc. and he never did. He was in and out of the kitchen before we finished a glass of apple punch (the best of all concentrated juices) and before we got around to sneaking a drink of something stronger. He’d add grated cheese to scrambled eggs on toast some days, thread beef sprinkled with salt and sugar onto skewers other days before throwing them onto a little electric grill, or, and this was my favourite, he’d let thin slices of pork sit in soy sauce while the oil heated up, then dredge them in flour and fry them in minutes. Ever since then, I’ve done the same to pork chops, and the recipe is in this issue.
Which brings me to the second thing I submit to you, some literal solutions: recipes. Ones that come together quickly as the title of this issue implies, but also easily, because I think part of the hesitation to cook when you’re busy is that you don’t want to think any more on those days. I hope you’ll feel especially free to experiment with these and make substitutions, even omissions as you go. Which should encourage you to actually make them, even when you are pressed for time and feeling sluggish. Here’s to the best after-work “snacks” you can muster up for your well-deserving self.