Confessions of a Chaotic Cook

Posted by on February 11, 2009 at 11:01 pm :: 3 Comments

Since I am a food scientist and immensely enjoy playing with my food, it should be no great surprise that I love to cook.

One of my recent creations: sauteed salmon served over a bed of leeks and bacon with a creamy white wine sauce

One of my recent creations: sauteed salmon served over a bed of leeks and bacon with a creamy white wine sauce. To die for!

While my years of working with food on a commercial level have transformed me into one of the most sanitary cooks you will ever come across, oddly enough I am also one of the messiest. Somehow, while I’m cooking, my kitchen counters become covered with bits of veggies or sprinklings of flour, pieces of food inevitably find their way to the floor where they wait for a chance to stick to my feet, an enormous number of dishes miraculously pile up in the sink and on the counters, and sticky substances become splattered on the backsplashes and stovetop.

Yummy peach raspberry crisp...and a whole lot of mess.

Yummy peach raspberry crisp...and a whole lot of mess.

How do I manage to leave such a wake of destruction in my kitchen when I work with food daily in a spotless product development lab equipped with sensitive scales and all sorts of scientific gadgetry? I really have no idea; it’s one of life’s great unexplained mysteries.

Yes, there is a countertop under there somewhere.

Yes, there is a counter top under there somewhere.

So, although you will never find me licking my fingers or a spoon while I’m cooking (that truly is disgusting, all of you who do that should really consider being considerate) and disposable gloves are regularly used in my kitchen, the chaos that results from my meal preparations is really quite impressive. Jason has come to accept my cooking disarray and is only surprised if I don’t make a mess. But, despite the temporary disorder that ensues when I cook, somehow my kitchen always survives to see me cook another day.

An Emeril commercial gone awry?

An Emeril commercial gone awry?


  • I have a theory about this phenomenon: To cook well you have to focus on cooking, you can’t spare your attention to clean while you cook. Then when the food is done cooking it’s time to eat and you’ll be enjoying it immensely (assuming it went well!), again no time for cleaning. Afterwards you should be satiated from that delicious meal, so no energy left for cleaning.

    This is probably one of the important differences between chefs who focus on presentation and chefs who focus on taste. I would much rather eat something that tastes good and cope with the dirty kitchen. Speaking of which, the salmon looks delicious and I really love salmon. Mmmm, salmon…

  • Amber says:

    Okay, the first picture looks totally delicious….lost my appetite by the end. I’m totally with you on the not licking spoons and all that. What makes me wonder is that I get sick all the time and Jeremy never does. He’s probably benefiting from all my hand washing, right? Why aren’t I? Or should I start licking the spoon?

  • Rachel says:

    Andrew, your theory is probably correct. I do get really caught up in what I am doing when I cook and I don’t notice that I’m making a huge mess. The mess just appears out of nowhere. I made cupcakes a couple of nights ago and powdered sugar somehow got on every surface of my kitchen.

    Amber, my kitchen did look disgustingly messy after I made that meal. I was in a hurry and I think that intensified my messy tendencies. And, I agree, it is enormously unfair that we non-spoon lickers aren’t actually the ones that benefit from our non-spoon licking habits. People just need to realize that spit isn’t an ingredient that people generally want in their food.

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