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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's not as easy as it looks- Doing it for the first time.

My wife had to work late last night. She asked me to make dinner since she was getting home so late. She asked me to throw a steak on the grille. You'd think that was easy, but I've devolved in my cooking abilities since I met my wife, but last night, instead of opening a can of beans for the side dish, I decided to be daring and saw this box of risotto staring at me on the shelf.

I had two choices, stovetop instructions or microwave instructions. I know what you CAD users are thinking…take the easy way out. Who cares that it doesn't taste as good, but nuke it. Well, I decided that it shouldn't be that hard to follow a set of instructions on the side of the box. Boy, was I wrong. I'm going to compare my experience to learning BIM.

Sure you can read a book on how to use Revit, but does that prepare you for all of the nuances that you're up against? Here's what I'm talking about.

Stovetop Instructions.
Sauté rice with 1/2 tbsp olive oil* in a 2-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Add 2 1/2 cups of water and contents of seasoning pouch, stirring well to blend seasonings.
Heat to boil.
Reduce heat to simmer.
Do not cover.
Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, tomato and rosemary, if desired.
Serve piping hot.

So, there's the instructions. Seems easy enough right? Wrong. What's up with the nomenclature? I've never made risotto before. I was scared, especially after watching too many episodes of Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef, and worrying how my wife would call me a donkey if I screwed up those simple instructions. It wasn't like I was even making risotto from scratch either. All I had to do was open a box, dump in two packets of stuff, add some water, olive oil and stir. How hard could that be?

What does Sauté mean? We have a gas stove. it shows two thing, low and high. WTF? Where was the dial supposed to be? How long was I supposed to sauté the rice? I needed clearer instructions and that was just line one! I just cranked up the heat, waited 10 minutes for the rice to sizzle, hoped it was enough and dumped in the water.

Heavy saucepan? What's a saucepan and 2 QTs at that? How the hell am I supposed to know what that means? I don't make sauce. Only from my memory of watching my wife use a pot, and looking at the bottom of several, did I figure out what that meant and finally figured that out.

Medium heat? Again, there's no indicator on the stove knob. I was screwed by the instructions for sure.

Heat to boil? But I already turned on the heat. Am I supposed to raise the heat now? To what? Medium high? High? Why can't you just say what you mean stupid box! I hate you. I at least got it to boil.

Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer? Really? From boil? What the heck does simmer mean? is that medium? Is it low? My wife is going to be home any minute and I was only 7 minutes into the risotto. Do I need to google every darned word on the instructions? This was crazy.

Do not cover. Finally something I could understand. Thanks for being clear on that one Mr. Lousy Vague Instruction Writer.

OK, I could cook something for 20 minutes. Sure, as soon as I could figure out how to use the darned digital timer on the oven. Another cryptic mystery.

Stir occasionally? What does occasionally mean in regards to stirring? Is that once every 30 seconds, once a minute, once every 2 minutes? WTF. Why can't you be clear about something like this? Why do you assume I've done this before? I hate you stupid instructions side of box.

If desired? I don't know if I desire rosemary and tomato. Tell me what to do. Don't leave this up to my desires? My desire is to go to Paris, not sprinkle cheese on my prepackaged rice product.

Serve piping hot. Really? Piping? What the heck does that mean? I need a dictionary again. Where's the QR code for the Youtube video. Yeah, that's the ticket. Every prepackaged recipe should have a Youtube video so someone like me who can very easily follow instructions (well, that's not really true if you ask my wife), should be able to do exactly what it says on the box.

Anyway. after my ordeal of stirring and praying for this to work, my wife comes home, asks me why I decided to make risotto, and says she'll finish the rest. She stirred the pot once, turned off the heat, waited 4 minutes and served it. I could have done that. After all of my hard work, how dare she come in and take credit for my work. Those darned project managers!

Well, the risotto tasted fine. Restaurant quality? No idea. Edible? Certainly. Would I do it again? Of course! Once you lose your risotto making virginity, doing it over and over again gets easier every time and more satisfying. At this point, you're either hungry or horny, but you have to go to work, so focus!

So, what seems simple would have been much easier had I been properly trained and taught by an expert how to implement the dinner making process.

Yes, it is just like Revit, Navisworks, any other program and BIM. If you haven't ever done it before, you're going to be scared! Call a professional. Don't try this at home. It's never as easy as it looks, even if you have the instructions right in front of you.

Simmer Bimmer!

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Erik December 14, 2011 at 2:35 PM  

Awesome Post.
It really is just like that.

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