Some things just can’t be rushed

My whirlwind weekend in London was over and it was time to get back to reality.  Christina would be visiting Paris next weekend and I longed to stay and go with her, but I‘d just started a new job and was due back at work the following morning.

I get in line to check in and when it’s my turn, the man behind the counter tells me they don’t have a seat for me.  Um . . . . . . . what?  I have a ticket.  I’m here two hours in advance.  “We overbook the flights so whoever checks in first gets the seat.”  I feel my blood pressure start to rise.  First, I am angry with myself.  “You ass!  Why didn’t you think to check in on Christina’s computer earlier in the day?!”   Then, however, my New York roots have me channeling Jerry Seinfeld.   “See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to HOLD the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding.  Anybody can just take them.”

I decide the British Airways guy is not going to get it so I do as I’m told and take a seat to see if there’s a no show and I can actually get on the flight that we reserved and paid for.

Eventually, after giving him the stink eye for twenty minutes or so, he waves me on, only now I have to sprint OJ style toward security.  I get there and OF COURSE, my bag is rejected.  I have to wait on another line and the woman proceeds to take each and every thing out of my bag one by one.  “What is this?”  That, Ma’am is a bra.  “And what is this?!”  She waves a lipstick and a tube of mascara at me accusingly. You’ve uncovered my evil plan:  to bring down the plane with my beauty.   Now, I have to wait while she puts them in a plastic bag and attaches them to a machine to check for explosive residue.  I check my watch.  I am so totally going to miss this flight.  Finally, she decides that my beauty products are safe (and maybe ineffective, as I look like a sweaty, harried mess right about now).

I stuff all my belongings back in the bag and head for the gate.  Shit!  I have to take a train to the gate!  I hate everyone.  I am so going to miss this plane and for no good reason.  Somehow, I make it by the skin of my teeth and collapse into my seat heaving a tremendous sigh of relief – only to find that the man behind me is one of those people who likes to take his shoes off during the flight and then jam his toes into the space between my seat back and seat cushion . . . otherwise known as my ass. I may be able to remedy this.  I DID sprint through the airport like OJ after all.

It’s about 10:30PM when we land and all I want to do is go to bed as I have to work in the morning so, of course, I must wait ½ hour for the shuttle to take me from the gate to the main terminal, move slowly through customs, and then wait another ½ hour for the shuttle to take me to my car in long term parking.

When I finally reach my car, my relief in the knowledge that soon I’ll be home weighs heavily on . . . .  my foot.  Sure enough, the blue lights appear in my rear view and I pull over.  The young man asks me if I know how fast I was going.  Is that a trick question?  Are you really expecting an accurate response?  Then he asks if I’ve been drinking (of course not) and if he can search my car (?!).

As he goes back to his car, I sit there thinking:  A.) There is absolutely no one on this road.  Really? And B.) Do I look like I’m someone who has a dead body in the trunk? Or maybe I’m a middle-aged drug runner?  He returns with a warning for me and makes me promise to drive more slowly from now on.  I resume my drive home utilizing cruise control to keep me honest.

As I continued slowly home on the deserted highway, my mind wandered to all the things you just can’t rush.  A “quickie” with your mate is fun now and again, but it just wouldn’t do as a rule.

Melting chocolate properly is like that.  Slowly and gently is the key here or you’ll end up with a burnt, grainy blob you can do nothing with but toss.  Place the chocolate pieces in a bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir.  It takes a few minutes, but you absolutely can’t screw it up this way.

How about letting dough rise?  You can’t rush that.  It just has to do it’s thing in it’s own good time.

And then there’s simmering.  Have you ever had stew that someone boiled instead of slowly simmered?  The meat becomes so tough your jaw aches from chewing.

Warming milk must be done slowly too.  Or adding eggs to an already warm concoction.  Place a small amount of the warm ingredients in with the beaten eggs stirring constantly and then slowly add that back into the main bowl or pot.  Try to rush it by just dumping the eggs into the hot ingredients and you’ll have curdled eggs.

Scallops.  So many people overcrowd the pan to try and get the sautéing done in one batch instead of two or three.  When you do this, they steam and you don’t get that crispy brown sear you’re looking for.  The same can be said for crab cakes and chicken breasts.  Take your time.

Time is also the difference between caramelized onions and sautéed.  Give the sugars in the onion time to do their thing and you’ll reap the reward.  Slow and steady  – patience is key.

Taking a turkey or roast out of the oven?  Getting that lovely thick steak off the grill?  Give them time to rest and reabsorb their juices.  You won’t be sorry.

Maybe, in a way, the struggle and the waiting only help us to appreciate it that much more when it’s finally ours.  Something truly extraordinary just can’t be rushed – great food, true love and that trip home from the whirlwind weekend; and they’re ALL worth it!



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