Multiple people have now sent me this article from Slate about how recipe writers lie to us about how long it takes to caramelize onions. And thank god, because this is a topic near and dear to my heart.
Caramelizing onions takes a long time. It takes more than 20 minutes. They are delicious, and it is worth it, but it takes a while.
And I think being accurate about how long it takes to make a recipe matters. If I want dinner in half an hour, it’s demoralizing to still be cooking an hour later. Worse, if you’re new to cooking, it can feel like you’ve done something wrong, or that somehow you’re bad at cooking. That’s terrible.
I understand recipe cooking times the way I understand the EPA mileage numbers for cars: every once in a while, if I’m going exactly the right speed, and it’s warmish but the windows are up and the AC is off, and I’ve got a bit of a tailwind and no incline, sometimes I’ll hit the EPA mileage number. It doesn’t happen very often. And I am no more a recipe tester than I am an EPA vehicle tester.
(Thanks, emer and Katie)