It’s the Monday after daylight saving time. If you’re anything like me (and you’re in the parts of the US that observe this strange bi-annual clock turning routine), this means you had a little trouble dragging yourself out of bed for work this morning, but you’re also absolutely ecstatic about the sun hanging out for an extra hour in the evening. It also means you might have been a little frustrated with the “loss” of an hour on your weekend (don’t worry, we’ll get it back in Autumn!) yesterday. Am I unduly projecting my feelings about daylight saving onto you? Perhaps. But as you can tell, time is on my mind. This applies to the kitchen as well.
I’m on a lifelong quest to cook as efficiently as possible. That said, I’ve never been one for gimmicky tools with a single use and outlandish claims about the hours they’ll shave off time spent in the kitchen (or your money back!). I don't even own a garlic press. And while this is a newsletter all about kitchen hacks, if you take a look back at the archives, you’ll find that most of the tips I share fall into the cook better category, rather than the faster one. In my heart of hearts, when it comes to gaining speed in the kitchen I think good ol’ practice is your best bet. However, if I had to name one small thing I’ve done that’s created a major efficiency in my cooking, it’s this: on my very first day of culinary school, I learned to…
Minimize trips to the trash with a scrap sidecar.
Keeping some sort of scrap receptacle within arms reach on the counter means fewer trips to the trash. And trips to the trash, even if it’s nearby, take up time and disrupt your cooking flow. This tip may seem simple, but every person I know who cooks professionally (including the chefs I met during my culinary externship in a restaurant) uses a scrap sidecar, so if you’re not using one yet, get on this!
Get ready to cook as you normally would, but clear a space on your counter for a medium sized bowl near the upper left or right hand of your cutting board.
Place scraps in the bowl as you create them. Empty them into the trash (or compost, ideally) whenever it fills up or at the end of your cooking session—whichever happens first.
This tip is so straightforward it barely needs a how-to. But I often find that minor, doable adjustments to my own cooking strategy add up, leading to measurable improvement over time. If you haven’t already implemented a scrap sidecar into your own repetoire, consider this my official endorsement of the practice. And if you give it a try, give me a shout and let me know how it’s going for you. Tag me in your sidecar photos/stories on Instagram, or respond to this email to let me know how it’s going for ya.
With love and a tip of my chef’s hat,