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Ross: How to be helpful in the kitchen over the holidays

At some point between now and New Year’s you will be asked by the “Person In Charge” to help in the kitchen. Here are some things I‘ve learned over many years of helping out.

You must resist the temptation to innovate. When someone asks you to help, they usually assume you do everything the same way they would do it. So you need to rein yourself in.

For example, when I was asked to crumble the chocolate wafers for the grasshopper pie, my instinct was to do it as quickly as possible, by placing the wafers in a large baggie between two sturdy pieces of wood and backing over it with the car.

I now realize that unless you can get the wafers to the garage without the Person In Charge noticing, it is best to use the rolling pin method.

Another situation is when the Person in Charge asks you to suggest a new recipe, and even though you own hundreds of published cook books with recipes that have been vetted and tested by professionals, you instead get a recipe online from someone-you-never-heard-of.com.

Pretty soon you’re Googling “How to stop runny pie filling leaking through spring pan.”

By the way I have also been asked by the Person In Charge to carve a turkey only to discover there is a right way which everybody is supposed to already know! Which I thought I did, based on someone-you-never-heard-of.com.

Anyway, that’s why we had lasagna for Thanksgiving. So, good luck in the kitchen, and hey – I’m here to help whenever.

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