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‘See and start’ not the best way to go

July 15, 2012
By ANITA HANABURGH , For The Leader Herald

I have this tendency to do everything all at once. When working in the kitchen, sometimes I am in so deep that I can't see the rim of the sink. I start so many jobs that I don't know where I'm at ...

When getting ready for a dinner or company, I have this tendency to begin a task the minute I think of it, no matter how many tasks I have going on already. I tend to "see and start" no matter where I am in the overall process.

When I have a lot to do, I start a task the minute it comes into my mind. I think, "Oh, I've got to mash the avocado," then I think, "I've got to get out the water glasses," then I think, "I'd better chop the nuts for the brownies."

"Do I have enough crackers??Better cut up the cheese. Better start the bread; it needs to rise. I haven't peeled the potatoes yet."

The second I think of it, I get it, cook it, chop it, set it, whip it, stir it and start it going. The next thing you know, I'm in a mess.

I know you are saying, "but isn't it efficient to multi-task?"

Oh, busboy, I guess it depends ... I was much better at multi-tasking when I had a better brain.

This tendency that I speak of is not a good thing. I will give an example. I had company coming to a picnic for the Fourth. Within an hour of waking up, I was, as a restaurateur would say, "in the weeds." No, I was in the jungle, unable to juggle the too many tasks I started at the same time.

At the point I decided to write this article, I was mad at myself for the mess I was in. I had rice stuck all over my hands because I was breaking up the rice for the cold rice salad. Next to me was a board with the scallions I had started chopping earlier. The beans were draining in the sink.

The chicken was parboiling before barbecue. The barbecue was on. The barbecue sauce was reducing on the stove. The onions for the sauce were still sauteeing. The electric mixers were whipping the cream for the flag cake. (I had to throw it out.)

The corn was on the counter, where I had started peeling a few ears. The foil to wrap it in was on the floor. The microwave was beeping, telling me the butter for the unpeeled corn was ready. The cream cheese was softening in the bowl for the dip. I had started cutting up the olives for the dip when I remembered the rice. You get the idea.

Everything had its cover off.

The floor was sticky from the watermelon I also was cutting.

The dishwasher was full of last night's dishes.

The beds were unmade. I was not dressed or showered.

I was a mess. And I know better. I know to:?

Oh Busboy, I always have plenty of time. I just "see and start" too much. And so what if I am still prepping when the guests arrive, as long as I look calm, organized and beautiful?

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