A Lesson in Cooking

by Meeta Wolff

This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.

Focus On One Course or One Dish

This is my “magic wand” for each event I have planned, am planning and will plan in the future! Depending on the type of dinner you are having, direct your focus to one course or one dish. If you are having a more informal, buffet-style meal, pick one main dish to feature. If your event is a more formal sit-down style dinner then focus on one course.

When planning out my dinners, I normally divide a piece of paper in four sections:
  • Appetizers
  • Entrées
  • Sides
  • Desserts
Generally, we all have a rough idea of one or two things we would like to make. It might be that turkey roulade you found on What’s For Lunch, Honey?, or that dessert you saw in your favorite magazine...my point here is to decide which course is getting your attention. Once you have decided on the course or the dish, you will notice the rest just comes together quite easily. This is not a wise-ass comment from me but something you are already doing instinctively but might not have noticed it.

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Focus On One Course or One Dish

This is my “magic wand” for each event I have planned, am planning and will plan in the future! Depending on the type of dinner you are having, direct your focus to one course or one dish. If you are having a more informal, buffet-style meal, pick one main dish to feature. If your event is a more formal sit-down style dinner then focus on one course.

When planning out my dinners, I normally divide a piece of paper in four sections:
  • Appetizers
  • Entrées
  • Sides
  • Desserts
Generally, we all have a rough idea of one or two things we would like to make. It might be that turkey roulade you found on What’s For Lunch, Honey?, or that dessert you saw in your favorite magazine...my point here is to decide which course is getting your attention. Once you have decided on the course or the dish, you will notice the rest just comes together quite easily. This is not a wise-ass comment from me but something you are already doing instinctively but might not have noticed it.

For example: You have a dessert you really want to make. So you place this as your first item in the dessert section. This is now your main focus. Now you simply select a few other dishes or courses on the basis of flavor combination. You place two ideas for a main course on the Entrée section, then you go back to the dessert to check how these dishes will complement your dessert.

In order to construct your menu, you must think carefully through your needs to find what you’re looking for in your meal. Are you looking for contrasts in flavors and textures? Do you want a harmony of similar herbs/spices all throughout your meal? You will soon realize that by answering a few simple questions your decision will quickly fall on one of the selected entrée dishes. Once you have that, you work in the same way to tackle the next section in your menu.
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