Dry Ingredients for “Chop”

“Less Work For Mother”

I’ve always liked that phrase. The first time I ever saw it used tongue-in-cheek was by the writer and now director and producer, Nora Ephron. She wrote a very witty book back in the 70’s titled Crazy Salad.

Ephron called her book Crazy Salad, I think because it was a series of essays that had absolutely no relation to each other whatsoever. She did one essay on the star of the movie, Deep Throat, the infamous Linda Lovelace and other various subjects. But my favorite essay she wrote was about the Pillsbury Bake-Off, titled, Baking Off.

I don’t have the book any more but I can remember this essay very well. Ephron went to the Pillsbury Bake-Off and talked about how strange it was to be there as a reporter witnessing this popular yet strange competition. Anyway, Ephron is a Foodie, which is why the food shots in her movie, “Julie and Julia” were so maddeningly beautiful. But when she went to the bake-off, it was all cake mixes, frosting, sugar and refrigerated dough. I remember the line where she was smelling all of the sugar and cinnamon and dough baking. She wrote something like, “After about three hours in there all I could think about was a steak.”

But she seemed a bit disgusted by the use of “instant” this and “powdered” that. To paraphrase, and this is reaching back in my memory three decades, “Why chop fresh onions when instant minced onions will do?

This was ‘Less work for Mother time.””

There is a time and place for this. I agree that in the day-to-day, “Less Work for Mother” is the way to go. But in many ways I refuse to bend to the “instant” way of life. I like soup but I can barely tolerate the canned variety. So I make my own in about a half an hour. It’s usually delicious and lasts me a few days carrying it to work in a tiffin. After 24 years, I can’t stand the food on the plane any more. Until South Florida comes up with some better food vendors in the airports that serve up something other than barbecue or rice and beans, I’m stuck with hauling my own grub or swinging by a place to buy lunch on my way to work.

A bean, vegetable and feta cheese salad in a tiffin for work

Think about it: How long does it really take to make a batch of Chop or frozen bean mix relative to the amount of time it would take you to make fresh every day? The issue is, you probably can’t make it fresh every day. And that’s a big issue.

Doing a “Chop” Demo at the Midwest Bird Expo 2011

Before I thought up the  “Chop Concept,” I thought some of those “cook and serve” products were going to end my daily “slave to the chopping board issue.” And they were great! Problem was, Parker wouldn’t eat them, which I suppose defeats the purpose. So I had to come up with another time-saving solution that served the same purpose as the “Cook and Serve” variety. And that’t how I came up with “Chop.”

The “Chopettes”

I’m really big on the “Less Work for Mother” concept. But not if it compromises my birds.