Cooking Like Dear Old Dad
My Dad used to live with us when we were still up in New York and he was - and still is - a hell of a cook. The downside to having a hell of a cook live with you is that they're always messing with whatever you're cooking and it's really freakin' annoying.
For instance, anytime I would be cooking mashed potatoes or carrots or anything boiled on the stove, he would wait until the pot was steaming, shut off the burner, slap on a lid and proclaim "It ain't gonna get any hotter!".
Being the good daughter that I am, I of course asked Dear Father what he meant so that I could learn from his great wisdom and experience. NOT! I rolled my eyes, muttered something under my breath about 'old coots' and turned the heat back on so the food would cook. Dammit.
It wasn't until last week when I was chefing up dinner with the kids that it actually hit me. Daphne asked me "What Dat?" (the relentless 2 year old inquiry), indicating the steam rising from the pot. I explained to her that water is a liquid, at least until it reaches 212 degrees, at which point it can't get any hotter as a liquid so it turns into a steam. You know, cuz two year olds are all about physics and stuff.
And it was during this little lesson that the lightbulb went off. The old coot was right. It wasn't gonna get any hotter. Thirty-five years it took me to get that one, folks. Sorry 'bout that, Dad. ;-)
So now, whenever cooking potatoes, carrots, sweet corn or pasta, I will remember my Dad's great wisdom and shut off the burner when the water reaches its maximum heat level. The food will continue to cook and I'll save some watts in the process.
At an average of 800 watts per burner, and about 10 minutes of wasted heat per item, I'll be saving .1333 kWh per boiled item. We eat pasta weekly and average two boiled veggies during that time, for a total of three boiled menu items per week. Assuming each item takes the same amount of time to cook (which they don't, but hey, cut me some slack, would ya?), I'll be saving 1.73 kWh per month or 20.77 kWh per year. It's not a huge savings, but every little bit adds up.
Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5
No extra work involved here, other than remembering to shut off the burner when I see the steam. And, of course, having to admit to my Dad that he was right.