As much as working as a chef is personally a labour of love for me, I know of so many chefs who are very good at what they do, but they’re not all too passionate about it. Eventually it shows, somewhere, somehow, but for all the love we have for our job there does indeed come a time when you feel a little uninspired or you’re just pressed for time.
Consequently, we turn to our culinary contingencies in order to make sure we produce the quality we’ve become associated with, and there’s just something about not wanting to put something out into the world which constitutes sub-par work. That’s probably why when you’re dining at a fine dining establishment there is no real time-frame as to exactly when the food will be ready – chefs who take pride in their work never want to rush, no matter what.
It’s often when we’re preparing food for ourselves or perhaps even for our families when we might be pressed for time in a manner which has us having to turn to the culinary contingencies, not that we value ourselves or our families less, but just because the situation calls for it in terms of practicality.
I’d personally never present a ready meal as one which I’ve actually prepared myself, not just because I respect the integrity of the original producer of the ready meal, but also because as a self-respecting chef who believes in my abilities I really believe I could do a better job! I’m not being arrogant here – it’s just something you have to have within you if you’re to make it in what is actually quite a demanding industry, contrary to what it may look like to the outsider.
Ready-meals are indeed a culinary contingency though and they come in handy when one is seriously pressed for time. We’ll usually not even serve them exactly as they are though, unless there really is no time at all to even add a little bit of spice or perhaps some condiments.
Frozen foods are perhaps very similar to the ready-made meals, except the difference is usually that they’re packaged individually into different food types. So instead of popping a whole ready-meal into the microwave you would perhaps be preparing a singular food type in this way, such as peas maybe, mashed potato, minced meat, etc.
Either way, frozen foods come in very handy when there isn’t much time to prepare what often still turns out to be a hearty meal.
Gift baskets usually cater to the dessert or snacks which form a traditional part of any dining experience as it should be enjoyed. There are lots of great anniversary gifts in particular which come as gift baskets, perhaps deployed a little differently to their intended purpose of serving as an anniversary gift. Either way, take one of these apart and enjoy the contents as dessert or snacks.
There doesn’t even have to be any pretence about it!