Tasks you like to do the hard way

In this era of unceasing haste, hacks, streamlining, etc. which kitchen activities do you like to do the hard way, the old way, the slow way?

For me I like to hand wash pots, pans, knives, and crystal. I knead bread doughs by hand and mix other doughs with spoons and such. I beat egg whites with a hand whisk. I make roux, even dark roux for gumbo, on the stove. I make mayonnaise with a bowl and fork. I do not even own a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, or a sous vide circulator. My double boiler and whisk crank out Hollandaise, Bernaise, etc. Cheese is shredded in a box grater or grated with a…grater, not run through a food processor. Likewise, a knife, not an FP, prepares mirepoix and the like. Slicing is done by hand, but I love a mandoline for large quantities or perfect evenness. I make espresso with an ancient lever machine. The microwave is usually still. The mortar and pestle are in frequent use, including making aioli.

Of course I am retired. If I have dinner guests, I ply them with liquor, which I could not do if they were waiting impatiently on the other side of the door in a restaurant.


When making chutney, I prefer to finely chop things with a knife, rather than use the food processor.


When ordering delivery, I like to use a rotary phone.


I used to be like you until I took a massive health hit and could no longer do that stuff. I do still mix egg using a wooden spoon when I make choux paste, but I haven’t made any in years.

I still wash crystal by hand, and once almost went ballistic when a dumbass (can I say that here?) in-law who insisted on helping wash the dishes put a Dutch oven on champagne glasses that were soaking in the sink :rage: Fortunately I don’t have a short fuse!


I almost always beat egg whites and whipped cream by hand. I’m not sure why. Mu mixer it right there but it just feels easier. Maybe I just like the sound. I am going to go back to making Hollandaise and Bearnaise by hand. I have tried other ways (vitamix, stick blender) and it comes out much better when done by hand. I have messed it up more times using than not using other methods and when I do succeed, it still is not as good. It feels flat. Maybe it is because I’m not good at it but i’m going back to by hand.

I don’t like the food processor for most chopping tasks. Maybe it is because I have never learned to use it properly. It is just too easy and fast to grab my knife.

I guess I would argue that I am doing these things the easy way. At least for me.


Modernist. When I want delivery, I crank up my telephone and ask Ethel the Operator to connect me to The Doordash. After asking her for the latest gossip, of course.


I like squeezing citrus on a glass squeezer thingie even if i need a lot of juice. Recently I made lemonade for a party and it was a LOT of juicing but I loved it.


I like doing knifework of almost any kind. I kind of zen out doing it, letting muscle memory take over most cutting tasks. Every now and then it bites me, like when I realize I’ve diced an onion instead of slicing it.

I like breaking down large cuts or primals into useable cuts, particularly when there’s a lot of money to be saved. One of my favorites is to cut spareribs into St. Louis ribs. Not only are spares typically about half the price per pound of St. Louis in my area, but I use the scraps for salt and pepper spareribs or black bean spareribs or sweet and sour spare ribs or a meaty soup…the list goes on. I also like to break down whole chickens by hand, too. I used to be able to bone 30 chickens in 30 minutes, and while it takes me a bit longer these days, it’s still satisfying by hand vs buying a package of parts.

There’s one thing I now use a gadget to do, though, and that’s mincing ginger. I have a few recipes that call for half a cup or more of minced ginger, and I used to do that by hand, but a couple of years ago I picked up a slap chopper at an estate/garage sale, and now I use that solely for ginger. It’s kind of fun and therapeutic to whack away at it for 15-30 seconds to get minced ginger.


Steve here must be a brother from another mother. I slice/chop veggies because I really don’t like cleaning the food processor, plus it never gets the stuff the way I want it anyway. For ginger I use the microplane grater, though. I don’t mind mincing garlic but always hated mincing ginger, but now that I’ve learned how easy the ginger is I’ve started grating the garlic that way, too.

I haven’t had sirloin, picanha, round or ribeye in years that I hadn’t cut from the subprimal myself. Never saw the sense in people buying STL-style ribs, either - the flaps you cut off to square the spare are the cook’s treat, as far as I’m concerned.

I could never break down 1 chicken per minute, though. Takes me more like 10 minutes but I guess I’m fussy about it. Sure is a lot cheaper than buying parts. I usually only buy parts when I’m doing a lot of one thing, like hot wings or a bunch of bbq leg-thigh quarters, but recently went off the reservation and got some bone-in breasts to go with the leg-thighs because I decided on my menu way to late to thaw a whole one.


I will happily send my pots and pans somewhere for handwashing! I often wash them by hand because it seems more efficient than trying to get them in a dishwasher. And the Breville oven instructions say wash the parts by hand. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I make many of the same choices as previously posted, but not because it’s the harder way. Usually it’s because I don’t want to pull out and have to clean an appliance or mandolin when I could just use a knife and cutting board, which are almost always out anyway. Same with a whisk and a bowl, vs a mixer or something. Doing it by hand often seems more successful for me with small quantities.

I DO use a stick blender, and buy animal parts unless there is a special I can’t resist, because usually there are just two of us, and one of us is pretty picky.


I probably takes me more like 2-5 minutes to break down a chicken but I have never timed it. I’m not sure why I don’t buy cut up. Probably because I tend to be frugal but also because it allows me to be flexible. I never know when I might decide to roast it whole or spatchcock.


I have a microplane that I never use. I thought I’d use it for ginger and garlic, but it turns out I hate washing it! As for the chicken, if you had to bone 30-40 chickens a day, you’d get pretty good at it. Interestingly, it takes me more time to break down a chicken into bone-in pieces than boneless! The only drawback to buying whole chickens is they don’t store too efficiently in the freezer when you stock up on them on sale. It’s like stuffing your freezer with bowling balls.


I also drive to the restaurant and back, and then wait at home for the delivery person.

So much more satisfying.


•Chiles Rellenos—broil, sweat, peel, seed, stuff all by hand. Hand whip egg whites, etc. for the batter
•Hollandaise Sauce—in the top of the double boiler whisking it all by hand
•Dungeness Crab—buy whole, crack it up at home
•Operating a hand can opener, sharpening my own knives, canning
•I prepare chopped garlic, ginger, shallots, onions ahead and freeze
•Cut up my own fruit and vegetables (instead of supermarket prepared)
•Pour over coffee
•Gravy made in the roasting pan at Thanksgiving, hand mashed/whipped potatoes, too
•Outside the kitchen: tune up my own bicycle and car, changing out studded tires, shoveling the driveway and decks of snow (sometimes it takes like 9 hours, but then I can skip the gym for a day or two), gardening, eradicating ground squirrels and army worms, line or drying rack for laundry
•Repeating others: handwashing delicate dinner and silverware and clothing, cutting up larger cuts of meat and other items, portioning for future use


You’d have loved the phone number I grew up with- 298-8086. Took for bloody ever to phone home


I have an old hand-crank egg beater that I use a lot


You are a beast! Let’s please re-connect about Dungeness when in season, and the rellenos. I have been growing my own poblanos, but still have mad respect for the poblanos I can buy.

I used to do air cooled Volkswagens, but not anymore. And please stop me if/when I try to grow hard necked garlic again.


Those are kind of fun. It is probably just as fast/easy with a whisk but easier on the wrist, I imagine.


Pasta is always kneaded by hand, then cut using a stamp or knife. What I do not do any more is roll it out by hand. I much prefer to use the KA attachment. I’m sure that’s a holdover from not having any countertop space for larger projects. Now, it’s a habit.

Chickens are 99% of the time bought whole and butchered how I would like them to be. Whole birds, here, are much more inexpensive than parts and the good thing is you get free soup from the carcass.


If I buy multiple chickens, I break them down before freezing. Except maybe one incase I want to roast whole.

That is interesting. I never do boneless. I’m trying to picture that. I can see how cutting the breast directly off the carcass would be faster. Is that what you mean? Or are you including legs, thighs and wings?

ETA: I watched a youtube video on this. Cool! I see how with some practice I could get fast at that. I don’t normally want deboned but might have to do it like that sometime just for the heck of it.

1 Like