Recipe Lessons: Occasionally, Frequently, Constantly

I’m here to demystify a few common recipe terms so you can shake the fear of cooking and get in the kitchen more!

Today’s Lesson: Stirring

Recipes often use the terms “occasionally”, “frequently” and “constantly”  in reference to stirring something on the stove.  This is completely subjective and could be a cause for fear of cooking (Mageirocophobia).  I’m here to make it a little more objective for you.

Occasionally:  Let’s say you’ve got a stew on the stove over low heat.  You chop an onion for your next dish; you stir your stew.  You wash your dishes; you stir your stew.  You change into your party dress; you stir your stew. You get the point.  If your stew is going to cook for several hours or even all day, “occasionally” could get stretched out to every 20 minutes to an hour.

Frequently: Pretend that you are sauteing some veggies over medium to medium high heat.  You step away to read your recipe; you stir your veggies.  You wash one or two dishes; you stir your veggies.  You answer the door; you stir your veggies.  You aren’t standing over the pan and stressing over stirring, but you aren’t watching a show either!

Constantly: This term is used most often when you are thickening something or stirring something that contains a lot of milk or cream.  You have to stir things you are thickening constantly so they don’t turn into gloopy goo.  It is the best way to monitor the cooking process so you can turn off the heat the second that it is thick enough based on the recipe.   You have to stir milk based things constantly because they burn easily on the bottom of your pan if they’re not swirling around.


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3 responses to “Recipe Lessons: Occasionally, Frequently, Constantly

  1. Hi there, I read your blog named like every week. Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

  2. So if I’m making knorr cheddar broccoli pasta side does that mean while the milk water and margarine are in the pan, do I also have to stir that while I have the noodles out and with the stovetop on?

    • Anytime I’m cooking something with milk I stir
      it occasionally because milk burns easily on the bottom of the pot. I’ve never made that particular side, but after looking up the instructions, my guess would be to stir it occasionally until it boils and then add the pasta and continue to stir occasionally until it’s done. Hope this helps!

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