Ever prepare a dish that was good but left you wondering if it was good enough? The issue I'm raising speaks to the relationship between the quality of a dish versus the amount of effort needed to create it. Consider, for example, the classic Italian spaghetti aglio e oglio: noodles dressed with good olive oil, some finely chopped garlic, dried chilli flakes to taste, and then topped with a generous grating of parmigiano or pecorino. This is by no means my favourite pasta, but it is easy and delicious, and can be prepared in minutes. For the minimal effort involved, the payback is huge.
Now take our contribution to the stale bread edition of Is My Blog Burning? hosted by An Obsession with Food, DC Duby's pan-fried bread pudding with orange-braised chicon (endive) and chicory ice cream. Quite a mouthful to say, isn't it? It should be, because making this dish requires no fewer than six distinct preparations, including fruit stock, bread pudding, braised endive, chicory ice cream, and two different caramels. That's a lot of work for a home cook -- work measured in days and hours rather than minutes.