Have you ever stopped to think how many things you do simply because they have become a habit? Webster's Seventh Collegiate Dictionary defines habit as "the prevailing disposition or character of a person's thoughts and feelings: mental makeup; a usual manner of behavior: custom; a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic expose that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance; an acquired mode of behavior; or an addiction. It goes on and on but we get the picture. A habit is something that you do over and over again.
Habits can develop and continue without rhyme or reason sometimes. There are times we do things repeatedly without any understanding of why we do them. Case and point:
A young woman married her high school sweetheart. Fortunately she was an excellent cook and loved to cook. One of her newly acquired husband's favorite evening meal was roast beef, mashed potatoes, brown gravy, snapped green beans, buttered muffins, and pecan pie. As fortune would have it his new bride was a wizard when it came to his favorite foods. She knew how to cook them just to his expectant delight.
As the roast beef was cooking she prepared the potatoes, gravy, and vegetables. She always baked on Tuesdays so she would have a wonderful slice of pecan pie for her husband as a tasty desert. Thus each Thursday dinner came, was immensely enjoyed, and heavily complimented by her adoring husband. This talented and endearing young lady would prepare the roast beef in the same manner each time in order to ensure it met with her husband's approval. Everything was the same each and every Thursday. Her habits and routines gave her great comfort.
However, this Thursday was a little different. Her husband was able to finish his work at the office and come home early in the afternoon. This gave him an opportunity to watch how his loving wife prepared the delicious roast beef that he enjoyed every week. From a safe distance, having been forewarned by his sweet bride to stay out from under foot, he watched the preparation intently.
He watched as she selected the her favorite roasting pan. He watched as she carefully cut off and trimmed all four corners of the roast beef. He wondered about that and wisely kept his question to himself while she finished preparing the rest of the meal. Having his curiosity satisfied he sat down and read the evening paper while the roast slowly cooked. Having gotten home early he didn't realize how long it could take and all of the preparation that went into the delectable feast that his adoring wife prepared every Thursday for him.
So, they got in their adorable Buick Century and after securing Fi Fi their miniature poodle safely in the back, they drove over to her mothers home. Fortunately mom was home that night and was delighted to see have her daughter and son-in law to come calling. After all the greetings and pleasantries were exchanged, mother asked them what was the occasion of their visit.
"Well," her daughter began, "When I was a little girl I watched you cut off the four corners of the roast beef every time you cooked it for us. Now I find that I do the same thing each time I cook one for my husband and myself. He asked me why I cut off each corner just before I cooked the roast beef. And Mother, I don't know why I do that other than I watched you as a little girl do it too. So, why did you cut off the four corners of your roast beef each time you cooked one?"
Mother replied, "Daughter, now that you ask me, I don't know why I cut off all four corners of the roast beef before I cook it either. I remember seeing my mother do it each time she prepared roast beef for her family." Let's call your grandmother and ask her why she did such a thing." So, they quickly picked up the phone and called grandmother and asked her the question that no one could answer. "Grandmother, why did you cut off the four corners of the roast beef as you prepared it for cooking," they asked.
"Honey, darling," said the grandmother, "I cut off the four corners of the roast beef because the roast was always to big to fit in the only roasting pan I had. I just made it fit the pan, that's all."
Why did two generations of cooks do the same thing?
What cooking habits do you do religiously?
What do you do out of "habit" that you don't know why you do it?