Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prep Work - Part 2: Cooking Preparation Tips

The preparation that you put into a meal is just as important as cooking the meal. Good prep makes cooking easy.

  • When de-frosting meat, poultry or fish I have found that it is more effective to place the frozen food in a leak proof plastic bag and put this in a sink filled with hot water. It de-thaws much more evenly than a microwave will.
  • For most recipes, chopping your vegetables should be one of the very first things you do. This will save you much time for those later steps in your meal.
  • Google it. How many recipes have you discarded because you didn't have a particular item it calls for in your fridge? If you Google that item, you'll find there is a substitute for just about anything. Also, sometimes when my refrigerator is about bare, I will Google four or five items together of whatever I have left in my fridge (ex - "chicken, bacon, cheese, oil, vinegar) and do a quick search. You won't believe how many recipes you can find online that get you by with your limited food inventory.

Prep Work - Part 1: Pre-Press at the Print Shop

Prep work consists of various steps in a printer's prepress department. There are thousands of different topics on prepress so in the interest of your valuable time I will focus on merely one: alteration charges.

Many of you have been hit with excessive alteration charges at some juncture in your printing lives. Often times you don't know about it until you receive the invoice. That is why it is extremely critical that you keep these things in mind:
  • Do you anticipate there could be any changes after the first proof is created? If so please ask your rep to notify you of the alteration charges before hand.
  • Simple does not always equal cheap. Whether you are making a small type correction, replacing photos or altering your layout, in most cases the printer will still need to start from scratch on that entire page and go through the process of putting your file in a printable format again.

Any prepress activity after the first proof and before final approval usually has some type of additional charge to it. Simply put, ask your rep "What will this cost?" and you can avoid an expensive surprise.