In the Cooking World, What Constitutes a Day?

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If a recipe calls for you to let the mixture set in the fridge for "a day," is that 24 hours or, as some are arguing, could that mean 8 hours? (They believe it refers to a full work day).

That’s a fairly imprecise recipe, wouldn’t you say?

Without knowing what the recipe is, we can’t give you a definitive answer. It’s not uncommon to let a turkey bathe in brine for a full 24 hours. In some dishes and doughs, a more complex flavor will develop over the course of 24 hours in the refrigerator. But if it’s simply a matter of getting something cold or letting a dough relax, 8 hours is probably ample.

In general, we’d say that if a recipe refers to “a day,” it wants you to take the mixture out of the refrigerator sometime tomorrow.

We’re guessing that the “they” you refer to are members of Generation X, or Y, or Triple-QZ, or whatever the current generation of slackers is now called, and that they want everything finished yesterday and the word “food” to them is nearly synonymous with “fast food.” Well, tell them to slow down — they may just have to wait. Plus, if you’re the one with the recipe, you’re clearly in charge….