When temperatures drop, home cooks break out the roasting pan. But recipes contain a lot of outdated lore, particularly admonishments to preheat your oven. Although pre-heating may be helpful for certain sensitive tasks like baking, your meat and vegetables probably aren’t going to notice the difference.
**How this helps**
When you preheat an oven, you’re spending a lot of energy to heat up a small amount of air — which then goes whooshing out when you open the door to put in the food. Preheating can be an especially pernicious habit if you turn on the oven before you start doing food prep, leaving it “running on empty” for half an hour or more.
* The best source of information is your own oven. Experiment to see what works best for you.
* This Treehugger article digs into the preheating issue and some related myths.
* Don’t open the oven door to peek at your food while it cooks.
* Cover pots when bringing water up to a boil.
* Consider turning off your oven a short time before the food is done. It will retain its heat fine as long as you don’t open the door.
* Consider getting a convection oven, which cooks food more quickly and evenly.