When to Preheat

A reader has asked: I know preheating the oven is important for, say, baking a cake, but does it really matter when I’m roasting meat or cooking a casserole?

A: Yes, preheating is always a good move, as food will begin cooking as soon as you place it in the oven. For a roast, it’s a good idea to sear it slightly on the stove before placing in the oven; for a stew, bring to a full boil, then cover and place in oven.