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Should I Put on the Back Burner

Old Back Burner Hotdog: I used to be a Footlong!
New hotdog: “!”
Caption: Big Issues NOW? Leave them “On The Back Burner” look SMALLER later.

What is the benefit of putting “it on the back burner”?

I’ve worked in a number of restaurants, everything from making Pizza at Papa Gino’s in Melrose to Cottonwood Cafe’s side bar restaurant to Snake Bites in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  I was the grill man/cook, and as any grill guy will tell you is: you use the:  Put it on the back burner, not just to keep food warm, but it’s used in timing the dish. If you cook steak and chicken and salmon for 12 plates, all for the same table, you want all the plates out at the same time. But the 3 steaks are well, 2 are Philly and 6 are medium – the chicken 6 oz…all cooks about the same time if the the grill is hot. The fish cooks the fastest and that has to go on the flat grill, then to the fire to get good grill marks…and everything has to come out at the same time with each plate containing rice and beans and garnish. That is when the “Put it on the back burner ” is the most powerful. It helps with the timing of the meal, getting everything ready, so it meets and exceeds the customer’s expectations.

Can this be applied in everyday-real-life scenarios?  Well yes. The perfect example is when dealing with difficult people, problems or issues in life that are interpersonal in nature.  There are not tasks that are required nor needed to be done such as a to-do list.  Tasks can be put on the backburner too, but in this case, we are talking about dealing with people.

We will have people offend us, (we will offend others).  It is what we do next that elevates, or escalates the situation.

Have you ever had anyone from the many social networks (I’m sure you have profiles on and use: Twitter, Facebook, instagram and the like), have you ever had a negative comment? YOU WILL get one at some point.  What we do next will elevate, or escalate the situation!

If you’re human and like me and along with the over 2 Billion Global Social Media Users  (who have people who are your “friends” or friends of your friends comment on your post or any pics, or anything you put on line)…When we put anything on-line, we have to remember there are always two points of view. Yours and mine. I’m always going to be RIGHT!  Dealing with self-deluded people like me can be exhausting and there are 2 billion social media users Getting OVERWHELMED via Social Media. Trying to keep up with all our virtual “friends”has more and more people taking Social media vacations. Or putting SOCIAL MEDIA on the back burner.

People will offend us – offend is a mild way of saying it, they will irk us, they will irritate us, piss us off, they will get under our skin, they will push our buttons – IF WE LET THEM!  WHY do we LET THEM? If we are confronted online, do we lash out with words online or do we search for where they live, so we can have some choice words in person?  Do you lose control?  It’s like one match dropped in the woods, the flame can die out if you step on it or you can rage. If you dump dry grass on it, then douse it with gas…Before you know it, you have a forest fire.

For sure “Putting it on the backburner” comes in handy.  Not responding quickly with an emotional fury of slurs and angry word imagery–can save you a lot of stress!

This works in real-life too, if you have issue with a friend or loved one…the issue is not going to really be solved with a yelling and screaming contest.  Put it on the back burner, till it can be calmly approached and talked about with proper attention if needed.

You may find that Overstating Actual Knowledge by the time you get back to that BIG issue, it is much smaller than once thought; it’s not as important.



Should I Put on the Back Burner

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels).

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2015). Should I Put on the Back Burner. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 7, 2019, from


Last updated: 14 Aug 2015
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