The slow death of a home cooked meal... say it ain't so!
I'm having a love affair with cooking. There is nothing I love more than turning on my favorite tunes, lighting a candle and spending a little me time creating a vibrantly colored nutrient dense meal.
Rarely do I follow a recipe, or use fancy cooking techniques, in fact I keep it very simple. The end result always turns out to be a glorious, nourishing plate full of yumminess. Getting in the kitchen gets me in a creative state of mind. I feel a sense of calm and accomplishment at the end of the process. It's a way for me to connect to that which sustains my physical being.
Maybe you don't quite feel the same passion I do upon entering the kitchen, and that's ok.
Let me turn up the flame on your internal burner as I offer you just a few of the benefits of getting down and dirty in your kitchen.
1. It's healthier.
When you're preparing your own food, you know exactly what goes in it. You have control over the quality of the product, the freshness, the way the food is handled... everything!
2. Not only is it good for your body, it's good for the pocket book as well.
It's not just the take away pad thai your paying for. The majority of your money is being divided between payroll, rent, bills and profit. The mark up on food is insane! In fact, the ingredients used in your $12 Pad Thai probably cost the restaurant $2 at most. The rest goes to keeping the business afloat.
By shopping at your local grocer or farmers market and preparing the meal yourself you can save some significant cash!
3. It's more Sustainable
Restaurants are businesses. They are going to get the product with the best price. They usually go through a few different distributors who represent companies from all over the place, who are still a second or third party to the farmer themselves. Your restaurant food has traveled far and wide for long periods of time to show up in that non-biodegradable package you're about to eat out of with that disposable utensil. Catch my drift?
When you start to cook for yourself, you also get the opportunity to support local farmers or your neighborhood co-op. Food is only traveling a few miles away rather than from the opposite side of the country. Plus you're dining out of real dish ware that you will wash and use again.
Where to begin...
First, you have to get prepared. You have to set aside time to make a game plan! Your plan should include places you'll do your grocery shopping, what days and times the farmers markets are on, what's in season, a general grocery list that is easy to adapt when you hit the store or market. Which days will you have time to cook, which days are you too busy?
If you absolutely hate the grocery store... here are some options:
Now that you have your ingredients and you know what your schedule looks like, pick a big meal prep day. This is the day you make a big batch of quinoa, soup, slice your veggies to put on salads or eat with hummus. You'll probably have to do this every 3 or so days if you're a busy bee. Schedule these prep days and make it joyous. Put on some music, a podcast, or an audio book and dive in!
Cooking Techniques... Keep It Simple!
By no means am I a gifted chef, but I've made some pretty tasty dishes using the simplest of cooking techniques. Steam or roast your vegetables, lightly sauté mushrooms, peppers, onions or squash. Grains are easy and effortless, normally a 2-1 water to grain ratio. Kick it up a notch (thanks Emril) by adding herbs and spices. I rarely use salt to season, but I love a little black pepper, cayenne or dried herbs on just about anything.
Most important. Stick with it! The more you cook the better and more confident you become.
Not sure what to make?
Take inspiration away from your take-away. Do you like to grab a pizza on the way home or a burger and fries?
How can you re-create a healthy version of that at home?
I'd love to hear what you're whipp'n up this week! Leave a comment below.
Stuck? Have a Question? Need some inspiration? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org