Friday, December 5, 2008

Learning to Cook!

Sometimes I forget that that not everyone has been to culinary school, and that not everyone has the basic cooking skills necessary to prepare a simple meal. Having these skills can be a great gift, and that’s why I write to you weekly, hoping to help give you the tools you need to prepare healthy and delicious meals in your own kitchen. In these economic times, having basic cooking skills is more important than ever.

Before I really learned how to cook in detail, I made the basics: Caesar salad, tacos, tortellini with alfredo sauce, spaghetti, roasted whole chicken and chocolate chip cookies. That was the extent of my culinary palette. After chatting with some new friends recently, who avoid the kitchen unless absolutely necessary, I realized that this limited knowledge is still a common theme in so many lives. Why? Most of us lack the time to learn, the budget to purchase premium ingredients and the experience to prepare the meal.

First thing’s first. Make a weekly budget. Cooking at home costs considerably less than eating out. All it takes is a little information on how to shop and cook wisely and simply. For instance, you may buy a can of green beans for one, open the can, take a few bites, and then put it in the fridge and never eat the rest. For someone who is on a budget, $3 spent on less than half of a can of green beans isn’t worth it. Menu-plan and find ways to stretch that can out for a couple of meals.

Secondly, it’s time to make the time, people! I know this is a tall order - someone is not going to want to cook a fancy meal after a long hard day at work or at home with the kids. But if you can learn the basics, you can pretty much prepare a fairly decent and tasty meal in about 20-30 minutes, tops.

And lastly, experience comes with practice. The more time you spend in the kitchen, the better you’ll be at whipping out delicious meals in seconds flat. Food education is key here. The more you know, the more comfortable you will feel with what you do. If you can’t take a class, I suggest reading magazines or searching the internet for information about the things you don’t know.

Unlike knitting, writing, or biking, cooking is not a hobby. Cooking is a lifestyle. We can’t live without eating. It is a crucial part of our daily life. By just expanding your knowledge of food and cooking a little, you can change your family’s life and make them healthier, happier and more satiated.

Happy Cooking!