With American fast food outlets serving a whopping fifty million customers every single day, it’s clear that we have a preference for easy meals. However, cooking for yourself is a real pleasure and skill, and one that can be easily picked up and learned.
In this article, we’ll take a look at why cooking for yourself is a good idea, and how you too can master the skills needed. If you’re a novice in the world of cooking, don’t worry: our top tips on how to begin learning the culinary arts are just what you need to get going.
Why cook for yourself?
In a world where takeout food is available on demand, and with many ready meals only requiring a microwave or hot water to prepare, it’s unsurprising that many Americans are making the decision to rely on someone else for their food.
However, there are many benefits to cooking for yourself, and the first is nutrition. While it’s certainly not true that all home-cooked meals are healthy, think of apple pie or Thanksgiving meals, there are definitely more health benefits to a meal made in your own kitchen compared to much restaurant fare.
When you cook a meal from scratch using fresh ingredients, there are often far fewer harmful preservatives and additives in the foods compared to microwave-ready meals or even food from many takeout restaurants.
The second reason is the simple joy of cooking. Like any skill, the level of satisfaction you feel once you’ve learned how to cook a decent meal is amazing, and you’ll feel proud when you do it.
Many of your favorite takeout or drive-thru foods taste just as good or even better when you learn how to make them at home – and the feelings of self-satisfaction and pride in your own creation will be amazing too!
Learning to cook
If you’re just starting out on your cooking journey, don’t fear: a few basic tips can go a long way.
The first thing to do is to look around online for a decent cookbook – especially one that caters to beginners. If you have a large library near you, it’s a good idea to go and leaf through some of the books first to get a feel for what they offer.
If you have dietary requirements, don’t fear: the cookbook market is huge, and there are lots of excellent cooks who publish recipe collections tailored around everything from vegan curries to gluten-free cakes. Whatever it is you need, there’ll be a book for you.
The next thing to do is experiment with basic skills. Buy a few vegetables from the supermarket, for example, and chop them in different ways. You should also learn techniques like cracking an egg into a bowl as well as cooking methods like boiling, roasting, and frying.
It’s also a good idea to invite over some trusted friends who love cooking and ask them to give you a demo. Not only will you pick up skills, you’ll also have a great time with those you love – and a gorgeous meal at the end of it, too!
Get the tools
As with any craft, you need the tools of the trade to get started.
If you’re a beginner, there are certain things you definitely need to deck out your kitchen with to get it ready for your culinary future. A set of sharp knives, each of different lengths, is vital, as is a chopping board and three or four large pots and pans. A wok and a frying pan are also essential.
Even if you’ve been cooking for years, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the utensil market to see what’s available and whether it can turn your kitchen around. The Copper Chef, for example, provides more room to fry and allows you to cook without oil, while handy gizmos like lemon juicers and garlic presses can give your kitchen efficiency a real boost.
Equipping your kitchen requires you to spend a little, but it pays for itself almost right away. The cost of cooking your own food is almost always lower than getting takeout or ready meals. While it can cost several dollars to head down to McDonalds or Taco Bell, a filling and healthy meal made in your kitchen can in some cases cost no more than the loose change in your pocket.
So, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there are plenty of cooking tips to help you along. Wherever you are on your culinary journey, one thing is for certain: the joys of cooking for yourself are undeniable, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll never look back!