Ramen Noodles, Pizza, Fast Food, Chips…these are the things most people think you eat when you mention that you are a bachelor and I have to admit, I eat more than my fair share of all of those foods. However, for the past several years I have tried to cook more meals than I eat out. Cheaper meals is a big part of it but I also want to try and eat a little healthier as I pass the horizon of middle age. At first it was simple things like spaghetti and bottled sauce, eggs or maybe the odd stew cooked in the crock pot using store bought, prepackaged seasonings.
Then I moved on to roast, meatloaf, pork chops and a number of other meats, all cooked with varying vegetables. I have found that most foods are very simple and quick to prepare by following very easy recipes and instructions found throughout the grocery stores and online. Those cooking shows are pretty helpful as well. In particular I like “Good Eats” in which the host not only tells you how to do things easily but WHY doing them helps to make a better experience scientifically.
Recently, I have started going to a local butcher to get the freshest meats possible and have moved from pre-ground spices to freshly ground pepper and salt. I even grow some of my own herbs. The flavor of these are so much more powerful that once you try them you will never go back to those prepared spices or meats that have been sitting in cellophane and styrophone wrappers for days.
A few months ago I decided to try my hand at a roast with a spicy sauce, green beans, corn and some brownies for desert. It only took about 30 minutes to prepare the meat, then all there was to do was wait the required time for it to cook in the oven. 15 minutes after the roast was done the corn and green beans were prepared, just in time to give the meat time to rest, and I placed the brownies in the oven. I sat down at the dining room table (after clearing off all the papers, computer parts and other items that accumulate there) and my brother and I had a nice, sit down, family meal.
The meal was outstanding if I do say so myself and my brother still talks about the roast I made for him to his friends. He now firmly believes that I am some sort of prodigy chef destined for greatness when, in fact, all it took was reading a few directions, turning the timer to a specific time and playing World of Warcraft while I waited for the “ding.” I don’t have all those fancy kitchen utensils like meat thermometers, chef knives that will cut you in half if they graze you the wrong way or a fancy, tall hat.
My point is, even if you don’t think you can boil water without messing it up, cooking is not this big, scary, fancy ability that requires years to master. If you have a few minutes, some patience and a friend or family member to share it with, cooking your own meal is not only good for your wallet and waist, but your soul as well. I encourage everyone to try something new in the kitchen tonight!