Free advice: Learn to cook

2011-11-28 22:03

Many people seem to regard cooking as some kind of strange magical skill that ordinary people cannot have, and restrict themselves to prepared food that only needs to be microwaved or whatever.

Please, learn to cook. Cooking is awesome. Cooking does not necessarily take very long, and gives you an immense variety of potential foods. Cooking can save you a ton of money. Cooking can let you get better food for about the same amount of money you were planning to spend.

You don’t have to aim to be some kind of master. Sure, Beloved Spouse can decide on the spur of the moment to make pumpkin creme brulee and expect it to turn out, but you don’t have to be that good to get real benefits from cooking your own food. That basic familiarity with what the ingredients are, and how they work, goes so far towards making life better, and there is a lot to be said for being able to tweak things.

You don’t have to be able to cook to have chicken broth. You do have to be able to cook to have chicken broth which is a little spicier because you have a cold, and which has little pasta rings in it because you could use a few calories that are easy to digest, and then tomorrow have chicken broth with less spicy and more rings.

The thing is: It’s all cooking. You ever make a frozen pizza and add some spices to it? (If you eat frozen pizzas at all, and haven’t done this, you are missing out.) That’s cooking. Not very much, but some. Frying hot dogs in a teaspoon of olive oil and some ground pepper? Cooking, and not just the “causing food to be hot” kind.

Learning a few recipes you like makes life a lot more comfortable. The more you learn, the more you can tweak things a bit, decide to adjust premade foods a little to suit your needs, and so on. It’s a wonderful activity, and one of the few recreational activities that scales well to groups of friends. (Sex scales well to one friend, but some people have found it less rewarding to try to scale it up further.)

Peter Seebach

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Comment

  1. Cooking I can do. Following instructions is simple, except when they say things like “a pinch of”… seriously, what the? And once instructions are followed enough times, it’s easy enough.

    Now if I could just get my wife to stop taking the knives off me when I try to cut something up…

    — Peter Newman · 2011-11-29 00:55 · #

  2. A “pinch” appears to mean “a small amount, roughly what you could pick up by pinching, but it doesn’t matter exactly.”

    Most recipes have a great deal of room for variance.

    seebs · 2011-11-29 04:35 · #

 
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