Whenever I come across a magazine heading or advertisement that says something like, Make Cooking at Home Easy, or, Take the Anxiety out of Homemade Meals, I never understand it. I suppose that’s because I’ve been brought up on pretty much 100% homemade meals. Fast food was an extreme rarity, and restaurants for special occasions. We also had dinner as a family each and every night, with my mom cooking.
Now that I’m almost an adult myself, I do a lot of my own cooking, and with food being such a passion, I have grown into many habits.
That being said, I also recognize that many people rely on takeout for their meals. If you’re happy with that, that’s fantastic. But if you’re looking to switch to homemade meals, I have a few tips on how to make that less daunting.
Always Have Your Staples. These may look slightly different from person to person, but in general, keep these on hand at all times:
Fresh and frozen produce
Alcohol and coffee
Whole grains like oats, barley, and brown rice
Nuts, seeds, legumes, and oils
Now you have the basis for just about any paleo meal: smoothies, stir fries, grain bowls, barbecues, etc.
Now Add Your Flavour. Mix it up with different spices, which have an added bonus of health benefits. Experiment with oregano, basil, dill, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, etc., and keep your favourites on hand.
Start with a Recipe. If cooking is all new, grab a cookbook and pick out a recipe that appeals to your palette. From there, make it your own based on your taste buds and the ingredients you have on hand.
Pamper Yourself. When you’re ready for a meal, focus on your food and your company. If you’re dining alone, don’t dine over homework or paperwork, but on a clean kitchen table. Pour yourself a drink and prepare your plate so it is aesthetically pleasing. If you know you have a relaxing meal to look forward to, you will put more effort and energy into your cooking.
Next time you find yourself wondering what to eat, don’t reach automatically for the phone or jump in the car for Panda Express. Your hidden cooking talent may surprise you.