Yeah, you read that right, you do not need any special skills or training to make great food. I have noticed that we seem to have reached a strange point in time, where many people think cooking is this amazingly difficult task that only the would be Martha Stewart's of the world undertake.
Let's be very clear that is not the case, cooking is reasonably easy, for the most part, we have a set of ingredients and set of instructions to follow, how is that difficult? I have given a five-year-old a set of ingredients and told him what to do with each one, I then stood and watched as he weighed, measured and chopped the ingredients as instructed, with no assistance he made nut free pesto then served it to the family. If he can do it why can’t we? I am not sure when cooking became this mythical set of skills that few people had learned and even fewer had mastered. Did I miss the memo?
Let me be very honest here, I am not a master cook or a professional chef; I am merely passionate about real, clean and easy food. I was not born with the ability to make amazing food, I have learned the basic skills needed to make meals, then learned a little more as I have gone along, it is not that hard. Food is such an important part of everyone’s life, without it, we would not survive, yet many people now seem to have forgotten the importance of food. We have stopped thinking about the fuel we put in our bodies, we leave thinking at the door and allow decisions about our meal content to fast food restaurants or companies that mass produce food for profit. We should all be taking responsibility for our food choices and making informed decisions about what we put in our mouths.
I will be honest making real food takes effort, you have to put in some thinking, so you have what you need to make good food, but the effort is more than worth it. That little bit of thinking goes a long way, and a willingness to eat your mistakes goes even further. I think that cooking is like everything else in life, it is about learning and developing. I have spent a few years now improving my cooking skills, learning new ways to prepare and cook foods and developing a greater understanding of how different flavours and tastes work together. Everyone will have a different experience and pace of learning new skills but here are some of my key learnings and tips for an easier cooking experience.
Take your time – try not to get frustrated with yourself, give yourself time to do preparation and cook, if the recipe says it takes 10 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook I recommend you give yourself 30 minutes, it will take longer when you start out so just take your time.
Get the family involved – food is an import part of family life so get the family involved in preparing and cooking meals, it a great way to spend time together, teach kids important skills and up-skill your partner. Working together to get dinner ready is a great activity for the family at the end of the day.
Meal plan – seems like such a simple thing, but is one of the most important things I have learned. Planning my meals each week gives me a clear sense of direction, I meal plan and write my shopping list for the week. I work from the meal plan to come up with a food prep plan; I get as much preparation done as possible and put what I can in the freezer ready for the week. Meal planning means we live within our budget each week have a healthy homemade meal each night and do not end up eating the same thing repeatedly.
Play with your food – you heard me, being excited about what you eat is important, the tuna and cottage cheese every day for lunch is hard to be excited about, don’t be afraid to add something new or different to a meal to change things up.