Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Cook and save

Learning to cook is one of those skills that have many benefits for your life. Not only that it is much healthier for your body, you are also absolutely sure of what is in your meal (you know, no nasty preservatives to keep you awake at night!). I didn't really learn to cook until I was in my early 20s. I regretted not helping mum more in the kitchen and therefore pickup some of her magical cooking skills.

As my son grows, I will endeavour to teach him to love the kitchen and love the art of cooking.

Lets see what you will get if you learn how to cook.
  1. Always ready to cook up a meal - Understanding the basics of cooking allow you to cook up anything that is in the pantry, or the fridge. Further it will also taste good. I had a small discussion on why it is a good idea to use what is left in the pantry, money wise.
  2. Makes your meals more enjoyable - I always seems to enjoy the food that I have cooked much better than the same dish if I have had it at a restaurant. Maybe it is because I can feel the effort that has gone into the preparation and the cooking of the meal.
  3. Impress your partner or date - By preparing the meal yourself for your partner, it sends a message that "I want to cook this meal for you to show that I really appreciate you". It is a win-win situation. It has been shown that living in a happy relationship usually promotes healthy living, which means less medical bills.
  4. Save tons of money - By cooking a nice meal and eating in, you will save plenty of money. Some of the fancy meals could be cooked up for a fraction of its restaurant prices.
That is fine, but where to start. I guess you could enroll into a cooking school, but that may not be suitable and may cost quite a bit, so I have a few suggestions.
  1. Have a cook out with friends - Invite a group of friends around for a cook out. This will encourage you and your friends to cook as it is a more enjoyable activity, your friends share cooking ips with you so that the meal will have a better chance of turning out.
  2. Visit your local library - Your local library will have a good selection of cook books available. Borrow some books to get some ideas on what is possible. Pay particular attention on the basics which you can build upon. For example, understand the basic of asian stir fry cooking and you can almost turn left over vegetable in the fridge into a great meal. Be sure to borrow books that are applicable in your area as recipes from other areas may call for not readily ingredients available in your area, (read expensive).
  3. Use only in-season fruits and vegetables - Using out of season ingredients will just make your learning path that more difficult. Plus it will be much more cheaper to use in-season fruits and vegetables.
  4. Experimentation - once you get the basics of the cooking style that you are learning. To best way to gain some form of expertise is to experiment. You never know what you will get!
  5. Watch cooking show - this may sound rather strange, but watching cooking shows on TV will actually give you a sense of what cooking is all about. They are abundance of cooking shows on the TV at the moment. At the moment, my favourite is Iron Chef, although some of the ingredients are hard to find, and the techniques are even harder to master.
I suggest to start off with, learn to cook pasta. The ingredients are cheap and readily available from your supermarket. There are many, many different recipes available which are simple to prepare, to cook and, best of all, they are very tasty.

Trent over at The Simple Dollar has a great article on the financial benefits on cooking skills.

Good eating!

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