It’s been too long, mes amis.
In the interest of getting some momentum going again, today we’ll kick of an loose “series” centered around getting back to it – for all of us, back into cooking regularly (or into it for the first time) and for me – getting back to writing more regularly.
The fairly obvious reason (two in one) is that cooking at home is usually both better for you (especially if you are using less processed ingredients, bonus points for local) and less expensive than even many fast food spots. But I know you hear that from all kinds of folks, including Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan, who have spent lots of their time explaining all this from their own media empires.
You can help people. Bringing meals to those who are sick, just had or adopted a child, experienced a death, or are just plain down is a “thing” for a reason. It helps! Everyone needs to eat, and when you’re not up to cooking for yourself, a homemade meal brought to you can be a tiny miracle. Who knew that a pot of chili could be so powerful? In general, meals that are easy to freeze and reheat will be the most helpful. But also, things like breakfast cereals, breads, milk, salad fixings, crackers, sandwich meat/cheese, condiments, etc. (while technically not cooking) are great to gift as well, as they make quick snacks and meals with minimal assembly.
You can host. While hosting might not sound that appealing on its surface, I find that being able to be the hostess comes with a few unsung perks. First of all, you’re at your house (this means no driving and if you’re lucky, no shoes). You also get to set the tone of the gathering, fix your favorite things to show off, and open your home to your friends and family. Still unsure? Check out these handy posts involving hosting.
You can trick people into coming to your house. (This is semi-related to the above post.) Seriously. If you live far away from your friends and don’t feel like driving out to meet them, you can have them over. I started luring friends over with the promise of snacks in high school, as all my friends lived in a different subdivision than I did. I continued to fine tune my strategy well into adulthood. I used to live a whole 30 minutes away from all my closest friends (though you’d have thought it was a three day journey), so to get them to come over, I’d offer up casual dinners of arroz con pollo or big vats of pasta. It works.
You might like it. I understand that cooking isn’t for everyone. Not to sound like your mom, but “if you try it, you might like it.” Don’t think it needs to be a super fussy process that takes all day. You can sear some pork chops and assemble a lovely salad in less than 30 minutes. On the flip side, if that sounds boring to you, you might actually get into some of the long and complicated recipes of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking or even the science experiments of molecular gastronomy.
It makes you easy to buy presents for. The avid (or even lukewarm) chef is someone who is easy to shop for.
We They almost always, no fail, appreciate quality ingredients, interesting cookbooks, kitchen towels, new gadgets, or a great piece of cookware. And we all definitely appreciate a night off every once in a while – in the form of a home-cooked meal from you or a gift card to our favorite restaurant. Or even pizza delivery. I can never turn that down.
So peruse the archives and links, turn on some Cooking Channel, or flip through some great books and magazines and get started!