You Can Cook If You Can Read

Home cooking has never taken on greater importance as we struggle financially with strangling economic conditions and culturally with poor eating habits. Our wallets and our health are under siege, and one thing everybody can do about it is learn how to cook.

There’s an old Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I’ve developed a few skills in the kitchen. I know the difference between a colander and a sieve. I know that parchment paper isn’t something you write on. I don’t cook for a living, but I’ve had my fair share of people ask me why I don’t. After 25+ years of carefully maintaining my amateur status relative to all things culinary, I believe I can safely say that when it comes to feeding oneself or one’s family, you don’t have to be Bobby Flay to be fly (I know, I’m too old — and not nearly hip enough — to use the term “fly” but it works with Flay! OK?). It’s better to learn to fish than to be given the fish. I hope this series of articles will inspire you to learn how to cook. If you do, you’ll be fed for the rest of your life.

The First Step: Developing the “Want To”

I’m too busy. I get home from work too late. I can’t even boil water. I wouldn’t know parsley from parsnips or tarragon from thyme! Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard them all. You don’t have to be inclined to cook, you simply have to accept that there’s a better way than alternating days between Hamburger Helper, Papa Johns and Chef Boyardee! People, life is too short to eat bad food, and food that’s bad for you will shorten your life! Equally important: food made by other people generally costs more and you have little or no control over what goes into that food. Bottom line: home cooking makes good economic sense and can be healthier. It really isn’t that hard. It’s all about wanting to.

The first time (not necessarily the first time you try) you succeed at serving a meal you made almost entirely from scratch — one from which the aroma alone tells you and whomever is about to share it with you that you’re about to partake in something special — there will be no turning back. Aside from the fact that preparing a meal from scratch using fresh ingredients is healthier, it also brings into play things like love, compassion, sharing, and bonding. There’s also a feeling of self-accomplishment and there’s no better way to connect with family and friends than sitting down together over a table-full of delicious home-cooked food.


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