One of the skills I learned at an early age that will certainly fuel my life in retirement is cooking. Today, not only do we cook most of our meals but actually eating more than going out. Growing up there just wasn’t too many options for eating out. I remember occasionally we would order a pizza on a Sunday night, but even that was rare. McDonalds was just being invented and the only other places were Chinese restaurants, diners and greasy spoons. As I entered my teenage years the fast food boom had started. I remember Jack in the Box and White Castle were a couple of the go to’s but these too were on rare occasions.
I started working in the food industry at 17 like most and quickly learned all the skills needed to make pizza and cook fine Italian food. I sort of fell in love with it and loved watching the food that I prepared.
As time went by I tried my hand at so many other cultural dishes and learned to perfect each. I learned that cooking many favorite dishes wasn’t that difficult of time consuming at all. I have managed to take most of our favorite recipes and create a cookbook where we can turn to quickly and find our favorites all in one place.
Another hidden gem is marrying someone who also grew up the same way and has her own unique set of cooking skills. My wife is also a master in the kitchen and yes, sometimes we do get in each others way, but most of the time we work together like a fine tuned machine. Sharon’s motto is “Cooking is Caring”, and I couldn’t agree with her more.
We love to cook a nice meal and compare the cost of putting it together with the cost of going out to a restaurant. Restaurant prices are close to insane these days. A few months ago I decided to go to a Shari’s Diner and pick up breakfast. 2 eggs, 1 piece of sausage, some potatoes and 2 slices of buttered toast cost close to $14.00. The same plate of food would have cost me less than $4.00 to make at home.
The money we save on cooking at home is money we save overall to fuel our futures and for us it is not an annoyance. I see so many senior citizens going out to eat all 3 meals each day and I wonder why. Even the younger generations eat most of their meals out or just throw some prepared, frozen meal in the microwave that they purchased from the supermarket. What ever happened to good old meal preparation and the Joy of Cooking?
Another benefit we find is that we get to choose the ingredients that go into our foods. We love organic vegetables, high quality meats from a butcher and freshly caught seafood. We agree to pay a premium price for these foods because we know that when we compare the price to the same dishes at a restaurant for foods that are much less in quality, there just is no comparison.
Some people shop for quantity, but for us it is all about quality. A good healthy dinner doesn’t just pay off at dinner time, it pays off doubly as we always take the left overs for lunch the next day. The only meal I need to be concerned with is breakfast which is simple a bowl of oatmeal with a granola mix and some berries and a banana. So basically were are spending our energy on creating just one meal per day.
As I am getting older and my body is changing I have noticed that when we do go out to eat with family sometimes the food causes issues in my lower intestinal tract (trying to be polite). Within an hour I find myself running to the nearest bathroom. This makes me wonder exactly what ingredients the restaurant is using to prepare certain meals. Profits are important in any industry but at what price does it pay when customers do not return.
Another benefit to cooking at home is many times, especially in the winter months we prepare meals that we get multiple meals from. A pot of chili, stews and soups have taken us into the realm of three meals at times. Much of these dishes can be frozen and saved for future meals and they are just as delicious the second and third time around. There are days where we may have had a hard day at work and we just don’t feel like cooking. It doesn’t take much effort to heat up a meal that has been pre-prepared and makes life much easier to destress from a busy day.
Cooking for loves ones is a gift of love. It seems that no matter what dish we cook for family there is a level of love felt throughout the room. Sometimes we cook a bit too much and at these times I love to share a dish with someone at work and watch their reaction. I have even had people ask me to open a restaurant. I tell them, that is not the idea behind cooking at home. LOL
Recently there have been business’s built around delivering meals or selling all of the ingredients to prepare a meal. If there is a growing desire for prepared meals this tells me that, yes, the art of cooking is slowly dying. Both my wife and I have both passed on the tradition of cooking and find that all of our children are cooking both traditional meals and also trying their hands at new dishes. Another tradition that is being passed on is that of gardening. I love to grow the foods we eat and we see our children doing the same.
What about you? Do you or other people you know cook your own dishes? I need to know that I am not an insane foodie.