I had totally planned on starting a new series today, Kitchen Bravery. It’s meant to be an encouragement for cooks to step outside their usual bounds and try new things, but there was a comment on How to Use Dry Beans in Recipes
Bottled water for cooking? That’s pretty wasteful. Not to mention expensive. That would cancel out the savings from using dried beans, and also be really bad for the planet.
Of course I addressed the worry about it being wasteful and not cost effective, but then I got to thinking. I don’t always cook from scratch to save money and there certainly isn’t always a time savings.
Why do I cook from scratch?
I want to know exactly what is used in my food.
I want to use real and fresh ingredients. If I make it myself my goal is nutrition and taste, not profit and shelf-life.
I don’t want to consume flavor enhancers like MSG.
MSG tricks your tongue into believing something tastes better than the inferior product it is.
Generally it is much less wasteful than convenience food.
Some of my neighbors have much smaller families and have the trashmen pick up two of the large green bins each week. (We do not have curbside recycling, so I can only be so nosey. Can you imagine? “Hey look, that weird Solos lady is looking through our recycling again. Is she taking notes?!”)
I am teaching my kids to cook.
By doing so I am ensuring their palates are accustomed to real foods and healthy levels of sodium. Yes, there is a difference between storebought and homemade and if possible, I want my kids to crave the foods that are closest to the real deal, not something designed to sit on a shelf for years. I read a piece from The New York Times just yesterday (it was an old piece) that noted a steep increase in pediatric kidney stones. The cause? Excess salt:
He and other experts mentioned not just salty chips and French fries, but also processed foods like sandwich meats; canned soups; packaged meals; and even sports drinks like Gatorade, which are so popular among schoolchildren they are now sold in child-friendly juice boxes.
I don’t want to be preachy (it’s too late, I know), but convenience foods have a cost. My goal here on Home-Ec101.com is to help our readers learn the alternatives so they have a choice when it comes to feeding themselves and their families. I didn’t learn to cook until I was an adult. My initiation to cooking was a trial by fire week when my boss decided to leave town and I had to fill his shoes. Now, it inspired a love of cooking and I had been lurking around the kitchen looking over his shoulder for a while. A couple years later I worked my way through the line at very nice steakhouse in Minnesota. Still, cooking for a family is different. Yes, I learned a lot of skills that helped me make the transition, but cooking with kids under foot and on a budget is a far cry from having the best and freshest ingredients on hand on someone else’s dime.
Tell me, why do you or why are you interested in cooking from scratch?