Thought Tuesday

Adulting 101 – What’s Cooking?

I’ve made an observation that just amazes me… cooking is a practical skill that has been discarded along the wayside.  It’s not just teens who have forgotten the benefits of cooking nutritious meals at home.  I was sitting by some ladies this weekend who were chatting away about how they “eat out” 3-4 times a week.  What?!  How can anyone afford that?  How are their arteries not rock hard?  How are they getting balanced meals and plenty of fiber, minerals and vitamins?  I don’t get it.

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No wonder a study in 2014 stated that young adults today are far more likely than older generations to order food from a restaurant for meals throughout the week.  These same people are driving the rise in grocery stores providing full “home cooked” meals (like Safeway).  Think of the hefty chunk of money being handed over!  Think of the health you are putting in the hand of someone else!

Dear me.

We are DOOMED!  Our way of life may be in peril.  I worry that within a few generations we will simply forget how to cook.

It is time to man up… or woman up!

It’s time to mess up the kitchen… and clean it up again!

Seriously!  Real adults know how to plan and prepare meals.

How do they learn?

Teens, get your butts in the kitchen and help out!  I believe the best way to learn how to cook is by seeing and doing… to get dirty!

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Help with meal planning.  Plan on making meals for yourself and skip all the expensive and even inexpensive, convenience foods.  There are moments I might plan to have a convenience food such as burritos and a bag of salad for days that I do not have time for meal preparation.  Saves me from ordering a pizza!   Make a grocery list. Make a list of meal ideas and recipes you want to try this week.  Don’t forget to consider the time you have that you can devote to cooking.  Consult your calendar and pick meals that fit into your available time.  Make a list of the ingredients you need for the recipes.  Then, check you kitchen to see what you have on hand.  If it isn’t in the kitchen, put it on a shopping list.  Make a budget and stick to it!  Use that budget for “real” food.  Junk food is a luxury… or is it?

Real adults plan their meals and stick to a budget.

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Take the grocery list and go to the store for your parents.  Learn how to look for deals and to read label for the best nutrition of food products.  Learn to shop the perimeter of the store and by ingredients.  The perimeter is where most of the whole foods are stocked, especially produce.  Fill you cart with these “real” foods first.  Stay away from the center of the store, where you find boxed meals.  Learn what your “staples” (foods you use on a regular basis) and buy them when you see a sale.  Things like pasta, rice, canned tomatoes, olive oil, spices, and various vinegars are a part of my staples list.  I think you will be surprised how much effort it takes to keep healthy meals in the home.

Practice planning, shopping and preparing a meal from start to finish, under the direction of your parent.  You may be tempted to buy those $2 cardboard pizzas at the grocery store and call it good.  Are you sure that is the wisest choice?  I get it.  There is little planning, barely any preparation and it’s inexpensive.  It seems like a win. Is it?

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Maybe we should talk about the quality of food you feed your body.  Take some time and learn what is truly a healthy choice versus what is an unhealthy choice.

I will admit, I survived on 50 cent bean burritos from Taco Bell while attending college.  Perhaps we should talk about the “freshman 15” right about now (and in some cases more than 15 pounds gained the first year living on ones own).  Perhaps we should talk about a life time of diets and worry about weight because we went for the quick and easy.  These suggestions come from a lifetime of experience.

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Once you get those healthy food home, learn how to read and follow a recipe.  Learn what words such as whisk, dice, chop, mix, stir, blanch. and Al dente mean.  You will see them in a recipe.  You should know what they mean.  Learn the abbreviations for tablespoon (T or Tbs), teaspoon (t or tsp), cup (c), pound (lb), pint (pt), etc.  You will see them in recipes too!  Learn how to read expiration dates.

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Real adults know how to make magic in the kitchen… or at least, know how to make food in their kitchens!

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