The Good Life Starts at the Table
Life is better when you cook your own food
Many of us these days think that cooking, especially for one, is just too much hassle. The perception is often it’s better to buy food since it saves time. It’s no surprise that food delivery apps such as Postmates and Uber Eats are so popular these days.
For decades I lived on a simple philosophy which I was raised with “Eat to live and not live to eat”. I always ate for nutritious purposes and never placed any focus on taste, presentation nor flavor. Until one fateful day would change my life forever.
It was my birthday, and I was going through a rough patch in my life at that time (‘coz you know, life happens). A good friend of mine invited me to lunch and said “You can order anything that you want, it’s on me”. She took me to a Japanese chain restaurant that I had heard so many good things about. We shared a few dishes and when the waiter came and asked if we wanted anything else, I asked to see the dessert menu. My friend firmly said, in front of the waiter, “No, that’s enough”. I abruptly held my tongue, part due to shock, part due to shame.
I felt utterly humiliated being silenced in front of the waiter like that. Especially not in a chain restaurant in a mall. That was the day I vowed to myself no one would ever make me feel that way again.
When I got home, I thought to myself how could I have allowed myself to be in such a position. How could I remedy this so this would never happen to me again? I vowed this was the last time I would feel like a stray puppy begging for scraps at the table. I realized that the culprit was simply the fact that I didn’t know how to cook. The next day I started opening the cookbooks that were available in my house and searched online for tutorials on how to make simple dishes.
Up to that point, I only knew how to make basic dishes like Tempura, Beef Stew, Soups, and Stir-Fried. But these were basic dishes that were based on my mother’s philosophy of “Eat to live and not live to eat”. I told myself if I want to be able to eat well, I would have to learn how to make restaurant-quality dishes. Simple dishes with elevated flavors.
After watching many online tutorials and reading the cookbooks I had, slowly my cooking skills improved from novice beginner to being able to replicate the recipes that I loved when eating out such as Beef Teriyaki, Orange chicken, Ginger Fried Rice, and even Har Gao. I bought a hand mixer and a mini oven and expanded my repertoire to baked goods. And it has truly been life-changing.
As I tried a new recipe each week, I felt empowered. I felt nourished. But most of all I felt happy. Good food isn’t just about nutrition. Good food feeds your soul. Now that my child is a little grown-up, we can enjoy the same dishes. I can introduce to her all the foods I loved and wished I grew up with.
The main benefit of cooking your food is it will do wonders for your health. As I matured, I order less and less takeout. Preferring to make simple dishes that let ingredients shine rather than a mysterious takeout I have to guess what the ingredients are. I have always found that restaurant food tastes so good because they are loaded with saturated fat, MSG, and excessive salt.
In my 20s, I never really cared about what I put in my body. Youth has the effect of making a person feel invincible. Now in my 30s, I pay closer attention to what I am eating. And cooking our own food is the best way to make sure that we get the vitamins that we need.
Did you know that eating too much takeout or junk food affects more than just your physical health? It also takes a toll on your mental health and can even cause depression. Other side effects of eating junk food include depression, high cholesterol, increased blood sugar, and diabetes.
The main benefit of cooking your food is it will do wonders for your health
Cooking is one of the best ways to relax and wind down. It encourages creativity and provides an opportunity to focus on physical activity. Cooking is a form of therapy.
No other activity is filled with rich aromas which instantly bring back happy memories. Whether it be a cookout at your grandmother’s or a cherished vacation, cooking transports you to an experience that you can relive again.
You know the expression “The secret ingredient is love”. Before learning how to cook, I always believed it was just something people say when they don’t want to share the final ingredient to the dish. However having cooked several dishes myself and then have someone else make it for me, I can taste the difference. Cooking with love makes a difference.
Cooking your food can easily cut food expenses by at least half. This was something I never realized until I started cooking the dishes I normally ordered from a restaurant in my kitchen. I love Tempura but going to a Japanese restaurant is pricey, even if a person orders only one main dish and tea. I quickly learned that for the price of one main dish at a restaurant, I could have the meal in the comforts of my own home three to four times.
No other activity is filled with rich aromas which instantly bring back happy memories.
The average meal in a restaurant for one person is approximately USD 13. Compare that to cooking at home which costs USD 4. That’s a 325% saving. Imagine the cost of ordering meals for lunch and dinner daily. I had a roommate who would order take-out and eat-out for every single meal. She went through her entire salary by the middle of the month. This was ironic considering I made less than her, was able to raise a child, and support an entire household while she was single and carefree.
If you think a USD 5–10 dollars won’t make a difference, it will in the long run. In this article, I shared foolproof ways of food prepping and cooking for busy people, these are some things I have learned over the years which have helped me to be able to cook delicious healthy food, on a budget that doesn’t take half a day.
There are many advantages to cooking our food. Today’s cooking is not what our grandmothers or mothers are used to. Technology has come a long way in helping us to cook along with simplified recipes that cut down on ingredients and remain flavorful. I find that when life gets too overwhelming, it helps to step into the kitchen and cook a meal. Cooking is therapeutic and helps to restore balance in our lives.
If you haven’t cooked anything yet, why not give it a go. It will change your life.