Many of the younger generation have never been taught the skill of cooking from scratch.
Younger people eat packaged foods most of the time, indulge in fast foods, are afraid to make mistakes, or simply refuse to learn to cook. This used to be something passed down from mother to daughters or to sons.
It is sad that this art is becoming less popular because there are so many benefits of preparing food from scratch. The new wave of cooking shows is helping to slow this attrition of the home cooked meal but it is enough to turn the tide?
Or are we destined to live in a plastic wrapped world?
Home Cooking Beats Fast Food for Taste and Cost
The definition of cooking from scratch need not be a scary one. You start with fresh products and create food from a recipe. Of course some things you add you may not be willing or have time to make from scratch.
You can use some of those products, but not depend on everything being already made since then you will lose any benefits.
For example, most of us do not churn our own butter or grind our own coffee. You can, but that is not necessary.
Buying meals out either at fast food places or nice restaurants can be quite costly. It can make a huge dent in your budget and give you less disposable income for other things.
It is almost as expensive to buy all those precooked, processed and ready to eat packaged foods.
If you want to see the difference just skip buying lunch out for one week and pack a lunch from home. You will be amazed to see how much you can save.
Prepackaged baby food cost can add up fast and may not be that nutritious; simply make your baby food at home and save some serious money.
Although you will need some basic pieces of kitchen gear to get started, these are mostly one-time purchases and the initial costs will be recouped in a very short time.
Unless you frequent those fine dining places, you are not going to find a meal or fast food item that can compare with your own good cooking.
One reason for this is that fast food places need to cut cost so often use less expensive ingredients. They may use lard or margarine instead of butter. They might use egg substitutes instead of the real thing.
You get the idea.
When you cook and bake from scratch, that means you can put the best of everything into your meal since you must just cook for the family not a whole restaurant full of people.
In addition to taste, you should not be surprised that home cooking can be healthier for you. You control everything that goes into your meal. You can choose to make something low fat, low cholesterol or contain less carbs. Nowadays, most people are concerned with eating better.
One of the things people often remark about is that packaged food has names of ingredients in them that they cannot even pronounce. This is because foods that must be shipped or stored for long times must have preservatives and additives to increase the shelf life.
Let me say here that you do not want to know what those names mean; many ingredients are chemicals which our bodies should not even have, but are in products.
When you prepare a homecooked meal, you can find ingredients that are not enhanced for color or taste. You can make items with pure vanilla not artificial.
And yes, there is a huge difference in taste.
You can also choose to stay away from products that have been genetically altered to increase size or some other factor. When you have time to shop, you can usually find organically grown items which are much better for you.
When you buy prepackaged meals or have fast food, you really do not know what you are eating.
When a person in the family does more from scratch cooking, they spend more time in the kitchen. Amazingly, the rest of the family is curious enough to join them there. After a while, they might be interested enough to help make that meal.
This is your chance to share some skills with family. It is always fun when a whole family prepares a meal together. Everyone should know how to cook at least the basics because everyone eats.
When not eating fast food on the run, you may find more often your family sits down for a meal. That is especially important for families.
You may feel you do not have the time for this, and that is where your freezer can come in. you can spend a whole day off or an evening to make several meals and then freeze them. You just need to pop them in the fridge when you leave in the morning and heat them up at not.
Another time saver is a crock pot which you can prepare at night, put in the fridge overnight and plug in the next morning. The slow cooker makes food tender and tasty and you can eat as soon as you get home.
This may seem strange but once you’ve learned to cook from scratch, you will look forward to it as a pleasurable and relaxing event. If you really want to see how much of a stress reliever it can be, make some bread. The bread making process includes kneading and punching, a great way to unwind after a tough work day.
Cooking and cleaning involves exercise, and all forms exercise will reduce your levels of stress by increasing your dopamine levels and other mood enhancing hormones.
Preparing food from scratch gives you a chance to be artistic, creative and imaginative. You will look forward to finding great recipes. You will try ingredients that you never used before such as learning about a new spice.
You might try to make something that is usually in one shape, a different shape. One example is when making meatloaf, you can make it in muffin pans or individual little personal meatloaves instead of regular loaf pan.
Your creative side will flourish as you look for pleasing presentations for you home cooked efforts. The best restaurants always present the food in an appealing and sometimes creative way.
There is so much to gain and nothing to really lose. Take a shot at preparing food from scratch and see the benefits for yourself.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!