Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 17 Feb 2011

Today’s dinner took less than twenty minutes for me to throw together and was far superior than anything you’d ever get from a box:

  • Four thin slices of butcher steak, cooked medium well (I’d have preferred them medium rare but I wasn’t paying attention so instead I payed the price of slightly overcooked but still excellent beef. Woe, woe is me.)
  • Crispy rosemary potatoes
  • Steamed Brussel sprouts
  • Tasty soy sauce-based pan sauce

This dinner? Awesome. Why? Because I know (more than, but still) basic cooking skills.

To get from A (cold food) to B (dinner!) required one piece of advance prep: have leftover boiled potatoes. Everything else was tossed together at the last minute. It was so delicious that I’m rather sad that there are no leftovers.

Wait, no, that’s not entirely correct. It required another piece of advance prep: I bothered to learn to cook food for myself.

Everything was Real Food™. I saw it in the store in its primal form (if Brussel sprouts and potatoes can be considered at all “primal”). I brought it home and cooked it. It underwent no doctoring (to add nutrients) or industrial processing (pre-cooked and frozen) or packaging (trash trash trash). It cost, amortized (as I’m not going to cook/eat all the potatoes, Brussel sprouts and beef at once), approximately Two. Bucks. For excellent and nutritious food. All because I know how to cook. And you should, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of convenience. The Flash-Frozen-Bagged-All-But-Instant-Potsticker is a thing of beauty in my world and I won’t deny it. In truth I’m rather addicted to them but that’s fodder for a different blog post. That aside, there’s a place where convenience ends and laziness begins and that line is located much too far away from logical reality in the typical American diet. “Line? What line? Oh, wait, there goes the microwave…BRB…”

The frozen “meal” you toss into your microwave has likely seen more U.S. states than you have. It’s been carefully crafted to push the appropriate buttons in your brain rather than your stomach, to make you want that dopamine hit from sugar, salt and fat. That’s not food, that’s “Product.”

Just, please, for all of our sakes: Step away from the box. Don’t make that $2 box of Kraft Mac & Cheese. Instead find a recipe on the web, which will probably end up costing you about $6 to feed six to eight people, and try to make it for yourself. If you fail? Meh, it happens. If you’re the sort of person who always gets things right the first time they try then I want to be you. The important part is that you try and keep on trying should things not be to your liking (the same as anything in life, really).

Please. Learn to cook. Step away from the box. It won’t hurt, honest.

It’s easy, I promise. Neanderthals could cook.{.broken_link} You’re much more advanced than a Neanderthal, aren’t you? I thought so. If they could cook then so can you, darnitall.

So give it a try. Toss together an impromptu pasta sauce. Compose a salad of whatever’s on hand. Even *gasp* make a pie crust. It’s better than OK: it’s great!