Sometimes, an afternoon spent playing in the dirt with your son seems like a much better idea than cooking dinner. In my eyes, practically any afternoon spent playing with my children was not time well spent, but time best spent. When I speak to people about food, I get many defensive responses. At the top of the list are: 1) I can’t cook, mostly because I never liked cooking and have grown to hate it, actually, which is very uncool these days because I can’t post a picture of what I just cooked on Instagram; 2) I can’t afford organic food. It’s ridiculously expensive, and 3) I don’t have the time. But there are many counterarguments for why you should and can cook at home.
Yes, You Can Cook
I am about to begin publishing a series of posts with recipes that are simple and straightforward, that even the most culinarily-impaired person can prepare. I promise to include ingredients that most people use and eat on a regular basis. No special kitchen tools, no ingredients that you have to buy at a specialty store or purchase online. The goal is to encourage you to get into your kitchen. Bring your children; bring your wife; bring your husband; bring your dog (ours are very good with clean-up when stuff “hits the deck”). If you know how to turn on your stove, you are qualified to prepared these recipes.
Yes, You Can Afford Some Organic Food
Organic food is more expensive than conventional food. I discuss this in another post. But if you eat at a fast food place, and are feeding a family of four, you will probably spend about $25. A pound of grass-fed organic beef runs about $6.50. Add on $2.00 for rolls, $1.29 for organic leaf lettuce, less than a dollar for an organic tomato (less if you grow a tomato plant in a pot on your patio). And maybe you get frozen fries for $2.50 (Not hard to make your own, but intimidating, so we’ll go with the frozen food section) and a bottle of soda for $1.99 (but you should drink water – it’s a lot better for you and much less expensive if it comes out of your tap and you filter it), you have spent less than $16, had some good bonding time with your family, and eaten organic food, and saved $9.00.
And you’re thinking, ‘Nine dollars? All that for a nine-dollar savings?” But let that add up. Let’s say that you get fast food once a week. Now it is $9 x 52 weeks a year, which is over $400. Still not enough to get your attention? What if it also meant that your cholesterol levels returned to the normal zone and you could stop spending money on a prescription or two? We tend to look at these kinds of things in a small context, but the truth is that what we eat and how we eat affects our physical and mental health. So factor in time spent at the doctor – what is your time worth an hour?
Time is Relative
And speaking of an hour, the biggest complaint/defense I hear is “I don’t have the time.” This is also a matter of perspective. Some days are ridiculous. We have them, too. But many days are not; they are more I’d-rather-crash-on-the-couch-than-cook. Let’s see if we can start to change that.
We can start with
- 1 lb. of ground meat (you choose what you want to use, beef, lamb, turkey, etc.)
- 1 t salt
- ¼ t ground pepper
- ¼ t onion powder
Mix all of this together and form four patties. Fry them in a pan over a medium heat, about 6 minutes a side. Put them on a platter in a warm spot.
If there isn’t any fat in the pan, add 1 T olive oil or butter and heat it. Add 1 T flour and stir it around in the fat. Add ½ C of milk, and stir until it thickens. If you have some Worcestershire sauce, you could add a dash of that, but it isn’t necessary. Pour the sauce over the patties and take it to the table.
You can serve this with a salad that you have one of your family members make, or just slice up a head of lettuce and put some dressing on.
Start to finish, this takes about 25 minutes.