The Boy and the Pine Forest - One day, his parents drove him several hours outside of the city and the place that he knew as home. They passed by meadows, farms and forests on the way t...
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I'm divorced, a single dad with half-time custody, and I've been running a household solo for nearly ten years. I figured learning how to cook was a necessity. I had a bit of a head-start, since my ex was Italian and from a family of great cooks. I learned the ins and outs of la cucina italiana directly from the source. (You don't throw spaghetti on the wall to see if it's done!) My Italian-style carrots that I learned from them are to die for. My ex-mother-in-law also taught me how to cook beets, plus a zillion different ways to serve pasta.
One single buddy of mine won't cook on a nightly basis. He'll heat up a can of chili, or microwave some Lean Cuisine, but most often he'll take his hard-earned cash and go spend it in a restaurant.
Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, if you have the money. But there's more to cooking for yourself than saving a buck.
First off, it can be healthier to cook for yourself. I get to pick the ingredients, so I know they are healthy and fresh. I can also cut back on butter and salt (important for an aging dad like me.) Plus, some dishes like my marinated grilled asparagus recipe are awesome, and not something I find in many restaurants.
Second, it doesn't have to take very long. I can cook most meals in 30 minutes flat. Heading out to a restaurant takes longer than that. (My grilled chicken marinade recipe needs to be prepped hours in advance; needless to say, I don't cook it every night!) And in those 30 minutes, I can enjoy the cocktail of my choice. Whether that's the best margarita recipe or mai tai recipe depends on my mood, and doesn't cost me ten bucks a pop!
Third, it's a grounding experience. (This part gets touchy-feely, I suppose. I'm in NorCal, baby!) I feel connected to the earth, and to the farmers and suppliers, and to my kids who I cook for. It feels good to create a meal for them. It's nurturing. I get this feeling whether I'm grilling salmon at the BBQ, or cooking chicken and dumplings at the stove.
When I asked my single buddy why he doesn't cook, he said - "I'll cook for company. But it's just not worth the effort to cook for myself."
To which I said - "you're saying you're not worth it?"
Cook. It's good for you.
And if I didn't give you enough recipe pointers here, go buy a cookbook!