I love cooking. When I was completing my PhD, it helped remove my stress. I could work on a project that was set up for a week to have it fail or otherwise have unsatisfying results. Unfortunately, that is not too uncommon in the sciences. I could fail a project, but I could come home and cook, something I never fail at and still feel like I could make something good.
It is rare to find Americans with these cooking skills, especially among my generation. For instance, I could go to the supermarket even during a bad time like the Coronavirus pandemic and still find a literal ton (probably more) of fresh produce. Yet there is not a single frozen TV dinner in sight. I may not be a scientist (extreme sarcasm notice) but by my observations it seems like if all people have to eat is raw poultry they will likely die.
Cooking is a skill you need to survive. Sure you may need water and shelter too, but you could open your mouth when it rains to sate your thirst. A shelter could be a trash bag and a stick if necessary. But it requires effort to cook, especially to cook well. Furthermore, cooking can save you money, but only if you do it right. In this post I will illustrate the strange ways cooking your own meals can save you money.
You Learn That Facade Of Marketing
How many of you love to buy or cook healthful food? Pretty much everyone. Marketers know that too. That is why fast food has transformed their architecture and their appearance, but not their food. In fact, if anything fast food has become less healthful. You have probably heard people say they like going to nice cafes because their food was fresh and natural. However, many of the USDA labels for food that make people feel good are very loosely enforced, if at all. I have even heard that legally speaking chicken cannot receive hormones. Yet companies can label poultry as hormone-free.
Why do companies do this? Because you have a positive reaction to anything that looks or sounds healthful. You were probably drawn to this article because of the vibrant picture of wholesome foods on the top of the article. You probably even feel like to added an hour to your lifespan just by looking at it.
Cooking can save you money because you will learn there is no difference between the $1/pound chicken breast and the $7/pound chicken breast. Your will learn that there is such a thing as a healthful and cost-conscious purchase and that the price for health is not too high despite what many say.
Do you think the food industry is the only one to do this? Practically every business does this. You probably spent an extra thousand from the start of this year purely because of an advertisement you saw. But by cooking for yourself, you can become more immune to predatory marketing and other advertisements.
You Can Try To Take More Control
If you do not like the idea of a company controlling what you eat you should try to grow or harvest your own food. If that sounds hard, that’s because it is, which is why almost everyone who does this sells some of the fruits of their labor to others. Even a few extra tomatoes will provide you with supplemental income.
I personally like hunting and growing spices. The meat cannot be sold, or at least not normally. But the spices could be sold fresh or dried and packaged. I know people who sell dried spices at the local farmers market for a decent income. Taking further control in your cooking can help you make a little extra money by making a business.
You May Find New Ways To Reduce Waste
Tell me, what do you cook first, the meat, or the vegetables? Chances are you have answered the meat. It makes sense, after all, you need to be sure the meat is cooked fully in case of disease causing agents. At least to me, it is the vegetables. I learned this when I worked in food service. If you use a knife to cut raw or otherwise unprepared meat and then you use the same knife unwashed on anything else, you have contaminated the other item with whatever is living inside of it or even some allergens. I know this does not come to as a surprise to most people, after all, eight year old children know about germs. What people do not know is this knowledge should be applied to reduce waste.
If you use a knife to cut vegetables or anything with low risk of having contaminants, you could use that knife to cut meat later with low or even no risk of contamination. How does that reduce waste? Well, if you prepare the vegetables and everything else first, you could use the same equipment to prepare the meat. That would be half the equipment that needs to be cleaned. Unless you believe hot water, soap, and time is free, you just saved money.
Some efficiency experts may claim that this strategy wastes time because the item that requires more time to prepare should be started first. This is true, if all that happens is the change in order of your work. However, the time “wasted” by prepared meat last was saved by a reduction of cleaning time, not to mention moving around equipment. I could go on forever about how changing one thing while you cook affects everything.
It is hard to see where the effort goes into making your food with a wall between you and the food preparation. By actually cooking, you can see the subtle details that affect how much time is spent in the kitchen. For instance, you can see the value of a clear work triangle, and placement of utensils. Last I checked almost every job in life would benefit by having maneuverable work space and strategic placement of tools. You realize the full costs of time and money simply by preparing a meal.
Cooking helps you clear your mind to realize what you want. If you want fresh ingredients, you need to find them yourself. You will next to never find them from a large company that a grocery store holds. At least not one that is a chain. The way cooking can save you money is by forcing you to realize that food companies have no true interest in your health, just the food you think you want. If you take your hand off of your food enough, these companies will dictate what you can get from the grocery store.
If you want more control you must try to grab the wheel. Cooking will put your hand on the wheel of the food you eat. When you realize that food will cost extra just to have certain labels that don’t mean anything, you will buy more economical food. Cooking is a good skill to save you money, but cooking is also a skill to help you forge your wealth.