A few years ago I posted the question on Facebook “Who taught you to cook?”. Most of the answers referred to parents or grandparents taking time to teach people as kids in the kitchen. Some people then went on to supplement this education with knowledge out of cookbooks.
It’s a similar story for me. My mum (the main cook in our house) made sure that I was equipped with a few basic recipes when I moved out of home, but I didn’t really start to care about how I was cooking until I had kids.
There is a really strong narrative in food marketing that tells a story about cooking being hard and inconvenient. This narrative helps stores sell more processed and packaged foods. We are all time-poor and buy these things because it feels like it solves a problem for us. But it actually creates a few more problems that it solves – problems to do with health and sustainability.
In reality, learning to cook is empowering. It changes the way you approach food and allows you to have control over the health and sustainability of what you eat. It allows you to seek out cheap, simple ingredients and transform them into multiple meals that can both delight and sustain you. This year, you will eat cheaper, healthier, more sustainable, less wasteful, BETTER food if you learn to cook and continually add skills to your repertoire over the course of the year. Here are three ways to learn to cook:
Pinterest is the ultimate source of How-to information, and you can look up any kind of tutorial you need from the basics to the more complicated arts of fermenting, cheesemaking and home-brewing. I have created a Learn to Cook board that has a some tutorials and ideas that aren’t too complicated for beginners.
You tube has as many tutorials for things as Pinterest does. Search around and you will find a vlogger who suits you to teach you how to cook in their own way. However, the ones I tend to gravitate towards are the ones from River Cottage on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube.
The Cook’s Companion
Don’t be put off by the hefty price tag. The Cook’s Companion is the ONLY cookbook an Australian kitchen needs and includes information on how to master basic techniques as well as more complicated recipes for when you are ready to move on. Stephanie Alexander’s legacy is the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation which has transformed the thinking around food education in primary schools in Australia.
Salads don’t take much cooking, just a bit of chopping! Try this idea: Cut up some tomato wedges and combine with halved strawberries, basil leaves, shaved Parmesan and balsamic vinegar. Maybe a few grinds of pepper too.