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Home Cooked Food: How to Turn a Chore into a Pleasant Experience?

A couple home cooking together in the kitchen

Home cooking with Le Creuset

A couple home cooking together in the kitchen
Home cooking with Le Creuset

With our busy hectic lives cooking at home can seem something not worth even considering. We simply don’t have time for that. Moreover, with a variety of ready-made dishes in any supermarket, as well as thousands of cafes and restaurants around it just feels like a thing from the past. However, if you decide to make cooking at home a part of your daily life, you won’t regret it for a minute. The benefits of home cooked food are overwhelming: you get a quick health fix while saving money and time.

Home cooked food has countless advantages. So here are the reasons we recommend you to switch from takeaways and prepared food to becoming your own chef.

Benefits of Cooking at Home. What Are They?

1. Healthy balanced diet

While microwaved food takes pure seconds to be ready, it comes with some significant disadvantages compared to home cooked food. All the commercially prepared food is known for containing higher amounts of fats, salt and sugar. As a result, the difference in calories between a lasagna you cook yourself and the one that you got in a supermarket ready-made is worthy of attention. If you are trying to cut down on chemical additives and preservatives, home cooked food is your best option.

home cooked egg and avocado toast
Photo by Trang Doan

2. Better ingredients

When you are eating out you are paying not only for the ingredients you eat. Among other things there are staff’s wages, electricity bills and filling the owner’s pockets. Your bill includes everything the restaurant needs to stay profitable.

At times this profit comes at the expense of the quality of actual food you eat. Often from the range of possible ingredients a fast food place or a cafe will opt for the cheapest ones.

3. Prevents food-borne diseases

What’s more, illnesses caused by undercooked food or by food bacterias depend on cooking techniques. When cooking at home you control the whole process and can ensure higher levels of food safety.

4. Perfect for people with specific dietary needs

Apart from control over the quality of the ingredients, cooking at home guarantees you won’t accidentally get something you are allergic to in your plate. Allergies, food intolerances and some strict dietary requirements will be all taken into account when you are the one responsible for the food you get. If you ever ended up ordering just a green salad, as there was nothing else to meet your dietary needs, you know exactly what we mean.

home cooked Asparagus and strawberry salad
Asparagus and strawberry salad by ritae

5. Cheaper than eating out

As we mentioned before, when you are eating out, you are paying for a business to stay afloat. The same is true for the microwave ready meals you buy in a supermarket.

When saving on the ingredients’ costs, restaurants and commercial food manufacturers are not too picky about where the food comes from. The meat will come from large industrial farms and fruit and vegetables are almost never organic. While the health consequences seem obvious, consider the less obvious aspect of the adverse effect of these foods on the environment too.

Cooking at home saves money so you can afford to spend a bit more on the healthier fresh local products.

An extra benefit is that the leftovers can be saved for later.

6. A hobby that saves time

Cooking at home provides an opportunity to cook exactly what you want to eat, as well as discover new recipes and experiment with new tastes. As soon as you get into it, you’ll find your favourite chef, favourite foodie blog and can turn it into a hobby.

home cooked Grilled fish and avocado
Photo by Dana Tentis

Cooking doesn’t need to take long time, as most chefs will offer 25-30 minute recipes of absolutely delicious and healthy meals. Check James Martin, for example to get some inspiration. The thing we rarely take into account is that cooking at home can actually save time. Think of how long it takes you to get to the local supermarket and pick something microwave ready, let alone having a dinner out. With home cooked food, if you plan in advance and make a list of ingredients needed, you can shop for food once a week.
Of course if you want you can try some of the more involved recipes like those from Ottolenghi (they could easily take 2-4 hours to cook!).

Black bean salad for dinner

7. Boosts your psychological well-being

Benefits of cooking at home are not restricted to providing vital nutrients for your body, since he activity itself brings positive psychosocial outcomes. Preparing a savoury meal can help you unwind after a busy day and to shift your attention from the work matters. Nowadays many mental health clinics and therapists use culinary therapy method to help their patients overcome depression, anxiety and a number of other mental health conditions. Cooking can help to unlock your creativity as you are experimenting with flavours and textures. You don’t have to follow a recipe word for word, because there’s always room for a spark of imagination.

And don’t forget, the way your brain works can literally depend on what you feed it with.

8. Helps to bond with your loved ones

One of the main advantages of cooking and eating at home is that your family will be together and learn how to share.

Cooking a meal together or simply sitting down and sharing your dinner with your family provides the right environment to share the news of the day, some funny escapades. Engaging your kids to help or even just to observe you cooking ensures they will pick up the healthy eating habit from you. Moreover, knowing a couple of simple recipes will help them in adult life and will make them feel more self-reliant and independent.

Couples benefit from cooking and having meals together as well, since it promotes cooperation and communication.

man and woman home cooking and drinking wine
Why not combine cooking with a glass of wine – @rawpixel

9. Good option for spending time with your friends

Hosting a dinner with your friends brings everyone together. If you don’t feel like being the only one who’s cooking, invite them to help you prepare the meals. It’s a wonderful bonding experience. You can teach each other your favourite recipes. And if your friends come from different countries it can become an amazing cultural immersion.

What Utensils Are You Going to Need?

If the benefits sound convincing enough and you started planning to switch to home cooking, first of all make sure your kitchen is well equipped. There is a higher chance that cooking will become an enjoyable pastime when you have all the necessary kitchen tools at hand. Well, it doesn’t mean that you need to get every little semi-practical specialty tool you see at a store, like a banana slicer, pickle picker or strawberry stem remover. Still there are kitchen essentials that any home cook can’t do without.

Cutting

  • Knives. Of all the knives you will really need just three: a chef’s knife, a serrated knife and a paring knife. Good quality knives can last for many years. Also make sure you get a decent knife sharpener.
  • Cutting Boards. One for raw meat and fish, the other one for cooked food and other products. However classy stone and glass cutting boards look, the most knife-friendly ones are made of wood.
  • Kitchen shears. You’ll use them for anything from opening up packaging to shredding herbs
  • Mandoline. There isn’t a better way to make slices of the same thickness and size than using a mandoline, especially for those of you, who aren’t super confident in your knife cutting skills.

Cookware & Bakeware

  • Nonstick skillets and pans. These are amazing tools for beginning cooks. They are very easy to clean, but it is important not to use metal spatulas or spoons on them. They can damage the nonstick surface.
  • Saucepans. You’ll need a large one and a small one. Use the bigger saucepan for boiling potatoes, pasta and making soups. A smaller one can be used for boiling eggs or oatmeal.
  • Roasting tin. Whether you’d like to make cookies, roasted vegetables or foil-wrapped meat or fish, a roasting tin is something that will come in handy.
  • Baking sheet. It is an ideal tool for baking pies, cakes and casseroles.

Utensils

  • Heat-resistant nonstick rubber spatulas. They are perfect for scraping a frying pan or a mixing bowl, as you can get every little bit out with them. In addition to that hey are also great to use with nonstick pans.
  • A couple of wooden spoons. You are going to need them for the topmost thing in cooking, which is tasting!
  • Colander. In order to choose the size you need, think of how much pasta you would drain in one go.
  • Other. Other utensils that you might find useful include vegetable peeler, rolling pin, meat mallet, a slotted spoon for draining, a wire whisk, tongs, ladle and a grater.

Bowls and cups

  • Mixing bowls. Get a set of 3 stainless steel or glass mixing bowls that fit inside each other and you’ll save space.
  • Measuring Cups. You’ll need a liquid measuring cup with a pour spout and a set of dry measuring cups.
  • Salad bowls. The ones made of tempered glass and stainless steel are the most durable options. Wooden salad bowls are getting increasingly popular now. Note, however, that if you want them to last, you should never soak them in water for a long time. This also means you should try to avoid putting them in the dishwasher.

Electric Appliances

  • Hand mixer. It makes mixing the ingredients for baking cakes and cookies way easier and quicker.
  • Immersion blender. This tool will let you blend smoothies, soups and dressings in seconds.
  • Instant-read thermometer. Get it if you are a fan of cooking meat and poultry and want them to be cooked safely and exactly the way you want them.

Storage Containers and Lunch Boxes

Whether you’d like to store delicious dinner leftovers or cook your own healthy lunch and take it with you to the office instead of paying for less healthy takeaway food, you are going to need quality storage containers and lunch boxes.

  • If you are looking for a cheaper option go for a plastic container. Please, make sure it is made of good quality plastic.
  • Stainless steel lunch boxes are way more durable and hygienic, with the one downside that they aren’t microwave safe.
  • With tempered glass containers you can easily warm up your food. Still, they often come with plastic lids, so you won’t be able to go completely plastic free, if you wanted to.
  • Bamboo lunch boxes are getting very popular now. They bamboo fibre they are made of is naturally sterile and odourless. If you thinking of getting one, check if it is microwave safe first, because some of them are not.

Put on your apron and take out your favourite cookbook!

Cooking at home has numerous benefits. It helps you to stick to healthy balanced diet and control the quality of the ingredients used to prepare the food you eat. Besides that, home cooking can become a fulfilling hobby that will let you improve your psychological well-being, save money and create stronger bonds with your loved ones.

Now go and pick your favourite 30 minute recipe and invite a friend for a delicious meal!



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