We didn't have to wait until a pandemic to make the decision to stop eating out. That is what it took, though. We were spending almost $200 a weekend sometimes on meals, and that wasn't anything fancy. It was definitely a rut that we had made for ourselves.
And I love to cook. And, thankfully, Valerie loves my cooking. I have become more adventurous in my cooking in the last few weeks. Last night, I make brownies from scratch for the first time. The other day was tortellini with brown butter sauce.
Our culinary habits and routines were heading this way all along, really. We would go out for dinner and I would find myself saying that I could make what we were having at home. It goes without saying, for a fraction of the price. Unfortunately it took a pandemic to force us into this decision, even though it was something we should have done regardless.
Just as it's my contention that anyone can learn to draw, anyone can learn to cook. It just takes following directions. There is a wealth of information online on cooking the most basic things. Search on Google for "how to boil an egg" or "how to cook rice" (two basic skills) and there will be hundreds of websites offered to you. Want to bake bread? There is a wealth of information on that, too. It's really a lot easier than you would think.
Here are the things I have learned (or realized) in the last few weeks:
- If it comes in a jar (like pasta sauce) or a box (brownies, meal kits), there is a recipe for it and it can be made for a fraction of the cost.
- Making some of the items you buy at the store (again, pasta sauce) are painfully easy to make on your own. We as a society have been conditioned by marketing to think we have to have this sauce or this product in order to have a good meal.
- And...if it comes prepackaged it most likely has more salt or more sugar than anyone really needs.
I realize there are going to be days when you just don't feel like cooking. I get that. I would urge you, however, to support local restaurants that offer curbside pick-up or delivery. Chains like Potbelly or Ruth's Chris Steakhouse don't need your help. The local noodle shop or deli? They need all the help they can get. And, oh, if you do choose to get delivery, please tip your driver more than you normally do. They need your help also and are risking their health just to bring people food.
And if you don't have ready access to the Internet for recipes and cooking "how-to?" Call your parents, or grandparents, aunt or uncle. I'm sure they have the answer and would be glad to hear from you...