After a life of eating processed food, I was sure I couldn’t cook real food. Was I wrong!! I’ve found it’s easy and affordable to cook real food.
Growing up, I never helped much in the kitchen. Oh, I’d look forward to baking Christmas cookies with my mom every December, and I’d make my own macaroni and cheese from a box for summertime lunches … but that was it.
Once I graduated from college and moved far away from my family, I needed to figure out cooking on my own. Cooking for one isn’t that easy – I never felt the desire to spend a lot of time creating a fantastic meal for just myself. And I didn’t want to eat leftovers for days and days afterward. Small and simple was key.
To figure out how to cook, I scoured cookbooks and created recipes shared from my mom and aunts. Inevitably, I’d end up trying to make recipes found on the boxes of the processed food I bought. When I eventually got married, I continued my cooking habits.
Then I discovered Food Network. My husband and I became rather addicted to several of the network’s shows, taking mental notes of the flavor combinations and cooking techniques the chefs used. It didn’t matter if it was “Chopped,” “Iron Chef America” or “Next Food Network Star” – when someone was cooking, I paid attention.
Attempting real food recipes
I liked baking from scratch and loved the taste compared to boxed baking mixes. So eventually I tried cooking from scratch. I experimented with some of the recipes I had watched on TV – and they were delicious. Surprisingly, cooking with real food wasn’t difficult. It was fun, relaxing, and I loved the taste.
My days of whipping together a dinner casserole of boneless skinless chicken breasts, a box of stuffing, can of orange juice concentrate and brown sugar were over. I stopped buying boxes and cans of processed food and started buying real food.
Much to my delight, I didn’t notice a huge change in my grocery bill. I had stocked my pantry with nutritious food, and I had learned to cook with it so I could create a variety of delicious and nourishing meals.
After cooking real food for the past nine years, I’ve learned that it’s a lot easier and affordable than I ever imagined. Switching to a real food diet takes a little patience and willingness to experiment and learn. But the reward is food that tastes like food – because it IS food.
Have you always cooked real food? What has your real food learning curve been like? What resources do you like to use?
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