When I am in the line at the grocery store and I have finished checking up on the news of which star had plastic surgery or who is leaving whom, I start looking at other people’s carts. The other day, I was behind a family’s cart in which there was nothing that couldn’t be opened and eaten directly out of the can, box or carton. It reminded me of a secretary I worked with once who proudly announced “I haven’t cooked since 1994.”
While we know we can’t all be Julia Child and sometimes my own dinner is a chocolate bar and a fist full of peanuts, cooking shouldn’t be an optional activity. Here are a couple of reasons why:
1) Salt. The USDA would really like us all to reduce the amount of sodium we consume to 1500 mg a day. According to the box of breakfast sausage in my freezer, that is not good news. I invite you to go and get a can/box/container of something and look over that chart on the side that tells you what exactly is in there. Remember, those are per serving numbers. I’ll wait……… Scary, huh? Now my dear sweet mother has had to reduce her sodium to as low as possible. She is down to about 400 mg a day. She proves it can be done. Making your own food, from ingredients, allows you to control how much salt you eat and your overall health.
2) Cost. While this blog is from France and she is talking about hummus and Euros, the idea is the same. Paying someone else to do the prep work to prepare your food does not come out in your favor even if you figure in how much your time is worth. That being said, because we live in the USA and our food cost is not fully driven by supply and demand, some stuff is cheaper for us to buy and it tends to be high fat, high sugar, high salt, processed foods. You got me there. However, while we pay less for Cheetoes than we do for cheese, the long term cost on our health must be part of the calculation of price.
3) Satisfaction. There is nothing more satisfying that answering the question “That is really good. Where did you buy it?” with “I made it myself. And sure, you can have the recipe.” Even if it’s the only thing you make well, you still feel like a rock star.
Start small. Make spaghetti with no salt added crushed tomatoes and some Italian seasoning instead of your usual jar of sauce. Or make cookies with your kids. Or whatever floats your boat. Just try to make one thing that you normally buy in a jar/box/can/carton. You might just like it better. Do I expect everyone to do all their own cooking? Of course not. But, if we all change just one or two meals a week from processed foods to things we make ourselves, we can all be a little healthier and have a little more jingle in our pockets.