Do any of these apply to you?
- You’re spending more than you want to on dining out
- You’re not happy with your weight and energy level
- You’re appalled at how much food you’re throwing out
- You wonder why the fridge and cupboards are full, but there’s nothing to eat.
Getting dinner on the table for yourself and your family feels like a struggle that never ends. Working against you is lack of time and energy. What you need to win is skills and strategy.
Your tools in this struggle are knowledge and support. That’s the purpose of this website—to give you the knowledge to make better decisions and to give you the support of a community of like-minded readers.
I grew up in an era when women were starting to work full time outside the home. I was lucky to be standing at my grandmother’s elbow while she made the meals from scratch, even while she was working full time.
My mother, on the other hand, was into trying the new convenience food products as they came on the shelves. These innovations included Swanson TV Dinners, spaghetti sauce made from a powder, instant mashed potatoes, and pizza made from ingredients in a box. These were the the days before “pizza parlors,” (as they were called).
My father professed to one cooking skill, which was making pancakes. But he rarely did it.
My interest in food leaned toward cooking from scratch and eating nutritiously. When my baby started taking solid food, I never bought “baby food”. I just blended up what we were eating. From lamb stew to lasagna, she ate it all.
I was working full time, and the responsibility for feeding the three of us was all on me. Getting supper underway when I got home was my first priority, and it went well enough. Rarely did we eat in restaurants because that just seemed to take the whole evening, and I would rather be doing other things.
The weekends was another matter. I’d get working on a project and lose track of time. The next thing I knew I had a testy husband complaining that he was “starving.” When I look back, I may have been avoiding the kitchen on the weekends because I was feeling chained to it. I must have been feeling like I was in there all the time and needed a break.
Later, my marriage ended and I was travelling out of town for my job each week. I had to leave my daughter to fend for herself. She was young enough where, if it had been these days, nosy people would pick up the phone and call Social Services on me. I tried to set up the kitchen with meals and so on. I still feel the guilt of not having done better.
All this time, I was becoming passionate about working smarter, not harder. From 1996 to 2010, I read every Martha Stewart Living magazine. I followed websites like unclutterer.com, 43folders.com, and lifehacker.com.
By 2008 I was remarried to a very supportive husband. With his encouragement, I enrolled in the Culinary Bootcamp at NAIT. It was an expensive program but it improved my cooking skills about a thousand percent. Not only did we learn the techniques of good restaurants, but we got rid of bad habits. I loved it so much that in 2010 I went back for Level II.
Become better in the kitchen
Before Julia Child passed away, I think I heard her lament that “families don’t cook any more”. That surprised me and made me sympathetic to people who try to cook. I remember rejoicing whenever I saw single men in the grocery store buying prepared ingredients that get you part way to a home-cooked meal. Yay! I thought, he’s making the effort to cook for himself instead of eating in restaurants.
My dream is that YOU have the desire and confidence to up your game in the kitchen. Especially if you missed out on learning the skills from a family member when you were growing up.
Any skills and knowledge you have, please share them here.
We can all improve our skills in picking out ingredients for quality and suitability, knowing how to work our tools, and minimizing waste of food and money.
Only then we can we enjoy the process and the pleasure of cooking, and not feel tied to the kitchen.
Because in the end, the real goal is to feed our loved ones and ourselves well, and make more room for everything else we enjoy in life.