Yesterday, in the Sunday Review of the New York Times, Mark Bittman wrote an Op-Ed piece on how junk food is not actually cheaper than regular food (if you want to read it, go ahead, we’ll be here when you get back). He talks about how families can really cook healthy food for cheaper. He buys all of his groceries at regular supermarkets and doesn’t buy organic or shop at stores such as Whole Foods. It argues that if you have time to sit in front of the tv, you have time to cook (especially, even though he doesn’t say this, now most kitchens have TVs in them).
Why am I right about this? Well, cooking at home has made a very positive impact on both Cristina and me. We both lose weight when we cook at home even though a meal we make at home often is chicken nachos. My blood pressure has reduced dramatically even though I apply salt to almost everything since cooking, by my definitions, doesn’t include boxed items that are loaded with sodium.
What’s amazing too about cooking at home is what happens when we eat out. Yesterday, we went to the Alligator Festival to sample the food. What normally would have been a first course at a festival for us quickly filled us up. It also increases my self-esteem because I know I cook better than almost all fast-food and chain restaurants, not because I am a better cook then the guys and girls on the line, but because I work with better ingredients.
Finally, it is cheaper if you do some planning. We try to cook only what we are going to eat which multiplies the number of meals we get from something. Also we try to apply the principle of amortization to our food (Example: I made baked chicken legs with potatoes and carrots. When you figure out the unit prices it came to right about five dollars for the total meal. Wendy’s usually runs me for sixteen dollars). Also, and this may be the weirdest thing I say to some people, but we really don’t need to eat meat every meal. Lentils, for example, have ten grams of protein per serving plus a good amount of fiber, both of which will make you feel full faster. In fact, it is rare that you will see Cristina and I eat meat more than once a day.
Sorry if this blog comes off a little preachy but it is a blog. Cooking and eating better is something we feel passionate about. Also, cooking is not hard especially since I can do it. Trust me, I’m clumsy and three women who love me the most (Cristina, my mom, and sister) can attest to how much little common sense I have. In fact, I still haven’t learned that it is a good idea to close the microwave door when I’m finished with it. Mark Bittman didn’t say it in his article, but I will for him. If you really don’t have any idea of how to cook, he did write a book called How to Cook Everything.