Unless you were born into a home with a butler, a maid, a personal chef, and a giant silver spoon in your mouth, at some point in life you’ll need to learn the skill of living on a budget. A meal for 2 at a decent restaurant can begin in the $50 range and run double or triple that amount depending on the establishment and choice of drinks. Considering this, a candlelight dinner at home with one’s significant other becomes a bit more attractive.
A person can get a couple T-bone steaks, a few veggies, and a bottle of wine for less than that $50 starting point and have a fantastic meal at home. While everyone needs the occasional “night on the town,” learning to prepare a scrumptious meal at home can save a significant amount of money for the budget-conscious person.
Expand your Horizons and Eat Great Food!
Don’t like vegetables? Have a significant other, roommate, parent, or child who doesn’t like vegetables? Experiment with recipes!
As a child growing up, my parents go-to method for any and every vegetable was to boil it! Green beans? Boil! Okra? Boil. Carrots? Boil. And have you ever had boiled asparagus? It’s what I imagine eating boiled snakes might be like… border-line child abuse!
It turns out that asparagus on a barbecue grill, basted with some olive oil, salt and a bit of black pepper is amazing! It may still make your pee smell funny, but it tastes great!
Experimenting with spices and cooking techniques can also have a tremendous impact on a dish. Add some fresh basil or thyme and you’ll be amazed at the difference in so many dishes!
The presentation can dramatically impact the “mental acceptance” of the dish as well. Don’t just slop the meal into dishes or onto plates. Take an extra minute and pay attention to the visual aesthetic. Before the taste buds are ever engaged, the eyes feast on a meal. Make it a meal to visually remember.
As to expanding horizons, in the post Of Food and Racism I explore having thought I “hated Indian food,” even though I had never actually eaten Indian Food! In the article Smothered Aligator I find there are definitely meats other than chicken, pork, and beef!
All this to say, try something new! Try a new way of fixing an old staple. Try something you’ve never considered. You may just be surprised! If you still don’t like it, hopefully you’ve at least enjoyed the process.
Impress your Friends and Loved Ones
There’s just something about that person who can set a beautiful dish on the table. A while back, my wife and I stayed at some friend’s house on a Saturday night. In the morning my buddy Tony got up and fixed the most mouth watering quiche I’ve seen. Tony has a history in auto part recycling, truck driving, and metals recycling. However looking at that fantastic brunch you would think he’d studied under renown chefs.
As to my own story, the first date with the woman who is now my wife was not to take her to a five star restaurant. Rather I prepared her a 2 or 3 star dinner at my house. While it’s true I didn’t have much in the way of culinary skills back in the day, I had the ability to fix a dinner without embarrassing myself. Heck, I must not have done too bad, we were married less than a year after that dinner.
To the people who have never attempted to hone any real cooking skills, the ability to prepare a beautiful meal is something akin to wizardry. And like casting a savory spell over your dinner guests, you’ll leave them captivated with culinary presentations.
At the end of the day, whatever your reason for learning to cook, the result can be a beautiful meal that is affordable, delicious, and impressive. What other reasons should a person need?