Ice-cream with breakfast. Pasta without sauce. Enough rice to feed the cast of WWE. I certainly do have some bizarre eating habits. And most of these are down to my lack-lustre, and generally inspiration-less attitude towards cooking.
Some people say that cooking relaxes them. While living in a student house, my housemates would frequently being making a variety of dinners that would require a fair amount of effort e.g. Bolognese sauce from scratch, lasagne, potato wedges cut by hand. I on the other hand would be sitting at the table with my mountain of sauce-less pasta and broccoli (which usually should have had hotdogs in too, but were often eaten whilst waiting for the water to boil). Minimal effort. After a long day of study, I don’t know where my housemates found the energy for it; it would just stress me out, thinking of all the other things I could be doing with my time.
I should really rename this particular blog entry, ‘A Lazy Girl’s Guide to Cooking.’ Anyway, here are my tips for braving the kitchen.
- If it takes longer to cook it than to eat it, then why are you bothering? 15 minutes max per meal. That’s the general rule I use. Any longer, and it’s time to think of a different meal. Unless you’re trying to impress your boss/parents/new date then why put more in that you’ll get out? That’s like paying full price for a cinema ticket, only to watch 20 minutes of a movie. Illogical surely?
- Don’t make things from scratch that can be bought in a packet. This isn’t me encouraging unhealthy eating. Lazy does not equal unhealthy. I just mean that it’s frustrating when people say ‘when you make it yourself, it tastes better.’ Who decided that? Who honestly is paying that much attention to the dish they’ve just made, shifting a potato wedge around in their mouth, thinking ‘oh yes, I’m picking up the extra salt I put in. And the shape! By God, only my sculptor’s hands could have created such a beautifully shaped potato wedge.’ I honestly don’t believe that buying a pack of Aunt Bessie’s potato wedges would have tasted radically different.
- Pasta doesn’t necessarily need sauce. I think many of my eating habits have stemmed not only from my apathy, but also from my need to budget as a student. When you are cooking for just yourself, and with very little money, it’s not a surprise that you fall into bad habits. I just took comfort in the fact that I wasn’t the worst case I knew; I had friends who stocked their fridge with steak-bakes and pizzas. At least I actually pick up a spoon and stir things occasionally. And at least I have some green things on my plate. I don’t think that to budget you need to be unhealthy. For example, there’s some things that you can skimp on that are not essential. I grew up in a household where sauce was never put on pasta. So living alone, I never thought to put sauce on pasta. For me, pasta is like bread; it’s tasty without anything on. Not buying sauce, you’re saving about a pound. Think of all you can do with that? That can get you about one and a half Freddo bars right?
Don’t misunderstand me here. I love food. I know some people love cooking too. I’m not trying to mock people for that; I’m just suggesting some ways that people who don’t love cooking can reduce their time and effort even more. To be fair on myself, when I do make an effort, I am a fairly decent cook. I mean, I came second in my student house’s cooking competition, and one time in high school, my walnut salad got very good comments.
But I’d sooner not make that effort. I’d sooner get on with the long list of tasks I have to get done. Or work my way through my Netflix ‘To Watch’ list (see previous post). And as long as I stay healthy, I’m not worried.