Is it just me, or does it seem like people don’t want to cook anymore?
There are meal-preppers, week-in-a-day cooks and those in the freezer cooking camp.
Then there are the folks who get their food in the mail from a box.
Why don’t we want to cook anymore?
Wait. I take it all back…
Actually, I think I understand.
Life is nutty. It’s busy. And we don’t always know if we are going to have the time to “make dinner” with everything else that’s going on.
When my calendar is open and I have free time, you will USUALLY find me in my kitchen. It is my happy place. It is stress-relief. It is my creative outlet. It feeds my soul.
However, on busy nights when we all need to be fed, I must admit that I want to raise my hand and yell, “Not it” when it comes to making dinner.
Am I allowed to do that?
These are the nights when making dinner is not fun. I sometimes wish I had a box with an apron on it too.
Meal in a box, freezer cooking and meal prepping can all be fantastic resources to prevent us from being ambushed by a Big Mac or Chic-Fil-A sandwich.
I have a dear friend who cooks all weekend long. She makes baked goods. She bakes potatoes. She steams broccoli. She roasts a chicken. Then she shoves it into perfect portioned containers and eats it ALL WEEK LONG.
The same thing. All week. LIke the same dinner 5 times IN A ROW.
DH could easily do this. I could not. DH wishes someone could feed him intravenously so he wouldn’t need to stop to eat.
What is wrong with him?
And how did the girl who LOVES TO COOK and LOVES TO EAT become married to a dude who wants a feeding tube?
I like diversity – this is not the plan for me.
I have another friend who doesn’t eat the same thing all week, but she cooks a ton-load of food in one day and then eats the pre-made meals throughout the week.
This sounds better.
Lastly, I have freezer-cooking friends who have these “freezer parties” and “freezer cooking days” where they stuff the icebox with ready to defrost & eat meals.
I actually am in this tribe. Doubling and tripling meals is common for me. I often make a dinner for the table and a dinner for the freezer (like, almost every time I cook). Then I can cook 50% less. Ya’ know?
Here’s my question…
Why don’t we want to cook anymore?
I get that not everyone wants to make homemade bread (what is wrong with them?)
Even if you don’t have a passion for being in the kitchen, I have some powerful reasons for baking up some dinner anyhow.
Yes. We have time.
Did you know that the average American watches 4 hours of TV a day? (according to The New York Times -2016)
Did you know that the average American spends 4-5 hours a day on their phone? (according to studies by Flurry & eMarketer -2017)
We can find 4 hours to watch TV and 5 hours to stare at our phones, but we say we don’t have time to make dinner.
Trust me, I’m guilty too. I’ll be goofing off on Instagram when I should be thawing pork. Then I look up and it’s 4:50 and I start to panic. Shoot! Dinner!
I’ve decided that social media is a time vampire & should be avoided unless you are standing in a line. Then it is great at passing time.
I’ll tell you that dinnertime does not need to be a drudgery.
It can be the highlight of your day.
It may even be the perfect opportunity to spend time as a family and make memories.
How to Eat at Home More, Enjoy Cooking & Not Lose Your Mind
ONE: Cook in Community
Whether it’s your children, your spouse, the neighbors, or friends, cooking with people is always a good time. I love to cook with my children. They know that if they aren’t in the kitchen between 5-6:00 I am going to be summoning them to get their cabooses present and accounted for.
I assign jobs and we play music, we cook, and we laugh.
TWO: Keep it simple
If you haven’t joined the blog, you should consider it. I send out bi-weekly menu plans that give you easy, real-food meals you can whip up on short order.
My favorite way to approach dinner is “A Main and a Side.”
It is just what it sounds like. Main dish, fantastic side, done. Sometimes I add some fresh fruit, chopped veggies, or bread to the meal. Sometimes we just eat a main and a side and go on with life.
I think the simplicity of it makes preparing dinner much easier.
I think being a part of a meal-plan program simplifies dinner for the home cook.
We plan the meals. We provide the instructions & shopping lists. You get to indulge in fantastic foods & be the hero of your home!
All the menu plans provided here are whole-food meals (healthy). They keep the meals very basic [a main & a side] so it’s easy on the chef.
And the meal plans provide inspiration (someone please, just tell me what to cook).
THREE: Stop Missing Out
When we get take-out or turn to processed foods (boxed pancake mix, slice & bake cookies, instant breakfast packets) we aren’t just losing on flavor and nutrition – we are missing out on the joy of cooking.
Making pancakes from scratch isn’t harder than making them from a box. And scratch always wins.
- Food from scratch taste better
- It’s healthier
- You’ll have skills (like, be the boss of your kitchen, Man)
No stores – no boxed mix – no problem.
There are few things as satisfying as shaping your own bread dough and baking fresh bread. Or serving a meal that came from your garden and homestead.
FOUR: It Tastes Better, Yo
Homemade is always better. Real whole grains taste better. Can I tell you how often I’ve made food with a bag of flour or cornmeal from a store only to discover that the grains were completely rancid?
Those of you wondering what I’m doing buying flour – remember, that I don’t take bags of grain with me when I travel (but maybe I should). At the same time, I am always cooking.
When I’m away from home, I purchase grains for cooking.
And they are often rancid. It’s horrible. Rancid flour or cornmeal will have a bitter aftertaste or even a sour flavor.
This is never the case with fresh flour. It’s sweet and full of flavor.
Real butter, real maple syrup, whole cream, and fresh herbs are the bones of good cooking.
If you are cooking with fat-free sour cream, I can’t believe it’s not butter, skim milk and store-bought flour you are missing out on the deep satisfying fulfillment that real food provides.
These fake foods will leave you empty, hungry and yearning for more food. Not only are fake-foods unsatisfactory, they are also loaded with additives and preservatives.
Eating real foods with real fat has provided what my palate desires and even weight loss. When foods are rich: I am filled. I don’t snack between meals. I eat less.
FIVE: Eating Out Isn’t Faster
Do you know how long it takes to load up the kids, go to a restaurant, order dinner, eat, pay, and drive back home?
Longer than it would have taken you to make dinner at home.
If we are completely honest, cooking dinner doesn’t take longer than going out to eat.
And it’s a lot cheaper.
If one person seems to bearing the burden of the daily supper meal – pass the baton.
I have a house full of teenagers. We let them cook sometimes. My oldest daughter spent a year in charge of dinner every Wednesday night. As I write this I am convicted that I need to get back into this regimen.
Cooking is a great life-skill for young people to have.
Another idea is to fire up the grill. This is a way to take the burden out of dinner. Have someone grill and toss a salad to go with it. It will be healthier than going out to eat and cheaper.
SEVEN: Slow down and smell the Roast Beef
I miss visiting with people. I miss long dinners and sipping wine.
I love the process of preparing a homecooked meal.
It’s more Peaceful to be home.
We rush and rush. To and fro we go.
Even if you can’t cook, I think we are all capable of making a sandwich. It’s (probably) healthier than eating out. And it allows us to be home.
In the End, making the decision to cook dinner and eat at home is a sacrifice, but I think It’s worth it.
I’ve never regretted cooking dinner for my family. They are worth it. I fill their little bodies with health. I have leftovers for lunch or maybe another meal. It is time well spent.
There’s a lady I love out here in the country who is the worship leader for a little country church. I have been doing Bible studies with her for years. I love her.
She once said something that ruffled my feathers a bit.
“Ladies, We do what we want to do.”
We do what we want to do.
She is right. I usually have time. I always have food in my home ready to be crafted into a meal. If not, I always have something in the freezer (spaghetti, chili, or another freezer meal) that I can pull out.
I’m not too busy.
I’m not too tired.
I can do it. If I want to.
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