Cooking for Dummies
by Frank Martin
In college, what little cooking I did involved the microwave. Living solo for a year had me living off prepared food. The only thing keeping me from growing a gut were three mile walks every day and yoga. A combination of laziness and intimidation at the seeming complexity of the endeavor kept me out of the kitchen for longer than it should have, much the same way stress, overwork, and seeming complexity or difficulty keep way too many people from cooking these days.
We’re not dummies, but we’re trying to pound square pegs into round holes: Healthy eating just requires two minor tweaks to behavior and attitude:
1) Cook ahead: There’s no reason to cook multiple times every day thanks to refrigeration, as long as you’re willing to take the time to cook big batches of relatively simple dishes over the weekend. That way, all you really need to do is grab a container out of the refrigerator, spoon out however much you want and heat it up. Just as easy as microwave dinners with a little planning ahead, and no strange chemicals that require a biochemistry degree to decipher. I’ve included the recipe for my favorite breakfast at the end of the article.
2) Change Your attitude about food: For most of us in the west, food is about pleasure. We like to say its fuel, but with the amount we eat, especially the amount of blatantly unhealthy food we eat, we’re lying. Its not completely our fault, but we do have the power to change it. There’s nothing wrong with going out to eat once in a while. I love going out with friends and family every once in a while, but eating a relatively simple diet actually makes this more enjoyable, not less. There’s nothing wrong with herbs, spices, etc. Eating simply doesn’t preclude eating tasty food. Actually, I recommend it, just so long as that tastiness doesn’t come from things that will clog your arteries and kill you slowly. As long as you have a well rounded diet, and keep certain things off your plate, you’re good to go. (for the purposes of full disclosure, I don’t adhere to this quite %100. I live at home at the moment, and cook for myself twice a day, but eat dinner with my parents most of the time.)
These two simple things have done more to made cooking less intimidating, and more enjoyable than any research I did on the internet trying to find simple recipes. (incidentally, Leo has a couple great simple vegan recipes over here).
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups Steel Cut Oats
1) Bring six cups of water to a boil.
2) Dump the oats in and stir, making sure to get all the way down to the bottom of the pot. Keep stirring until grains start floating to the top and it thickens up a bit.
3) Set a timer for ten minutes, put the lid on, and leave it.
4) After ten minutes, dump in a healthy amount of cinnamon, brown sugar and golden raisins. Stir, set the timer for five minutes, and put the lid back on.
5) Take a taste. If the oatmeal is crunchy, cook for another five minutes or so.
6) Transfer oatmeal into a Pyrex or Tupperware container (preferably not plastic) and put in the refrigerator.
7) In the morning pull the container out, plop a hunk in a bowl and pour your favorite milk substitute over it. Cover the bowl and microwave for a minute. Sprinkle some brown sugar on it then use a fork or spoon to break it up a bit, and put it back in for another thirty seconds.