May 20, 2009

Why Not Cook More Often?

Photo credit: Plan 59

So if you want to eat healthy at every meal, you have a number of handy options.

You can:

1. Invent something amazing like a car that flies, or maybe an iPod that can read minds and play people's secret thoughts like they were music videos (with an optional porn filter, I'm thinking, though I wouldn't use the filter myself because that would be the most amusing part), then with all that money from your invention you could pay a personal chef!

2. Find someone who cares about health and nutrition as much as you do and who is also a really good cook, and then force that person to marry you; or,

3. Learn to cook!

Yes, relying solely on convenience foods and restaurant meals certainly seems like a tempting option, given the difficulty of the three choices mentioned above. But that option doesn't always work out so well.

Why not?

Because sadly, most frozen, canned, or boxed meals are really crappy for you, and taste like flavored newsprint, with the "flavor" being some combination of salt, sugar, aluminum, chalky preservatives, and melted plastic. And most restaurants don't even try all that hard to offer healthy choices. When you finally find one that does? It's usually just lying.

And what about that nice "health food" aisle we're seeing more often in stores now?

Well, sometimes there are a few good options there, but there are still lots of compromises when it comes to taste and nutrition. Like say you find a natural frozen pizza made with 100% whole wheat flour and organic tomatoes and it contains no HFCS or carcinogenic cured meat. Hooray!

But then you look at the label and discover a "serving" is the size of a graham cracker and it contains 14,732 grams of sodium.

(And yeah, I'd probably buy the pizza anyway, plop a big salad next to it, and hope the two just canceled each other out.)

Yes, as much as I know I should avoid it, I still end up eating more convenience food than is good for me. Of course I do have a few standard healthy dishes I like to make. But whenever I resolve to start searching for new recipes, there's always a really good excuse frustrating reason that prevents me from actually making any of them!

Take this example: I just saw a healthy, tasty-sounding recipe from Women's Health Magazine for Apple and Sweet Potato Hash Browns.

It looked so promising--only 5 ingredients, none of which are hard to find in a store, and I like all of them. Best of all, it sounds like an awesome way to sneak in a vegetable before 6pm--they're hash browns, which is breakfast! And while the cooking time is 18 minutes, the prep time is only 10 minutes.

So what's the problem?

Well, it's actually problem I run across frequently: the people who figure out "prep time" for magazine recipes are smoking crack!

(Although please don't be mad, Women's Health Magazine people, I'm just teasing. I totally don't think you actually smoke crack over there. Or if you do, it's probably organic, super-high antioxidant crack that slices minutes off your 10K times and makes your circuit training workouts triple efficient. We actually really, really like you here at Cranky Fitness and wouldn't care even if you did sometimes smoke crack because once you mentioned our blog in your magazine and then it got picked up on the Early Show and even mentioned by Jillian Michaels on her radio show! And while Jillian is kinda scary she's scary in a really good way. So even though I'm such a slacker that I'd start crying and probably even wet my pants if I ever had to go on the Biggest Loser and get trained by her, I totally think she's awesome).

Anyway. Where were we?

Sweet potato hashbrowns and "ten minute" prep time, that's right!

So during this 10 minutes, aside from gathering the all ingredients and utensils, and (presumably, though they didn't mention this) washing the apples and sweet potatoes, then chopping the onions... one is supposed to cut three raw sweet potatoes and an apple into "thin matchsticks."

That's right. Like regular matchsticks aren't even thin enough for these hashbrowns?

So part of my problem is that our kitchen knives are rarely in state of professionally-honed sharpness. (They don't often need to be, since my culinary specialty is peanut butter and banana sandwiches). But even with the sharpest knife in the world I don't think I have the dexterity to carve a piece of apple or sweet potato so that it resembles a thin matchstick. So how could I possibly sculpt hundreds of tiny little fruit and vegetable matchsticks in less than 10 minutes?

Ain't gonna happen!

Now I'm sure some other potato and apple configurations besides matchstick replicas would probably work for the recipe. But it's the principle of the thing! The recipe has already either lied to me about how long it takes, or accused me of being a hopeless loser with its demanding sweet potato carving expectations.

(Note: I have no idea if the matchstick problem is easily solved with a food processor. We actually own one and the Lobster loves it but I have some weird aversion to it. Probably due to a combined fear of reading instructions, cleaning a bunch of little parts, and potentially losing a digit on the sharp blades. So you food processor people are probably all laughing at my dilemma, thinking what a dope! All she needs to do is use the Matchstick Attachment! But go ahead and snicker. I still have all my fingers and that makes me very happy.)

So besides overly optimistic food preparation estimates, there are a number of other things that discourage me from trying new recipes as well. Does anything like this hold you guys back, or do you take it in stride?

1. Too many ingredients to buy that you only use a small part of for the recipe.

I hate waste, I'm a pessimist, and I'm cheap. So if it's some obscure ingredient and I've never used it before, I am not going to just assume that this recipe is going to taste so fantastic that of course I'll eventually use up the $47 worth of exotic oils, herbs, vinegars, and spices required. I especially hate when a recipe calls for 5 different perishable fresh herbs, each of which you only need a teaspoon of. Great if you have an herb garden and it's the right time of year! Not so great if each is only available by the bunch for $5 at the store.

2. Cheaty "ingredients" that are recipes themselves.

Often these are complicated home made sauces or stocks with a simple name--that have their own page if you follow the link or refer to a different page in your cookbook. If you quickly scan the main recipe, it can look like a quick easy meal! Then you discover there's a whole other stealth recipe hiding behind there which requires 18 different ingredients and hours of simmering.

3. Cookware requirements beyond "Pot," and "Pan."

We don't have much fancy stuff to cook in, because we're realists. If it's not a pot or a pan, we'd probably use it exactly once and then forget we had it.

4. "Faux" healthy recipes.

Have you ever noticed that a lot of "light" cooking resources act like you can take any old recipe your grandmother used to make, no matter how rich and delicious and decadent, and then just substitute a couple of "low fat" products, and magically end up with a "healthy" meal?

Not that there's anything wrong with modifying recipes to make them healthier! But I can't quite fool myself into thinking that a meal that contains almost nothing in the way of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, healthy fats, or lean protein, and that still mainly resorts to white flour, salt, and butter, and fatty meat for flavor, is a good candidate for heavy rotation in our meal planning. Plus the light versions rarely taste as good as the originals.

5. Ingredients that more "selective" family members won't eat.

Alas, the Lobster tries hard to be flexible, but she was not raised to like most vegetables, seafood, or grains other than wheat or corn. Many McSlacker cooking adventures thus happen when she's out of town.

6. Laziness!

(This is probably the "real" reason the other 5 seem like such huge obstacles).

What about you guys, what keeps you from making recipes that otherwise sound like a good idea? Have you found any hints or shortcuts that make healthy cooking easier?


  1. As a tip... I started to learn to cook when I was in college, living by myself and my microwave oven broke. Since I was low on money it didn't get fixed for months for eventually I ended up heating my food on the gas oven. I discovered that the food was more tasty so usually when I cooked something I started adding other things for flavor. It all went down hill from there.

  2. Do you have a box grater? I probably would have used that for the hash brown recipe. Or a mandolin (the kitchen gadget, not the musical instrument).

    I like to cook when I have time. I know how to cook (thanks to my Mom letting us kids go to it in the kitchen from an early age). But when I'm tired I don't want to do anything time consuming that is going to make a big mess in the kitchen. Because then I will have to clean up the mess and I will be even more tired. I need a maid. :)

  3. A grater does sound like a practical solution, java chick.

    And I never heard of a mandolin other than in a musical context. I'm intrigued!

  4. I totally agree with you on every single point! I kept nodding my head and thinking "You are so right sister! That is so true!"

    I really do need to learn to cook beyond tacos and spaghetti though. sigh.

    Maybe I'll just put my thinking cap on and invent something that will allow me to have my own personal chef. Too bad the Slanket idea was alredy taken.

  5. I love to "cook!" It's another way of doing art. I may not always make something that tastes good, but I can almost always make something that looks pretty.
    Presentation is half the fun...well, until they taste it anyway.

  6. Crabby, the solution is to cheat mercilessly. Recipes have a great deal of leeway, especially in my house.
    Matchsticks my ass. The point is to make the pieces small. Adjust the cooking time as needed. Punt any spice you don't have or substitute another one. Recipes are guidelines at best and I usually treat them as something to ignore.
    If you want dirt-easy prep get a crockpot. Throw everything in and then spend the day doing whatever.
    Just my thoughts. YMMV.

  7. My first problem is visual. I find that the wonderful professional photo in the recipe in no way matches the "after" that is produced by my own hands.

    Second problem is temperature which is a pain since the recipe may say simmer on a medium heat, but we have 14 settings from candle power to raging inferno of a power burner. I'm sure medium falls in there somewhere, but the end result may end up soupier or much stiffer that original thought. See visual above

  8. Stealth recipes are my Pet Cooking Peeve. (I don't pet a lot of peeves.) "And for the filling, here are these other 25 ingredients we didn't bother to tell you about up front."

    As for learning to cook, I cooked my first complete meal by myself when I was five and had to stand on a chair to reach the top of the stove. I have trouble relating to people who don't cook. Huh, what?

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  9. I hate recipes where I have to look up another recipe before I can make the main recipe. Example: make suace, stock, and topping first THEN you can make the poached salmon recipe. Nope.

    I just get busy with life and dinner comes around I want to be in and out of the kitchen. I am super terrible about "convenience" foods and it is something that has been bugging me lately. I know I need to stop but it's just so darn easy. Small steps.

    Hey, did you notice in that pic that those women are checking out that guy's rear? Naughty women.

  10. Kelly, you're right, the gals are totally checking out the young guy's ass! How could I not notice?

    And Maryanne, you don't pet many peeves? I have a whole Peeve Petting Zoo you can come visit any time. My motto: leave no Peeve UnPetted!

  11. Oh Crabby! You never cease to get me laughing in the morning and for that I thank you! "Cooking" is a relative term, but I "cook" pretty much every meal I eat. I've now gotten to the point that I hate eating out or buying packaged foods because I don't feel I should compromise on what i eat when i know i can make it the way i want it! :D Am I annoying you yet? hehe. My favorite simple "recipes" include throwing a bunch of crap (er...stuff) together and voila! health food! Trader Joe's has made it so easy with pre-packed, pre-washed, veggies in the fridge aisle. They have a stir fry mix and even have SWEET POTATOES already cut and washed in a variety of shapes! You could simply spray Pam on a cookie sheet, add the sweet potatoes and cook in your oven at 450 for 20 minutes and you'd have sweet potato fries! I like weird combos, so i'll cook the stir fry and then add a little fake egg and fake sausage and it tastes delicious with some salsa! I am also the biggest fan of WRAPS! I will take a can of black beans, rinse, cook in a pan with onion and then make a wrap or whole-wheat quesadilla. Oh, Crabby, it can be so simple! Sorry for the novel! I am waaaaay too chipper this morning!

  12. I'm actually planning to start cooking in the next few weeks. I have a cookbook of cheap recipes that contain temperatures and times for everything. I have high hopes, but unfortunately fears of losing my fingers/getting burned and laziness stop me.

    But I will learn to cook at least 3 meals before I turn 22 (mid-June)

  13. I think you covered all the bases, but I have to agree totally with Leah. I cheat on recipes all the time. You'll probably know instinctively what might work and what not to attempt.

    I've started using a slow-cooker since Christmas, and i LOVE it. Just choose your meat, veggies and flavouring and you're set.

  14. Hey Crabby- long time no comment (I know, I know, I have been such a horrible follower of Cranky Fitness.) Anywho, I just wanted to commiserate re: the whole cooking healthy thing. I am lucky (kinda) in that I never really cooked before I moved in with the hubby and then of course I HAD to start cooking if we didn't want to go broke eating out. Unluckily, hubby was raised much like the Lobster and is afraid of most veggies, all seafood (unless it's fried shrimp), and well, pretty much everything else I survive on. healthy presents a fun dilema and honestly we often eat the same meal but with slight variations.

    I think you should write a Cranky Fitness cooking book! Make sure all recipes have less than 10 ingredients, no expensive herbs, and reasonable prep time! I'd buy it in a heart beat : )

  15. Yes x 6! You're spot on with these complaints. I consider a good recipe to be something I can make perfectly the first time, from ingredients already in my cupboard, and is so easy that I can remember all the steps next time around without ever having to refer to the recipe again. I'm lucky enough to be married to a man who cooks, but he's unlucky enough to be married to a woman who shows her gratitude by lecturing him about how every meal should contain a little fiber and protein.

  16. One word m'dear: preparation. As in ahead of time. When you have the time. Hash browns can be easily frozen. So spend a weekend morning making some and then wrap and freeze. All you'd have to do is microwave. As for sauces and all those other special things, they can also be made days before you cook the main meal. I actually do most of my cooking on the weekend and then all I have to do is cook the things that don't keep well, add a side dish and serve. This method takes about two hours out of my weekend but then dinner takes 15 minutes or less in the evening. It keeps me from staring blankly into the refrigerator trying to decide what to cook before giving up and popping a frozen pizza into the oven. :)

  17. #6 I think it most people's. Then there's the good 'ol excuse of "I don't have time." Most people probably don't make time is the issue, like me. But, I've started working on it this week and discovered that I think I really like it. I think there's something wrong with me! lol.

  18. I love to cook - put myself through university working in restaurants and bakeries, and I find it relaxing. I'm one of *those* people who has all those wierd kitchen gadgets int he stores...but I do use them :)
    I've been on a kick this year to make as many things from scratch as I can. It takes time. It costs a bit more, but it tastes better - the only issue is time.
    I have the tools and skills and even I would find it hard to chop up those sweet potatoes and apples into matchsticks in 10 minutes...(and there are food processors that would do that in a pinch)

    My suggestion - my sister got a cookbook for christmas that has 10 weeks of meal plans - with a grocery list for each week. There are a bunch of cookbooks like this where all the recipes are broken down into actual prep and cooking and what to do when, so that even if you haven't really cooked before, you can make them. Different recipes have different times so you can mix and match with your schedule. She's found it helps here get thru a week of meals without just ordering take out or making boxed stuff that often...

    As for me? I just do it...the more you cook, the faster and easier it gets. I'm amazed by how many people I work with who do not cook. I've looked up a lot of food additives and I definitely *don't* want them in my diet...this is my way around that.

  19. I cook a lot. I use a CRACK pot when I want something healthy and I don't feel like making a big deal out of things. Some chickpeas, beans, onion and curry & garam masala are good for starters. If you want to go another route (which I am sure you went back to sleep by now), chicken, onion, beans, cumin, garlic, chili powder. You can also skip the poultry and bean it to death. Cook this stuff over night on low Or all day long. Throw on some shredded cabbage and some salsa and you're good to go.

    I use a food processor. Mine is an antique from the 80s.

  20. Ha, it is like those celebrity chefs on TV that whip up a meal in 20 mins - have you noticed all the ingredients are all washed,sliced, diced and ready to use all on neat saucers? And who does the mountains of washing up after? Fairies?

    Seriously, I cook a lot (heck, it was cooking that got me into this predicament in the first place) so trying out tasty healthier meals and keeping them as simple as possible is quite fun!

    Those Hash browns sound lovely (I would grate, I think)!

  21. Curry paste! Makes Thai food, which is my fav, very easy. My ex-bf had a mandolin, which does make matchsticking very easy. I always still did the old fashioned way, unless I could convince him to do it, as I was afraid of losing a fingertip or knuckle. When I follow recipes, I often ignore what herbs they request, and use whatever I have, or is in the backyard. Same with veggies, they may want certain ones, but I'm using whatever's available and needs to be used. I usually try to keep it simple, and I like uncomplicated recipes that are flexible.

    But you're right, processed food and eating out, at least for me, does not help with my weight loss goals.

  22. Buying ingredients I won't otherwise use is one thing that keeps me from trying new recipes. Plus, the whole time thing - a lot of recipes take too much time. I work 2 jobs. I am already way short on time and don't want to spend any of it in the kitchen.

    Plus, they can be messy and involve too much clean-up. It's a lot of work that I just don't want to be bothered with when there are quicker, easier options.

    I also am not a highly skilled cook so many recipes are too complicated. They sometimes use stuff I don't have too - appliances and such.

  23. Why must you torture me Cranky. I squee everytime I see Jillian's name...

    Okay anyhow, I don't like waste either, so if a recipe calls for organic kumquat root from the african jungle and the only place they sell it is in a specialty shop online that requires you to buy a pound of it, I will usually abandon the recipe.

    Cranky have you happened to catch "Cook yourself Thin" on TLC, the recipes they make are pretty good and don't seem all that complicated.

  24. I love waking up and finding a wonderful Crabby post waiting to be read!

    However, there's a fatal flaw to this post. Yes, I'm sorry to say you missed Something Big. Tsk. One huge problem with cooking is that it leaves you with Dishes To Clean.

    Me, I avoid the whole problem by eating as many raw foods as possible.

  25. Dang! Those two women are /totally/ checking out that guy's rear end. I hadn't noticed that before.

  26. This hit home! I am a terrible cook! Too many years of long work hours & never felt like cooking after that crap & never learned. I do, now, know how to make a few things that meet my needs & I can change up the seasoning for taste.

    As for why not anything more, again, not a good cook no matter how I try; I HATE THE CLEAN-UP!!!!; recipes with too many ingredients are not for me - I like the short list!; like you again, not many pots & pans in this house.. only the bare minimum to get by; OK, laziness is in there too!!!!

    I just do my healthy stuff to a taste that meets my needs & I try to make something my hubby will not choke on for him.. :-)

    I love reading you guys.. so funny!

    We are alike in this one for sure!

  27. Living alone is another good reason not to cook. Even if we made the giant assumption that I enjoyed cooking, I'd end up eating the same thing for days. If I froze the leftovers, that wouldn't make it any different from eating those prepared meals by the Cuisine, Choice or Watchers people except that I had to take the time to cook and clean in the first place.

    I want the 10 minutes to include prep, cooking time and cleaning and that's not very realistic unless I eat salads all the time. Or stuff salad-like ingredients into a tortilla (my specialty).

    My oven broke about 2 years ago and I haven't missed it. When I hire that imaginary personal chef he'll have to do the cooking somewhere else!

  28. Best. Cooking. Post. EVER. It's posts like this that make me think we were separated at birth. See, I WANT to cook. But I never really learned how growing up. And the prep always takes me five times as long as they say it will. And your gripe about 55 special expensive ingredients?? I can't count the number of people I have bored with that complaint!!

    All that said, I have nothing useful to add except: Word, sister.

  29. Like everything else you get better with practice: I can cut veggies into small pieces pretty quickly because I do cook at home, but my brother who is a professional chef can work at about triple my speed (so I suffer his jeers when we are cooking together for holidays). It is probably worth accepting the learning curve for the long term. It helps to use a really basic recipe book to start with- no hidden steps!
    I'd agree with using a grater (box or the grater disc from the food processor) for the hash browns. mandolins look cool but are pretty hard to use without slicing the tips of your fingers!

  30. I also HATE CLEAN UP!! I don't have a dish washer as my house mate is anti dishwasher, don't know why, and she will clean my dirty dishes as a compromise but my guilt won't allow that.
    I also don't like to make anything that takes more than 30 mins, with the exception of a big ole pot of gravy (marinara). That must be cooked for the better part of the day and I kind of like it.

  31. It really is about practice. You will be able to chop, cut, saute, everything faster as you do it more. You will also get beter at figuring out substitutions for things that you don't like or don't have on hand as you cook more. It really can be addictive as one of the commenters said you get the "I could make this better myself" mentality and you're right. You can.

  32. I cook all my own meals on Sunday, stick them in the fridge and freezer and microwave them during the week. I've gone so long without eating commercially prepared foods that I can't eat them now. They taste like chemicals and plastic.

    The trick to cooking is to use simple recipes and time-saving tools. The crock pot, rice cooker, bread maker and veggie steamer are your friends!

  33. So I'm glad that everyone has already mentioned the wonder of the Mandolin (as long as you don't slice off your fingers in the process). That or a mini food processor. I don't leave home without them.

    So what keeps me from cooking healthy food? Two things:

    1) Husband.
    2) Kids.

    Seriously; even when I drag my big, sorry butt home in time to cook, if I make something healthy, they scream and run from the room. And then I end up eating my low-fat, high-fiber black bean and rice casserole all by myself. And I don't care HOW healthy your recipe is: If you eat 7 cups of it at a sitting because your family has abandoned you in favor of Taco Bell, you're not going to lose weight.

    So I'm wondering how I can hire Smilin' Bob there to bring his chafing dish and cook at MY house...?

  34. I second the grater suggestion.

    I am a cook by intuition. I never use recipes. I also don't ever use the oven (only use the stovetop) and don't own a microwave (don't believe in them, freak me out, I know, I'm weird).

    I wind up alternating veggies with eggs or meat, different kinds of spices, etc. Sometimes, I make soups. I've been known to make a mean veggie packed marinara sauce.

    Frozen veggies, a wok and some olive oil are daily staples for my "chefery". Simple, quick and tasty stuff can be had, even if cooking's not really your thing.

    My diet probably lacks variety, but I enjoy it anyway.

    I also love almonds, olives, feta cheese, and other healthy in moderation snacks that don't require any cooking or prep.

  35. Cooking can be done: quickly; painlessly; healthy. I just haven't found a way to do them all together. I am especially bad at the healthy. Box graters or mandolins are your friends though and worth the investment.

  36. Why do they call it a grater if it makes less of things? They should call it a lesser.

  37. Yo. I never came clean before, but maybe I should: I sent an editor at Women's Health a link to your blog, SisterSkinny and some others in an effort to get them to write a freaking blog that's actually updated ohIdunno, daily? They took the story from there. My college journalism professor is an editor and he helped me find the right person to send the email to. So there. Now you know! I do PR for a living; I got skillz.

  38. OMG, Heather, thank you!!!!!

    Seriously, that was HUGE for Cranky Fitness. PR is so not our forte. You do indeed have skilz!

    If we could ever make more than lunch money from this thing in order to have a "budget," we would so try to hire you!

  39. Please do sign me up to help with the Cranky Fitness Lazy-Ass Cookbook project! Sounds like fun! (We readers could perhaps submit some of our favorite lazy-ass tips and recipes? And you know people would buy it alone for the Magic Cupcake recipe....)

    I married a guy who can cook really well. (Me? I didn't really bother much with it until I met him.) Luckily/unluckily, he does most of the cooking at Casa de la Pubsgal. (Luckily, because I don't have to; unluckily, because I want to eat too much of it in one sitting...although having leftover lunch is a nice consolation prize for not stuffing myself silly the night before.) Dinners pre-Mr. were usually a ripped-open bag of salad with lunch meat and/or cheese chopped up on top of it, a bag of microwave popcorn, and a diet Coke.

    Nowadays, I've upgraded to the lazy ass chef's best friends: Mr. Grill and Ms. Crockpot. We usually throw everything on the grill (since the kidlets prefer grilled stuff), but we do enjoy the crockpot now and then.

  40. Oh well thanks!! I forgot that you can't see MY blog from my profile, you've stopped by before --

    You're most welcome. Holla if you get some bucks!

  41. i learned to cook from the Hare Krishnas, so i am queen of exotic spices. EVERYTHING has turned out wonderful, except the ginger green beans at Thanksgiving 18 years ago. my son even turned his home ec teacher onto ghee. so, i guess my husband fell into the "marry a cook" category.... i love it. i love trying new things, and i've found some really great recipes in really strange places(like Kraft newsletters). doesn't mean i use them the way they planned. i usually add some stuff and take out others. like carrots. i hate cooked carrots.

    easiest short cut recipe in the world: chicken philly wraps
    2-3 boneless skinkless chicken breasts.
    1 1-lb package pepper and onion blend.
    2packages deli sliced white cheese, like provolone or monterey jack

    turn your oven on broil. line a cookie tray with foil. put breasts on. salt, pepper and garlic breasts. once one side starts to brown, flip over, salt, pepper and garklic. continue til browned. take out. line another cookie sheet with foil, or just take off chicken and dump entire pepper package on tray. even it out, then salt pepper and garlic. put in broiler. while peppers cook, cut chicken breasts into strips. when edges of peppers are slightly browned, evenly distribute chicken. lay cheese slices over top. cook only until cheese melts, 1-4 minutes depending on cheese. take out, and scoop onto tortillas.

  42. Hilarious as always. Love all the crack commentary.

    I try to find blogs that make healthy recipes in few, common ingredients and duplicate! (or make them my own) My faves are Kitchen Parade, Aggie's Kitchen and For the Love of Cooking. But i'm always looking for more to try! The biggest thing that holds me back from a recipe are LONG ingredient lists or tools I don't have. I was DYING to make this frittata thing but needed some kind of special pan?? I dunno. Didn't buy the pan - didn't try it!

  43. I've had a great laugh. Thanks!
    I would love to see a Cranky Cookbook, but 10 ingredients sounds too hard for me. A couple of Aussie mums have brought out cookbooks called "4 Ingredients" and they have been on the Australian bestseller book list for months now. We are really lazy downunder. :)

  44. Hi Crabby,

    I hate the whole kitchen thing, still when I focus on my meals and do the planning and the cooking, I usually feel better and lose weight. Still, I have been cooking for decades and am just plain tired of it.

    So without whining any longer, I will confess to finally including raw veggies in my daily food intake. The prep and clean up are both quick and easy and there is no cooking involved.

    Of course, for me raw veggies are an acquired taste but sacrifices must be made.


  45. Recipes are the kitchen I am an artist, and can not be bothered with silly recipes. OK, alright already. I am just to lazy to follow a recipe, and I think lots of the people writing them really were smokin' crack.

    I just look at a recipe and see if I have similar ingredients and sort of follow the directions. I choose recipes that only use real food, and I keep as many of the foods from on hand as I can. Suprisingly, it works out pretty good most of the time. I really think the key is good fresh wholesome ingredient--most of the time you end up with something pretty good!

  46. I didn't learn to cook much really (besides scrambled eggs and baking cookies) until I was married at 46 years of age. In college and beyond, for a long period all I had was a hotplate and a microwave. It wasn't conducive to "cuisine", LOL!

    But now I cook a lot, I just keep it simple. Scrambled eggs, omelets, quick grilled chicken or fish, stir fry, quick pan fry, that sort of thing. So I don't need recipes much and when I do make them, prefer the ones with really short lists of ingredients. Sometimes I branch out and do a longer recipe, but it's not every day.

    Besides, most recipes I end up altering anyway. I can rarely make anything exactly as I read the recipe. Hubby seems to think I do a good job picking the few recipes I prepare though.

  47. One more you forgot!

    7. Recipes intended for more than one or two people.

    I'm a college student, so right now when I cook I'm only feeding myself. Sure you can make a bunch of food on the weekend and keep it for the week, but eating the same thing day after day gets really tedious really quickly.
    The problem is compounded by never being able to find fresh ingredients in smaller sizes. Somehow a pound of broccoli is more than I can handle. Heck, even bagged salad goes all mushy before the week is out.


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