Lost Skills: Cooking

I know. It’s a weird thing to list as a “lost” skill, right? But hear me out.

A lot of people don’t really cook anymore. They never learned, or they don’t have time, or they think it’s hard (it’s really not). The rise of convenience foods and cheap (relatively) fast food have combined with the increased and increasing need for families ot have two – or possibly more – full time income-earners to make ends meet.

It’s not a good thing. It probably showcases a lot of what is wrong with our capitalist society and economy, and we don’t even have it that bad in Australia. We have public healthcare (yay Medicare!) that means we can go to see a doctor if we’re sick, we can go to hospital if we need it, and we don’t have to declare bankruptcy afterwards. We have paid sick leave and parental leave, and we have a minimum wage in place nationally, even if it isn’t quite enough to stay above the poverty line. (Did you know? The idea of the miimum wage was that a family of four with a single income-earner on minimum wage could afford rent and bills and groceries, and actually live above the poverty line. Cool story, huh?)

The worst part of the whole cycle (with regards to the cooking part) is that cooking at home, from raw, fresh ingredients is both healthier and often cheaper than buying convenience foods. I mean, processed food is undeniably unhealthy, but it’s also expensive. Depending, of course, on where you live and where you shop, but most of Australia doesn’t have food deserts the same way the US does; for most of us here, fresh fruit and seasonal veg are widely available and a much cheaper option than a cart full of frozen dinners.

So, back to the skills part. Cooking really isn’t hard, but you have to (a) have confidence to start, and (b) have a few basic skills. Chop vegetables without stabbing yourself, cook rice in a microwave (seriosly, if you don’t have a rice cooker, put 1/2 cup uncooked rice and 1 cup boiling water in a microwave safe dish with no lid and cook on high for 10 min, that’s it), things like that.

Most cooking blogs and enthusiasts start with a recipe or two, but for people who don’t know how to cook, that’s intimidating sometimes. So – for those few who haven’t seen it already, I’d like to direct your attention to Nat’s What I Reckon on YoutTube. It’s a selection of cooking videos made by a comedian who is also a trained cook, and tells you how to cook without making it complex.

My other links for this skill are as follows:

  • Budget Bytes – a collection of recipes for those on a budget, with a cost breakdown and calorie count for each recipe. i have made loads of things from this site, and every one has been easy and delicious.
  • Recipe Tin Eats – my literal go-to for recipes for basically anything. This site is amazing, the recipes are clear and friendly, and everything I’ve tried from recipe Tin Eats has worked perfectly and tasted amazing.