by Thomas Finch
One of the success over the past couple of weeks has been overhauling the way I cook.
I used to collect and hoard recipes that I would find on the Internet and save them for a later date where I’d attempt to cook a range of different recipes every week. Not only was I overreaching in my attempt to cook new recipes, but I found I had to hunt high and low for a certain speciality ingredient or I needed a specific type of cooking equipment to really make the dish at its best.
No more though. Previously I’ve written about approaching the Internet like grocery shopping, well now I’m recommending you approach home cooking like your wardrobe. A simple wardrobe that is.
Just like we wear the same clothes week after week, we can also cook the same meals week after week.
Home cooking is known to be far better for us than processed food and is significantly cheaper than eating out at restaurants. To combat the lack of will-power and other
excuses obstacles we can face when it comes to cooking, we need to keep it simple. Otherwise we get caught up in the paradox of choice and decision fatigue.
Most of us likely eat the same cereal or similar meal for breakfast so why can’t it be the same for the other two meals of the day? I’m not advocating that the other two meals be the exact same, since we need a balanced diet overall, but a regularity in staples.
So rather than a meal plan, I suggest a meal template.
Just like our wardrobes where we likely have a smaller amount of base items like trousers; say a pair for work, a couple of pairs of jeans compared to more shirts and t-shirts; the same can be said of our meals.
A meal template consists of choosing a base dish and working on top of it. Some examples might include risotto, quesadillas, baked potato, pasta, soup, salad – these are your base templates. Then you can choose and change what you add in or on top of these items each week – like your t-shirts.
This is nothing particular new, but the approach to it may help you simplify your weekly shop and cooking routine.
- Eat the same thing over and over and change with the seasons – eating with the seasons means you get the most from your vegetables, just like your wouldn’t wear your winter coat in summer. So for example, if one of your bases is risotto, you might add squash in the autumn and asparagus in the summer.
- When you get bored of a recipe, find a new one – just like we get bored of a t-shirt or dress, you can donate it and buy a new one. This is mush easier with recipes though!
- Consider your recipes carefully – if you have two similar ones why have both? Keep your favourite one and make it more often.
- Keep your recipes simple – most of my recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less.
- Save the extravagant recipes – You wouldn’t wear a tuxedo or cocktail dress everyday would you? Any meal that takes an hour and a half or requires a long list of ingredients is best saved for a special occasion or treat yourself to more exciting dishes for when you eat out. You’ll enjoy it all the more.
- Double each recipe serving – if the recipe serves a typical family of 4, double it so you can cook once but eat twice. This saves you time the next day by simply reheating it.