The Surprising Joys Of Eating In
The journey to adulthood is beset with all sorts of trials and tribulations. (Like actually separating whites from darks, especially if you’ve just bought a new blue bedspread.)
Mountains to summit. (Otherwise called “getting ready for work on Mondays.)
And bubbly disasters to clean up. (After learning that dish soap does not go in the dishwasher.)
But one part of adulthood that in another timeline we might have avoided has become absolutely central to our lives during the pandemic.
As adults, we’ve had to get cooking.
Fortunately, most of us figured out how to set the timer on our stoves for 8 minutes and let the boiling pasta do its thing.
But now that restaurants are opening back up, it’s worth pausing and thinking about eating in during a time when going out is newly possible.
With that, we want to highlight one of the Adulting IRLA Pack’s trickier challenges: cook all your meals for one week. Because more than a challenge, it might actually be the start of an exciting new chapter.
What You’ll Learn From Making Your Meals For A Week
The advantage you have by taking on a week of cooking now as compared to a year ago is that your grocery stores and supermarkets are sure to be stocked, so you won’t be playing mix-and-match with a picked-over, empty aisle.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can use that week of home-cooked meals to level up your cooking skills and add a bit more joy to your time in the kitchen.
Master One Ingredient - As your humble author once made a different egg dish every day for a month, consider an intense focus on using the same ingredient in every meal (or at least each of the breakfasts, or each of the dinners) to push yourself past the easy options. You’ll find plenty of interesting approaches, like understanding the different ways how an ingredient like garlic can be prepared and paired.
Cut Down On The Clutter - If you’ve ever found a bag of cookie mix for Christmas cookies hanging out in your cupboard in early August, you know how easy it is for dried ingredients, spices, and pasta to build up over time. Use your week of making meals to buy the fresh necessities while focusing on using up some of the older ingredients to make way for new inspiration after your week’s up. Plus, if you’re looking for how to combine all those seemingly random ingredients, the internet is full of suggestions and algorithms to make it happen.
- Save Money, Spend Better - While the cost of eating out versus the costs of eating in can be debated endlessly (don’t forget to value the time you spend cooking and cleaning, too!), there’s a potentially more interesting debate to be had. Can you use the money you would’ve spent eating out to buy even nicer ingredients for your home? You might be able to get a whole piece of sushi-grade salmon for what you would’ve spent on a single roll at a restaurant, or that delicious nutty flavor of black truffles for what a side of truffle fries costs at the brewpub.
After all, cooking doesn’t have to be viewed as a last resort or the cheap option. As countless chefs and home cooks have shown us, there is a creativity and a craft to cooking. It turns out that with just a dedicated week of cooking, you might be able to unlock some of that for yourself.
Now we know adulting isn’t always fun (making a mess in the kitchen’s less fun when you know you have to clean it up), but there are certainly some nice moments along the way. What’ve you learned as you’ve started to cook more?