With my recent change in status to employment, I had been cooking more than ever. It was a big personal challenge and life goal of mine to make the transition from depending on fast, instant and frozen foods to becoming my own chef. The benefits have been massive in improving my confidence as an individual, feeling useful, eating what I desire and actually learning a great deal. But there are costs that I realize associated with this too.
No matter what food is expensive. The main benefits of eating at home to me are removing elements like the cost of gas, tip, delivery fees and splitting ones meal up over a period of time. Still, there is a big ongoing and upfront cost to cooking as well.
I was somewhat lucky in inheriting my family’s cookware. However, a lot of the stuff was old, outdated and just unusable. That made it necessary for me to purchase new equipment. Some stuff were expensive one time cost. Yet I consider it all a long term investment like my newest Instant Pot.
Even then, one has to be mindful of the uses they can derive from these items. Like my old crock pot was something I only used approximately 3-4 times. The Instant Pot though feels like something I should be using regularly to really benefit and take advantage of the cost as well as huge number of recipes online.
Also, there’s the cost in groceries that are still quite high. I think where this part hurts is dealing with the cost as a single person. An example is where I bought ribs that cost a good $25. I managed to make that into 3 meals along with a gratin I converted from broccoli cheddar soup. I think total I got from those things 7 meals. But I’m estimating the total cost around $40. So that works out to around $6-7.
And with the broccoli cheddar soup, I would almost price it higher because I had just bought the Instant Pot. So the initial cost feels a lot higher compared to an over time cost. At the same time, I still have leftover soup in my other pot which might end up going to waste.
So for me the challenge is determining serving size. This part really is tough because I have bad, old eating habits and I end up using recipes that probably anticipate a family of 3-4. By the 4th meal, I’m usually ready to peace out and try something different, which means that waste is always going to be high.
Now, fast food has become horribly expensive in the past 5 years. An example is this Del Taco chicken soft taco combo I got with a cheddar quesadilla last night. It amounted to above $10. Back in high school, I believe the same meal would be around $5 maximum.
One thing though about fast food that I’ve felt has become a pertinent issue more than ever is the number of times these joints get the order wrong. More of than naught, you end up missing items, which means you either have to eat the cost or turn around and make an attempt for fixing the order.
With COVID-19, the bigger challenge is the inability to eat inside, which encourages more drive thru usage. The issue here is that the chance for failure in an order probably is higher in a variety of ways (e.g. adding cost, forgetting the correct change, etc.) So the risk is effectively not getting what you really wanted.
On top of that, the other major issue is just the limits of food choices. Without cooking I was severely limited in what I could eat. COVID-19 posed such a huge problem in raising the necessity for food delivery and becoming dependent upon fast food that I was scared initially.
Since transitioning into cooking, I’ve become a lot happier in removing that limitation. The hardest part is determining if I have the proper tools. Other than that it’s more about hitting the market and just picking things up regularly.
There’s just a huge benefit to cooking and so much to learn. But I can still see possible issues in the future if I get back to a normal job routine. The biggest is just having the time and energy to devote into cooking. It does take a lot of time to do the meal preparation. Also, it’s a state of mind similar to starting a major project anytime you want something done well.
There’s also the cleaning aspect. One thing I’ve tried to do is develop enough habits to regularly clean after cooking. Yet this past week, for instance, I just felt utterly exhausted. Some of it might be due to the contents of what I was eating. But it could also be age and lack of exercise.
The thing is that it’s a never ending battle one must devote themselves to by deciding to cook. I do worry that having a full time job and being forced to commute would eventually pull me back into poor habits. But I’m hoping that part of the fallout from COVID-19 will be to permanently eliminate office jobs and allow people the freedom to work from anywhere, which should help in giving individuals enough time to cook and clean.