With our increasingly disparate schedules, time for preparing food is becoming a luxury. Food marketing plays on this shift, encouraging us to grab and go prepared food on the way to work, or scarf an energy bar for lunch. The bad news is prepared foods tend to need preservatives, colourants, or other agents to make them more presentable in a grocery setting. While not all prepared foods are unhealthy, they can make the task of eating healthy much more daunting. You’re also bypassing healthier foods that require work (fruits and veggies) for ones that are more convenient (crackers and chips.)
With food availability leaning towards the convenient and prepackaged, we’re using our kitchens less. In essence we’re outsourcing the preparation of our food to a factory.
You can trump billions of dollars of marketing effort with a simple piece of metal: the lowly kitchen knife. Getting comfortable with that humble metal edge can change your life – It transforms cheap, healthy, accessible raw fruits and vegetables into convenience foods. The great thing about plant based foods? They have no nutritional labels, because they are all just good for you. (Except for maybe grapples.)
Knife skills are a cornerstone of culinary arts. As a major component of mise en place, they form up to 80% of the task of preparing a meal. So if you’re comfortable with a knife, you’re well on your way to making home cooked meals.
The good news is that you don’t need decades of training to get chopping and dicing root veggies for ratatouille. Just learning a few basics will get you deftly breaking down gai lan for stir fry quicker than you can nuke a Hungry Man. Also you really just need two or three good knives: a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife. (spend most of your cash on a good chef’s knife). Check out a few Youtube videos or even take a class. A knife skills class is going to be more useful to you than that South East Asian cooking class, any day of the week. For actual practice, break down a few onions (you can always just caramelize them). You’ll build your confidence and speed very quickly if you prep food every day.
Reclaim your stake in preparing your own food & get familiar with your old friend in the kitchen.