A survey by Hammonds Furniture has provided evidence of an often-observed trend: we’ve gotten worse at cooking. The company asked 2,000 people from across the UK, and found that some of them were shamefully incompetent at even the most basic culinary tasks. A quarter couldn’t make beans on toast; 38% couldn’t cook an omelette. Just 22% thought they could make a decent beef wellington (though admittedly that is slightly tricky).
All of this comes despite the unprecedented availability of cookery programmes, glossy hardback recipe books, and information-rich websites. So what’s going wrong?
Part of the reason that so few of us are learning to cook is that we don’t have to. We can either delegate responsibility to a single member of the household, or we can go to a restaurant or takeaway. If we walk into a supermarket, we can pick up pre-cooker meals which can simply be re-heated in a microwave. What could be simpler?
Unfortunately, this convenience comes with consequences for our health. The presence of added salt, sugar and artificial flavourings is bad news – but worse is the absence of vitamins and minerals that would come with fresh fruits and vegetables. People who cook for themselves are able to lead healthier lifestyles overall, and lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer that’s associated with a failure to cook for yourself.
How to Cook?
If you’re a complete cooking neophyte, you might struggle to figure out how to get started. You don’t want to jump straight into the deep end and attempt to make the aforementioned beef wellington.
So where should you start? With something that takes a long time to cook, for which you have clear instructions. Bolognaise sauce, stews, and chilis are best when they’re cooked for a long time. What’s more, they’ll teach you about some of the principles that you can then apply to other dishes.
You’ll have the time to slice onions, carrots and vegetables without the pressure of a ticking clock. Then you can toss them all into a pot, wait for them to brown, and then add wet ingredients, and wait for them to reduce.
Make a list of easy recipes that you can add to your repertoire, and practice them whenever the chance presents itself. Being able to make rice, noodles, pasta and mashed potatoes to a consistently high standard will elevate your cookery. Make sure that you cook the foods that you’re actually excited by – as that enthusiasm is what’ll get you through those tricky moments!
The sooner you get started with cookery, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy the results – so why not give it a try right now!