Cooking from scratch – I hear that term a lot lately but it seems to mean something different to everyone. So for the purpose of this post let’s assume that “cooking from scratch” means no convenience foods (mixes, boxes, etc). I’ll admit I haven’t always been a believer in the scratch method. When I got married I marveled at the 15 dishes I could make from cans of cream of mushroom soup. I was a can opening, box ripping, pull it from the freezer kind of wife. To be completely truthful, I didn’t even think it was a big deal. I figured I was cooking instead of us going through a drive through…
But as I’ve gotten older and more in touch with my food choices I see the amazing benefits of cooking from scratch. Nothing pleases me more than cooking things I’ve grown or raised myself; but that’s beside the point.
The biggest argument I about this way of cooking is the time involved; to that I say, wait, you’ll fall in love with it and the time won’t matter.
Before I go through my reasons let me say that any eating style can cook from scratch. Our family is mainly Paleo (with good dairy) so when I bake bread I am not using wheat. Some of you may be traditional eaters or vegetarian…whatever you food choices are, choosing to cook with real ingredients is always best.
If you feel like cooking from scratch 7 days a week is overwhelming then start with one meal, one day.
10 Amazing Reasons You Need to Be Cooking from Scratch
- It is a Vintage Skill that Needs Revival!
Once upon a time all food was prepared the long way. Convenience foods are still pretty new, if we consider the history of food preparation. But they seem to have taken the prime seat at our tables. The art of cooking is a vintage skill that needs to be preserved for the generations to come.
- Tastes Better
Let’s be honest, most easy / convenient foods taste like crap. They are mainly void of bright, vivid colors and tasted. Real food, cooked from scratch just tastes better!
- Your Health Will Thank You
I don’t want to go into a long lecture about the crap that is in the food you get through a drive thru, out of a box or even from the freezer section of the store. Most of us are aware that these foods are filled with chemical additives that have no place in the human body. When you start cooking, really cooking, your health improves naturally.
- You Can Make Informed Choices
The best part about cooking from scratch is that YOU choose the ingredients…not some company with profit as its main objective. This means you can grow what you want to eat, organically. Or you can purchase from farmers and ranchers that you want to support.
- You Know Your Food
This ties into make informed choices. When you are cooking real food, you can know it (I am not suggesting you have conversations with your Brussels Sprouts but knock yourself out). You can actually talk to a person that has produced your food. Because I am a backyard homesteader I don’t have the space to raise cattle; but I do talk to the family that raises our beef at the farmer’s market. I know most of my veggies because I grew them from little seeds. It is amazing to spend time in the kitchen with food that is local and sustainable.
- It Can Bring Your Closer to Your Loved Ones
There is something about preparing a meal for the people you love. There is also something equally exciting about having a meal lovingly prepared for you. Meals cooked with fresh ingredients are meant to be enjoyed at a table with your friends and family, whenever possible. Not in front of a screen… Shared meals gives you time to talk and reflect with your loved ones and that will ultimately bring you closer.
- Saves You Money
If you’re buying all your food from an expensive big-chain health food grocery, you’re not likely to save money. Their stores are filled with organic convenience food that is pretty stinking pricey. But if you shop the edges of the store where meats and fresh foods are, you’ll likely save money on healthy options. Of course even bigger savings can happen in producing your own foods and/or buying locally from farmers, your CSA or even in veggie swaps.
- Expand Your Palate
I have found the more meals I prepare from scratch the more I am willing to go outside my comfort zone. This is how I discovered I freaking love kale…who knew?!? Once you “cleanse” your palate of junk food the good stuff just begins to taste better. And when you grow delicious heirloom vegetables in your backyard it is like tasting some for the very first time.
- You’ll Become a Social Media Rock Star!
I used to make fun of people taking pictures of their food and I still laugh at myself for doing it. But, man, when I cook something gorgeous and tasty I feel the need to pat myself on the back with a post to my social media. Seriously, suddenly people are asking me for cooking tips and advice. Sure, no one is asking for my autograph because of my amazing pot roast…but that can’t be far down the line. 😉
- It is a Great Escape
Sometimes I have to force myself to make a dinner from scratch. But that is the one meal the family is usually home and has time to be together. I get up around 4:00 am most mornings so by dinnertime I am exhausted. However, I find that when I get in the kitchen I lose myself in the preparations. I forget the bills, politics, crazy neighbors or whatever is plaguing my thoughts. I can just chop, saute, sprinkle spices and taste-test until I find myself relaxed; unless I mess something up.
Be kind to yourself – if you open a can of store-brought tomatoes instead of one you canned yourself, it isn’t the end of the world. Ease yourself into cooking from scratch. Get some cookbooks from the library with pictures that look amazing. Build upon your one meal, once a week until you’re doing every meal that way. Then you’ll probably find your own reasons that you love this way of preparing meals.