This post is third and concluding part of the three part series on agricultural policies, food prices, and cooking at home. Part one was about agricultural policies and its impact if any on food prices. In part two there was a comparison between eating out and cooking at home. In part three I am sharing my personal experience with home cooking.
My first job was in a big metro city, Delhi far away from my home town. I was leaving in a shared apartment with my friends. There were many restaurants and fast food places close to our apartment. Travel in and around Delhi was part of the job and thus I was exposed to lot of good eat out places. No wonder I was not thinking about cooking at home. As I look back now, my reasons not to cook were similar to comments on Mark Bittman’s article. I don’t have tools, time, and skills required for cooking.
My decision to eat out sounded well thought and tasty till one of us started getting sick often. We wondered what could be the root cause? Few visits to doctor’s office clarified things. My friend was advised to eat healthy fresh food rather than deep fried food we all were devouring. Seeing impact on our friends’s health, we all questioned our eat out decision. Best we could think in order to follow the doctors advice was to cook at home, easier said than done.
We bought some pots and pans, nothing fancy just basics. Then a cooking gas cylinder. We were ready to cook, except we didn’t know how to cook. Thank god, mom helpline is always there in times of need. I called my mom asked her some recipes. Considering our skill level, learning to make rice and lentils first was no brainer. We thought how hard it could be to cook rice and lentils. As it turned out we either undercooked lentils or rice many times. We somehow learned how to cook rice and lentils in about two weeks or so.
But then eating rice daily is tough, we were missing nice warm bread, veggies, and other morsels. Enough is enough, we decided to try making a bread. Good that we decided to try it on Sunday afternoon. We wrestled with making dough for two hours or so. We had no clue about the right proportion. Flour was too much initially so we added more water. Then dough was runny so we added flour which helped but then we were not able to knead the dough properly so we added water again. You get the story now. After an hour or so we got the dough we could use. Bread tasted so well after all that labour as well supply lasted for more than a week : -)
We thought some hand holding through proper simple to follow cooking instructions would have helped the situation. Nonetheless in few weeks we started cooking decent meals and had fun while cooking.
From this experience I can certainly say that it was cheaper also to cook at home, yes even including cost of pots, pans, and gas used for cooking. With little bit of planning and cooperation from all, we were even saving time also by cooking at home. We realized how much time we used to spend driving to and from the food joint, waiting for food etc. Lot more than time it takes to cook and even clean afterwards. Of course huge benefit was knowing that we were using good ingredients and preparation was more healthy. My friend’s health improved and to me that was a good testimony of heathy eating.
Fast forward to present. I am fortunate to have a wonderful wife, Mrunal. She really knows how to cook tasty meals. Mrunal is also very eager to share her recipes and cooking experience with friends and family. We eat out sometimes but home cook meal is what we enjoy daily.