The beginning of our guide to single cooking for the cheap and lazy.
It is a stereotype that men are incapable of cooking, but it’s certainly true that many men, and many women for that matter, don’t have a lot of culinary ability. In men’s case, that may to some extent be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as boys don’t get taught what’s considered mandatory for girls. Even more than that, many of us find that we don’t have the time or resources to cook “properly”.
How many of us have bought a recipe book or bookmarked a cooking website, only to end up falling back on ramen and delivery pizza? It’s because every time we look at those recipes, we think “I don’t have any acorn squash! Or a garlic press! Or… what the hell is a double boiler?” Or it takes two hours to cook and we don’t have that, or it feeds 6-8 and we’d never finish all that, and then we start thinking about how many pizza places we’ve memorized the numbers of, and our good intentions go right to hell.
I am the same way. I enjoy tasty, flavorful food, but the cooking gene in my family went to my brother. (I got the premature baldness instead. Yay.) The kitchen in my apartment is tiny, built around a three-burner stove from the Eisenhower administration. Moreover, whenever I buy fresh produce to cook with, it ends up going bad before I get around to using it, because I’m never sure what my plans for a given evening are. I hate wasting money that way. Times are tight for everybody, and none of us have a nickel to spare.
So in what will become a regular Sunday feature here at the Good Men Project, we’re going to talk about equipment and recipes for making decent, healthy(ish) meals for one or two people, using the following design principles:
- Minimal tools: Next week we’ll talk about the bare-bones minimum stuff you need to do decent cooking. If it only does one thing, you don’t need it.
- Minimal shopping: When you’re hungry, you don’t want to run out finding where in town has a rack of lamb, you want to grab something you already have and turn it into a meal.
- Minimal spoilage: Frozen vegetables changed my life. So did jars of pre-minced garlic. Fresh onions and potatoes keep really well. Pasta, beans, and bottles and jars are all but immortal. Say goodbye to that sense of guilt as you toss out the meat or veggies you intended to get around to using.
- Minimal preparation: Yes, you can probably make your own alfredo sauce, but we both know you’re not going to. You can, however, get a jar of sauce from the store and use it as a base for something interesting. You can also cook food that keeps well in the fridge, so you’ve got tasty leftovers tomorrow.
- Minimal cleanup: Every recipe will include a list of how many dishes you will get dirty in the process of making this meal. Don’t pretend that’s not a factor.
- Dignity: You are a grown adult. You should not have to be eating ramen or a peanut butter sandwich unless you genuinely want to. Nothing in Bachelor Chow should feel like something you are reduced to eating: this is a guide to finding the maximum taste and nutrition for the minimum effort and expenditure. It won’t be as good as a gourmet meal prepared by a professional from the finest ingredients, but then, what is?
Come back every Sunday for meals, snacks, tips and tricks for getting the most out of that tiny kitchen you hardly use.