Necessary food skills

The recent program the Houston Link to Learning has initiated, Food Skills for Families, sounds like a course every person should be enrolled in.

I’m not a natural cook. To me, understanding what foods go well together, and what are the best methods of preparation for meals is just as complicated as motor mechanics.

However, in 2015 when I decided to become a vegetarian, I had to learn. My half Filipino family was not as willing as I was to give up the delicacy of balut and marinated pork on a bed of rice.

Especially shopping for a single person, it can be difficult to not be wasteful.

Produce is cheaper in bulk. And unless you have a freezer to extend the longevity of your meal plan, friends that like vegetarian dishes, or a compost, I always feel guilty spending money on things I didn’t fully utilize.

Some things I have learned in cooking over the last two years is having a cook book that clearly lists the ingredients, amounts, actions I took, and notes on the things that went wrong. Including a relevant title listing a couple of my favourite ingredients also reminds me why I liked eating this meal in the first place, and usually will encourage me to cook it more.

I also like to make at least one of my meals something that I can freeze for a week or two. A large batch of tomato based soup filled with all the veggies you didn’t utilize for another meal, is a great way to repurpose food.

Protein intake is not an issue for me. I regularly eat eggs, peanut butter, beans and tofu, which are all good sources of protein. As well as dark greens, like spinach, to ensure I am getting iron in my system.

The right tools always help.

For the longest time I was using a knife and my own limited dexterity to chop thin strips of green beans for my Filipino style vegetarian wraps. That stopped the day I discovered a chef’s mandolin.

And if you are someone like me that dreads cooking, call a friend to mildly distraction with a great conversation as you get into your chef flow. Or solo dance/cook to some music.

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