How to Cook More Efficiently

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Cooking is one of those things where people are in extreme opposites. They love to cook, or they hate it. They can just about boil an egg, or cook you a meals that are absolutely Instagram-worthy . I rarely find people in the middle. So this video is about that: being exactly in the middle, smack average at cooking, where you don’t care enough to become Gordon Ramsey but you are good enough that you wont find cooking a tedious chore. I’ll give you some tips on cooking efficiently without having to spend a ton of time in the kitchen, and maybe even have some fun doing so. I’ll share an entire week of meals I cooked and how I optimized the process to make it easy on myself.

Here’s my YouTube video where I discuss this topic in detail. If you prefer reading instead, continue below.

So, I initially thought cooking wouldn’t fit the theme what I usually talk about, but as I did some research into cooking vs eating out, I found a lot of interesting statistics and research that made me think being able to cook is actually an important life skill. When it comes to self-improvement, we often talk about things like exercise and meditation for health or savings and investments for wealth. But we often overlook cooking as a skill that also helps improve both of these.

So why don’t people cook? According to data collected by Eddie Yoon, author of Superconsumers, 45% Americans hate cooking, the other 45% don’t care about it and only 10% love cooking. Why is cooking perceived as so tedious? Most likely because you don’t plan and prep in an effective manner, it takes a long time. And I think cooking is made to look more complicated than necessary because the focus is always on more complicated recipes.

The Grocery Industry Confronts a New Problem: Only 10% of Americans Love Cooking

But why should we try to overcome that and cook instead? Why not just eat out or order food? Here are 8 interesting interesting statistics I found from various articles and research papers that convey why consistently eating out can be quite detrimental for you.

  1. 2019 dining survey conducted by Zagat, found that in the US, people eat out 6 times a week on average.
    Zagat
  2. Analysis of national nutrition surveys and time use studies found that people that cook, on average, spend up to 112 minutes each day on cooking. That’s just way too long, no wonder it’s perceived as being tedious.
    Trends in US home food preparation and consumption: analysis of national nutrition surveys and time use studies from 1965-1966 to 2007-2008
  1. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, eating out is is about 5 times more expensive than cooking at home. Also, the average household spends almost half of their food budget on eating out.

    To try this, I conducted my own little experiment. I ordered food for my wife and I, for an entire week. [See YouTube Video for details about the experiment]
  1. The Obesity Action Community found in a research that the serving size at restaurants are 2-3 times larger than eating at home. 57% meals at fast food chains exceeded the 1500-milligram recommended sodium intake. Compared to home-cooked meals full-service restaurants have an additional of 205 calories, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, and 451 milligrams of sodium.
    The Impact of Restaurant Consumption Among US Adults: Effects on Energy and Nutrient Intakes – PubMed
    Abuse Notice
    Eating Out vs. Eating at Home – Obesity Action Coalition
  1. 11 out of 25 fast food chains failed testing for antibiotics.
    Chain Reaction III Report * Friends of the Earth
  1. Eating out 2 to 3 times a week increases the risk of coronary heart disease by almost 80%, and Type 2 diabetes by 27%.
    Chain Reaction III Report * Friends of the Earth
  1. People who eat fast food are 51% more likely to suffer from depression
    Link between fast food and depression confirmed
  1. Food in restaurants and cafes contain 35% higher level of toxic chemicals called phthalate compared to home cooked meals
    Dietary sources of cumulative phthalates exposure among the U.S. general population in NHANES 2005-2014

Okay, so we know that we should at least try to cook more often. But at the same time, we also know that cooking regularly can be overwhelming and tedious. So here are 9 tips that can help you cook regularly, effectively and without wasting much of your valuable time.

  1. Have the basic equipment
    Blender, Food Processor, Rice cooker, Pan, Sauce Pan, Chef Knife
  2. Shop once, shop ahead
  3. Prep once, prep ahead
  4. Understand flavor profiles and don’t memorize recipes
  5. Have an assortment of sauces / condiments
  6. Grow your cooking vocabulary beyond just two words: salt & pepper
  7. Get to know your best friend: Heat!
  8. Don’t be afraid to improvise
  9. Have fun!!!

Hopefully this will get you started. Give it a shot, try it for a week and see how you feel! And to help you further, here are 7 meals that I cooked this past week and how I use the tips I just shared to make sure that make the process effortless. For details on the recipes, check out my YouTube video.

  1. When you didn’t really do much, but still want to feel like you cooked something epic (one step above microwaving everything)
  2. When it’s Tuesday
  3. When you want to Netflix & Chill while the food cooks itself
  4. When you like to GRILL everything, but secretly want to be fancy
  5. When you would die for pasta
  6. When you want dumplings on steroids
  7. When you live in the gym fulltime and eat nothing but superfoods

I hope you found this useful and the next time you think about eating out, you will consider cooking something yourself. 😃