I will tell you the story of my experience in the kitchen..
I have been cooking daily, since the beginning of 2013. So enthusiastic I was about home cooking and food, I even started a group on Facebook where my friends and I were actively exchanging recipes on food or cooking tips. However, after a while, I started thinking..it’s all the same, isn’t it? There’s a recipe, you follow it, and voila, you have a dish but…how can I do this better?
Still mulling over this,and while I was surfing the internet, I stumbled upon a website Keeper of the Home where one of its writers mentioned that everyone has a ‘cooking style’ – which would “determine one’s choice of recipes, your outlook on food and the kind of food you would cook and serve your family and friends”.
So I pondered ,”What’s ‘my cooking style’?”
I reflected…over the course of two months in which I had cooked almost daily, largely due to the motivation and inspirations gained from my cooking group, I tended to cook dishes which were ‘global’ -meaning I liked to cook dishes from different communities from different parts of the world.
Preparing a dish is like travelling : when you learn to cook a country’s dish, you learn so much about how this community of people live.
I also learnt when I choose the type of dishes to cook, something that cannot be disregarded is dietary restrictions. I am talking about food intolerances or allergies and high risk illnesses like high blood pressure (or high cholesterol).
I used to ‘brush over’ such ‘ailments’ , kinda overlooking them as whipping up family meals in record time took precedence over these significant health concerns.
But.. these conditions are an integral part of a menu plan and will not at any time ‘go away’ just because you want it to. Rather than try to ‘make light’ of it, one needs to ‘work harder’ at cooking ,to learn how to whip up a range of dishes considering the dietary limitations, all the while still cooking for weekly food preparation.
Therefore, another word to describe my cooking style is ‘healthy’.
An additional insight I realised about my ‘cooking style’ is I am inclined towards the Mediterranean diet and I like to cook a low gluten diet dish whenever I can.
Picture source: ‘Mediterranean Diet Pyramid’ from www.mayoclinic.org
It had occurred to me I would like to be vegan too ,but at this point I do not think I am ready to go meatless.
So, the three words which would describe my cooking style would be ‘global’, ‘healthy’ and ‘fast’.
So…how does all this knowledge tie in with being more cost-savvy in the kitchen?
Well, it means that I can bookmark ahead recipes which are more aligned with my ‘cooking style’ – Global , Healthy, Fast in preparation for weekly menu planning.
That would mean disregarding any complicated recipes and choosing simple recipes or those that can be tweaked and substituted with herbs and local spices rather than relying on salt, sugar and artificial seasonings to make them more tasty. Including dishes with white meat, more plant protein,vegetables and fruit will also become essential.
I also realised my ‘cooking style’ helped me determine the cookware and kitchen tools I needed to purchase for my small-scale kitchen. It prevented me from making thoughtless purchases which can sometimes ring up the cash register. Worst, cluttering the little space I had available already.
Yes,no doubt,a knowledge of one’s ‘cooking style’ can certainly help any novice cook, or even a veteran cook, (I’m not sure where I fall in at this point^^) become more effective and cost-saving in the kitchen!