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3 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Cooking From Scratch



I love the fact that people have taken more of an interest in freshness and the provenance of the food that they cook.

Cooking from scratch made simple

Cooking from scratch made simple
Are you looking to ditch the ready meals and begin putting freshly prepared meals on the table each evening? This month we’re running a series called Cooking From Scratch for Beginners. Our goal is to answer all your questions and to make it a whole lot easier to cook from scratch.




But still one in eight of us Brits do not cook for ourselves! 

After the meteoric rise of the supermarkets since 1948 it's no wonder as to why we’ve opted to eat foods that are convenient and (unfortunately) processed. Particularly as they taste so damn good. 

Just a few years ago, I was in the same place as many of you. I understood that what I was eating was not optimal for my health or wellbeing. 

Now I’m no health freak but I do have a passion for cooking from scratch and I want to show you that with just a few simple steps you can enjoy a higher quality of life by cooking more and avoiding nasties like ready meals. 

Here are the three main reasons that tripped me up when I started cooking from scratch:

Confused by what you should be eating?

Confused by what you should be eating?

1. Confusion about what I should be eating

I’ve read a lot of articles and blogs on what I should be eating and when I should be eating it.

But the issue is that there doesn’t seem to be any consensus. 

Plus, some of the biggest influencers out there on social media often make exaggerated claims and bold headlines to try and grab your attention so that they can sell you something. 

Do you think that all these influencers in nutrition are actually qualified, professionals? 

There are so many conflicting theories on how we should eat.

Misleading food labels on products in supermarkets

Misleading food labels on products in supermarkets

2. Difficult to distinguish between what’s good for you from unhealthy foods

With 40,000 more food items on the shelves in supermarkets than in the 1990s, picking the right foods is harder than ever before. 

In fact, according to a Consumer Reports survey, while 73% of people choose food with a ‘natural label,’ it is not actually healthier and so-called ‘natural’ food products have been dubbed as “organic’s imposter.”

With all these clever marketing tricks by big food companies you just don’t know whether what you’re eating really has any nutritional goodness in it. 

Have you ever spent too much time in the kitchen?

Have you ever spent too much time in the kitchen?

3.  Not wanting to spend hours in the kitchen slaving away at the stove

With an average time of 5.9 hours spent in the kitchen each week in Britain, you don’t want to be spending any more unnecessary time cooking than you already are. 

With the increasing demands of modern society bearing down on us, I dreaded the idea of having to come home, go to the supermarket and then cook. 

This obviously made choosing something convenient and quick all the more tempting. 

Related content:

Cooking From Scratch: The Definitive Guide

Cooking From Scratch: The Definitive Guide

We’re launching a new series called Cooking From Scratch For Beginners, and I couldn’t be more excited to share with you answers to the following questions from my own experience:

Here are just a few of the questions we’ll be answering in our guide:

  • What is ‘cooking from scratch?’ 
  • 5 simple steps to begin cooking homemade food 
  • Reasons why you should start cooking from scratch
  • How to be more healthy by cooking homemade food
  • How to avoid ready meals by cooking more 
  • How to save time and money by cooking from scratch
  • Pantry staples that you should have when cooking homemade 
  • Does it cost too much to cook at home for yourself? 
  • How to meal plan (without the hassle)

I’ll be delving into to the answers to these questions and many more so that you can get started with cooking from scratch right away. 

I’d like to cut all through all the misinformation you may have heard. 

Why does eating always sound so complicated?

I know for a fact that it doesn’t need to be. 

Sharing food with your loved ones can create a lifetime of happy memories and should be enjoyed. 

It shouldn’t require an analysis of food labels or intensive research to work out what you can and can’t eat, or even calorie counting. 

Of course, data helps us to make more informed choices but I just want to walk into a groceries store and grab the essentials that I need with no hassle. 

I’ll focus on wholesome and nutritious food and the types of food that our great-grandparents would have enjoyed all those years ago. 

If I can accomplish just three things in this series, I hope that I can:

You'll be able to cook like a pro soon

You'll be able to cook like a pro soon

1. Get you cooking on a more regular basis

I’m not going to cherry pick any science and make any bold claims to you. 

Rather, I’m going to equip you with the correct knowledge to get you cooking in the kitchen starting today. 

If you haven’t cooked much in the past before, that’s completely fine.

I’m going to walk you through everything step-by-step and make it as easy and actionable as I can. 

From choosing the correct basic kitchen equipment to the ultimate kitchen hacks, we’ll cover everything you’ll need to know based on my many years of trying and testing. 

You can save yourself money by cooking more

You can save yourself money by cooking more

2. Convince you that you can save money and time by cooking more  

By streamlining your weekly food shop into a budget each week you’ll win back control over your food expenditure. 

It may not seem like that you spend an awful amount on your groceries each week, but those naughty extras you end up picking up in the spur of the moment add up. 

It’s in part to do with the way that supermarkets are designed: to make you spend more money every time you shop. 

Rather than travelling to the supermarket each day after work or several times throughout the week you’ll also save hours in time. 

The average UK shopper visits the supermarket 221 times a year! 

It undoubtedly adds up. Knowing how to cook with fresh ingredients and quickly but still make a delicious meal is something that everyone can do and I can’t wait to show you. 

The recipes our in-house chef Chris has created just for this series can all be cooked in less than 30 minutes (usually 20 minutes) with less than 8 simple steps. 

Tips to reduce food waste

Tips to reduce food waste

3.  Show you the advantages of cooking from scratch 

There are lists of reasons as to why you should cook homemade food more often, which I’ll share later in this series.

Here are my favourite seven benefits of home cooking but I’ll deep dive into many of them later in this series:

You’ll become less wasteful

When you choose to cook with fresh ingredients and things you already have in your house you become both less wasteful and more resourceful.

Cooking a dish with a selection of ingredients that tastes good is always a fun challenge and will help to expand your culinary repertoire.

Spend important time with your loved ones cooking

Spend important time with your loved ones cooking

You’ll help to build a more sustainable future

Did you know that the average UK household wastes an average of £470 worth of food per year?

The UK’s recycling advisory body Wrap revealed this shocking statistic in a recent study. Rather than stocking up on ready meals for the week, which may end up in your garbage bin by the end of the week or at the bottom of your freezer, cooking from scratch, by contrast, involves the use of fresh ingredients and limiting waste. 

Although you may think that these goods are perishable and will simply go off, surprisingly that’s not the case. You Gov revealed that people who cooked from scratch tended to be more mindful with their food choices and hence wasted less. 

Spend important time with your loved ones

Sharing a dinner with your family and spouse can help you to forge closer relationships with those who you care about. 

At its best, cooking involves humanity, understanding and love. From our ancestral past to modern society, cooking has been at the heart of human civilisation and I would argue feels intrinsic to our very nature. 

Cooking can be therapeutic

Cooking can be therapeutic

Cooking can become your therapy

Cooking has often been described by psychologists to have a therapeutic effect on humans and has even been demonstrated to help in the treatment of mental health issues.

After coming home from work it can be the perfect way to forget about the dramas that you may have encountered during the day. It’s all about you and what you’re about to plate up. 

Lady enjoying a ready meal

Lady enjoying a ready meal

Reduce the amount you spend on a weekly basis on food

Antonia Farzan in a recent article discussed how was substantially cheaper it was by cooking herself, particularly as she ate out less and snacked less too. 

Eat less ready meals (hooray)!

You may have started to tell that I’m no fan of ready meals and packaged rubbish. 

From the phenomenon of ‘meat glue’ that is used by big food companies to give the appearance of high-quality meat to the worrying lack of transparency on food packaging as demonstrated by the “Horsegate” scandal, there’s a lot to dislike about ready meals.

Cooking with real food ensures that you avoid these and nourish your body properly. 

Again, I’ll be going into depth on why you should try to avoid ready meals later in this series. 

Food can invoke special memories

Food can invoke special memories

Invoke special memories

Julie Ohana, who’s a culinary art therapist has said that the time that you spend in the kitchen is introspective.

There’s no time to think about other things. If you get distracted for just a second that could be your onions frazzled or the saucepan of boiling water overflowed. 

Food also has the remarkable ability to transcend time. A spoonful of a dish can transport you to another time in your life, perhaps when you were a child and your grandmother cooked you a stew just like the one you happen to be having today. 

Feel free to let me know your questions

Feel free to let me know your questions

Summary

I hope that I’ve been able to share my passion with you for cooking and why it’s so important for us as people. 

I can’t wait to work on the rest of the articles in this series and show you how to get started, save time, cook like a pro and much more!

Do you have any specific questions you’d like me to answer? Email me at james@boxdfresh.co.uk. I’d love to chat. 

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