Over the years, I’ve written occasional blog posts about eating both well and inexpensively. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, and if you search the internet you can find plenty of websites and books that claim to address the topic. Unfortunately, a lot of the advice and recipes you’ll find direct you to eat things that probably aren’t already in your diet and don’t sound the least bit appetizing. For instance, I personally don’t like lentils. I have no idea what a mung bean is, and don’t think I’ve ever seen them in any health food store I’ve set foot in. I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly eaten an alfalfa seed. Eating inexpensively shouldn’t have to mean acquiring new tastes, abandoning favorite foods, or shopping at strange stores. That’s not simple, and it’s not viable; you’re not living on the cheap if an hour after dinner you’re jonesing to hit a drive-thru.
My wife loves my cooking, and raves about what I think are incredibly simple meals that anyone could make. Over the years I’ve also had a number of friends who claim to not be able to cook, meal plan, or even make a grocery list. It’s not something they were ever taught, and they’ve never learned those skills on their own. They eat pre-packaged food, or they go out. Some of those folks have sought me out to teach them and advise them, give them pointers. Enough folks have made those sorts of noises that I’ve decided to write a sort of primer, documenting the things that I do, so that I can point them here when they ask for help.
I am not claiming to be an expert. I am not a trained chef, I am not a nutritionist, I am not a home economics teacher. What I am is a guy who really likes food. I taught myself how to cook because I grew up eating frozen dinners, canned vegetables, and potatoes from a box and I was sick of it. I’ve gone through a lot of financial ups and downs, so I’ve learned to stretch a dollar without making plain ramen the staple of my diet. If I can do this stuff, anyone can.
In upcoming articles, I will cover what to buy, how to prepare it, and how to work out some basic menu plans. Your feedback is appreciated, and your questions are welcome. If you have specific things you’d like me to write about, please let me know.