0854: "Learning to Cook"

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Nonesuch
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Nonesuch » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:15 pm UTC

BAReFOOt wrote:
Giygasfan wrote:This is what I mean. You are assuming everyone has accesses to a place to store those items, a reliable place to cook, and the budget to buy them. I have none of those. That's "what's so hard about cooking."


Place? You have a fridge and a small cupboard space don’t you? That’s all you need for all those items.
Reliable? Well, make a time schedule. Or just do what I recommended with working together with others. I did it, it was fun and I only had to cook once a month. And so can you.
Budget? You’re obviously not studying economics. ^^ Why do you think that having an entire crew work for you and have a large special room with everything (the cafeteria), involving lots of processing, would be cheaper than doing it yourself?? Something is very wrong with your perception. Processing always costs money.


I think you missed Giygasfan's earlier post, especially when you start in about budgeting. Some colleges REQUIRE you to purchase a food plan if you live in the dormitories. My school required this. If you are paying with your own money or on a limited budget from your parents, you won't necessarily be able to fit in many homecooked meals. I think I arranged one every couple of weekends when I was an undergrad, but I had a bit more funding to do so as I worked and my parents were footing my major bills. My roommates always complained if I wanted their help on buying ingredients. It became more scarce as time went on, and I relied on some campus groups where the lovely faculty and their husbands and wives would offer us home-cooked meals on weekends. It was cheaper that way, although I ate a lot of chili, pizza and assorted casseroles.

Heck, my school didn't even provide us with a mini-fridge. If I wanted one I had to buy it myself, and add it to my storage locker over the summer. If you happened to be one of the lucky 64 or so to get suites, then you had a little kitchen to four people. (But I had other issues at that point.)

Technical Ben wrote:I still cannot imagine the "food islands" spoken about in America. I've not been to a 3rd world country like Africa, but I did see Brazil in South America. There were poor (favellas) and rich. They still ate chicken soup, chicken pie or just rice and beans etc. Only the "well off" had the convenience food of cheese and ham sandwiches. The poor actually had to cook stuff.


I'd be willing to bet that the local communities raise those chickens and sell them at local markets. There are laws in place about raising food animals like that within city limits in most urban centers of the United States. We generally have to find our chicken at the grocery store.

I'm not sure what qualifies as a food desert, but I know that when I go to buy fresh produce, there's a chance it's moldy on the shelves at the store. Root veg often molds within two days of bringing it home. You buy a 5lb bag of potatoes today, you'd better be cooking up five pounds of potatoes tonight. Things last a little longer in the wintertime, but we're the end of the road for most of the produce trucks. All the folk in this thread who are talking about amazing things like farmers' markets, non-chain grocers, specialized delis, I'm so very jealous. Where we live, nobody wants to open up specialized food stores. There are too many impoverished, transient people here to have the money to support such businesses--and those who actually make a decent salary in the city will do their shopping up to an hour and a half away. Most of the locals are content to get their grocery shopping done at the Walmart.

I'm just glad I found a butcher (took me over a year of living here to locate him), because Walmart meat has yet to convince me that it's actually made of meat.

screamingaddabs
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby screamingaddabs » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:17 pm UTC

I can cook basic stuff that tastes ok, fills me up and gives me a balanced diet. I can usually cook these meals in about half an hour, normally only actually doing anything for half that (the rest is spent playing my guitar usually whilst stuff simmers/bakes etc). The cheapest of these meals costs less than £3, the most expensive would probably be about £10 and both feed both myself and my partner. Unless you live somewhere with a vastly different economic climate then the economic argument is just rubbish (apart from maybe the self employed who earn enough in half an hour to cover the difference). If you have a dish washer then washing up takes next to no time.

The time argument could be valid, but to be honest if you can't find half an hour you work too hard! I suppose if you really don't enjoy cooking and have plenty of money then this could be a valid reason to eat out a lot. I wouldn't want to eat out that much personally cos I reckon I'd get pretty fat, what with most meals at restaurants being "richer" food (usually more meat and fat etc) than I would cook.

Over all though, it's different strokes for different folks, just cos I cook I don't think everyone else has to! I find it a bit odd that someone wouldn't ever cook, but I find many things a bit odd that some people do every day (like watching hours of TV every evening, or getting pleasure from swimming lengths at the swimming pool to give two random examples).

In summary - cook or don't cook, but don't expect everyone to do the same. People are different, sometimes illogically so and sometimes for very good reasons!

Netzach
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Netzach » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:27 pm UTC

Cooking isn't hard, it's utterly selfish. There are people who make their living from cooking. I don't want to ruin that by cooking myself. Besides, it's disrespectful to farmers, fishermen and other food producers not letting professionals handle the product of their hard work.

evincarofautumn
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby evincarofautumn » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:38 pm UTC

Netzach wrote:Cooking isn't hard, it's utterly selfish. There are people who make their living from cooking. I don't want to ruin that by cooking myself. Besides, it's disrespectful to farmers, fishermen and other food producers not letting professionals handle the product of their hard work.


When the zombies come, you're screwed.

Iranon
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Iranon » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:49 pm UTC

Cooking allows many pleasing opportunities to geek out. Eating out or pre-made meals often involves very inelegant compromises - compensating for inferior ingredients or dodgy processing with more salt, flavouring agents, sugar etc... getting things that are made properly tends to be significantly more expensive AND time consuming when eating out.
If I cba to cook, I'll just nibble on some rabbit food until in the mood for a proper meal again.
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Mobius Strip
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Mobius Strip » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:10 pm UTC

Netzach wrote:Cooking isn't hard, it's utterly selfish. There are people who make their living from cooking. I don't want to ruin that by cooking myself. Besides, it's disrespectful to farmers, fishermen and other food producers not letting professionals handle the product of their hard work.


Nonsense, the money you save by cooking can be put into any other sector of the economy and put jobs there. Ultimately the act of cooking itself is a productive one, being productive and sharing what you created is the opposite of being selfish.

As for disrespecting food producers, I think being close to the source of your food is actually very respectful to them. Being farther removed so that the only food you see if prepared by a cook so you don't think about or know where your food comes from isn't showing farmers and fisherman any more respect.

The only thing separating a professional cook and an experienced person cooking at home is that one is being payed for his work and the other is saving money from his work, and that cooking at home is probably more enjoyable since you aren't repeating the same activity all day.

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Spoom
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Spoom » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:30 pm UTC

Netzach wrote:Cooking isn't hard, it's utterly selfish. There are people who make their living from cooking. I don't want to ruin that by cooking myself. Besides, it's disrespectful to farmers, fishermen and other food producers not letting professionals handle the product of their hard work.

By that standard, I'm being selfish by not buying a Ferrari, and open source hobbyist developers are being selfish by simply doing what they like to do.
All other things being equal, the simplest solution is ale.

Edrees
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Edrees » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:01 pm UTC

LOL wow this comic is scary accurate. Not so funny as it is one of the "wow, get out of my head Randall" moments.


StClair wrote:In my case, it's a matter of "time spent cooking + cost" vs. "time to go get something + cost", the sums of which are usually close enough to equal that I punt and go for the option that doesn't require me to stand over a stove. I have other, preferred ways to "unwind" aka spend my time, which cooking time takes away from - also, food that other people (who know what they're doing) prepare is likely to be as good or better than what I'd make myself. Acquiring sustenance is a chore and a distraction, not a hobby.


This describes word for word why I don't cook and why I have no interest in doing it. I have 4 to 5 brief hours I get to enjoy after work and before bed, I'm not gonna spend 20% of my free time cooking food. I'd rather hit up my guitar, play video games, or go to the gym. You have to enjoy cooking to some degree in order to keep it up, and that I definitely don't.

I've been through this flowchart several times and eventually I decided cooking just isn't for me.

tjunction wrote:People always moan that cooking is expensive.

It's not.

It can't be more expensive than takeaways or buying pre-made. The economics don't work out. Any restaurant or food manufacturer has to make a profit, so any manufactured food you buy has to include the cost of the ingredients, plus labour costs, plus a profit. If it appears cheaper to buy pre-made than making your own, then it must be because the ingredients in pre-made are cheaper, i.e. lower quality, i.e. you're eating crap.


While cooking is probably somewhat cheaper than takeaways or pre made items, the gap isn't that large. This is because those restaurants buy things in such bulk (for thousands of people a day) that they can buy it dirt cheap, unlike you who probably buys these ingredients in the quantities probably at one hundredth to one thousands of these restaurants. On top of that, for me it's about time + money. Time is actually more valuable than money, so I'm not willing to spend an xtra 30 minutes to save an extra 2 dollars. It's just not worth it for me.

Gobo wrote:Time: I don't consider time spent on preparing my own food to be wasted. Nutrition is a basic biological need, so I lump it in with things like hygiene and getting dressed—that time is just not available for leisure activities. You don't think "Hey, I could get more goofing off in if I stopped brushing my teeth or showering," do you? (And with cooking, even that is negotiable, depending on the leisure activity, since I can put something in the oven and play Minecraft while it's baking, or put something in a furnace in Minecraft and let it cook while I'm mixing ingredients.) Waiting to be served at a restaurant cuts into leisure time, just as much, it's just that we've become acculturated to call eating out at a restaurant itself to be leisure.
.


While this is a pretty nice positive outlook, and I recommend it for anyone who likes to enjoy cooking, your logic isn't exactly the best. in your analogy, rather than stopping to brush my teeth or showering, I'm buying an electric toothbrush that will allow me to brush my teeth faster but at a more expensive cost. Your logic doesn't hold because I'm still eating and still getting my food. It's not like because I don't want to spend the time to cook that I suddenly stop eating food, and that's what this method suggests. And when it comes to my leisure time, I assure you, I can't take breaks to cook while I'm at the gym, I assure you. Your reasoning all works for you because of your specific situation, but let's not pretend like cooking is the best option for everyone, because it isn't. Its the best for some and not great for others, and we can leave it at that.

Alltat
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Alltat » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:09 pm UTC

This comic just makes me sad. Most people who find that cooking yourself is expensive usually just buy the wrong things. In a household of three students, we often end up spending about the same amount of money on food for three people as others do on food for just themselves. And we still generally eat better. Seems to be a cultural thing though, as I've known exchange students who came here (Sweden) and were shocked to find out that even the people who "can't cook" by local standards were still pretty okay at it.

Regarding leftovers, they're not a bad thing. They're awesome. Just eat them for lunch the next day.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby bmonk » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:31 pm UTC

Two thoughts on the chart:
1. It needs an arrow from the months pass back down to ordering pizza. (What else is there to eat while waiting for the store-bought ingredients to spoil?)

2. To escape the vicious cycle, next time start by finding a good introductory cooking book. Then read it, get inspired, and cook some good foods. That will improve your skills until you can cook well enough to move to a more general cookbook.

Or else, if financial analysis indicates that cooking is counterproductive, forget the resolution to cook more.
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SirMustapha
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby SirMustapha » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:12 pm UTC

grythyttan wrote:Man, it's like you're not even trying anymore. I remeber when your hatred used to mean something. When your vitriolic words, while unwanted and predictable, still had passion.

I miss those days.


Now you know the feeling of having been a fan of Randall once!

But I puzzled as to what my hatred used to "mean". First, there's no hatred; second, if it meant anything, it meant just that it's a lot of fun to see how low Randall can go. And this is so pathetically low that it deserves no passion at all. Really: a flow chart about cooking? Someone has already done a comic about the exact same thing, but as an actual comic! Is a flow chart really the best Randall can do, or does he really think that they are the epitome of humour?

Besides, just look at how little Randall's comic has resonated with the people here! This has been effectively a lame, weak execution of a silly, awfully disagreeable joke. The only thing it shows is that either Randall is a really, really lazy, pathetic person when it comes to anything that is not maths or computers, or he thinks it's really funny to act like one of those people. Hint: it's not.

Iaaan
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Iaaan » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:10 pm UTC

Am I supposed to believe that a man of such towering intellect (read: ability to quickly search wikipedia every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 11:50pm) as Randall , he's woefully incapable of following a few simple instructions to eat cheaply and healthily.

Learning to cook might help him win back Megan.

sir_schwick
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby sir_schwick » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:16 pm UTC

Netzach wrote:Cooking isn't hard, it's utterly selfish. There are people who make their living from cooking. I don't want to ruin that by cooking myself. Besides, it's disrespectful to farmers, fishermen and other food producers not letting professionals handle the product of their hard work.


Don't worry, at least the two of us understand this is satire.

Nonesuch wrote:I think you missed Giygasfan's earlier post, especially when you start in about budgeting. Some colleges REQUIRE you to purchase a food plan if you live in the dormitories. My school required this. If you are paying with your own money or on a limited budget from your parents, you won't necessarily be able to fit in many homecooked meals. I think I arranged one every couple of weekends when I was an undergrad, but I had a bit more funding to do so as I worked and my parents were footing my major bills. My roommates always complained if I wanted their help on buying ingredients. It became more scarce as time went on, and I relied on some campus groups where the lovely faculty and their husbands and wives would offer us home-cooked meals on weekends. It was cheaper that way, although I ate a lot of chili, pizza and assorted casseroles.

Heck, my school didn't even provide us with a mini-fridge. If I wanted one I had to buy it myself, and add it to my storage locker over the summer. If you happened to be one of the lucky 64 or so to get suites, then you had a little kitchen to four people. (But I had other issues at that point.)


That was the main reason I figured out how to move off campus ASAP. Those who suggest regular cooking nights among friends forget how flakey people are in their early twenties. Before I get flamed, think about how often ideas are brought up and planned with a general consensus only to not happen. I was there and still am to some extent.

Also issues about who is spending the most money come up. Also include everyone who holds a secret or open grudge if you do not share your food with them. Especially true if they only walk in right as the meal comes off the stove.

Final issue based on personal experience, time of day. My alma-mater forced anyone using the oven to check out a key to turn its breaker on. This was because of how old the oven's were in a couple dorms and the associated fire hazards. That key could only be checked out between 8 AM and Midnight. This also meant that the kitchen key had to be returned by those times, so really you could not start later than 10.

College dorms are helping spread kitchen ignorance by actively hindering someone cooking for themselves either through slanted economic incentives(i.e. dorm food you had no choice on buying is automatically cheaper than groceries that require further resources you can choose to expend) and poor kitchen environments.

Tjunction wrote:It can't be more expensive than takeaways or buying pre-made. The economics don't work out. Any restaurant or food manufacturer has to make a profit, so any manufactured food you buy has to include the cost of the ingredients, plus labour costs, plus a profit. If it appears cheaper to buy pre-made than making your own, then it must be because the ingredients in pre-made are cheaper, i.e. lower quality, i.e. you're eating crap.


Unfortunately agricultural subsidies in the US are so heavy on crap commodities(grain, corn, etc.) that often the pre-made stuff is cheaper. But this is because of a government assisted cabal that is exclusive to those with the means to process crap crops. Technically you are already paying for the TV dinner with your taxes.

enderverse
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby enderverse » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:02 pm UTC

I mostly eat $3-4 frozen dinners and some fruit. Sure I am capable of cooking the same thing myself most of the time but I don't really care about taste that much and it takes way longer to cook. Plus the amount ingredients needed to make it cheaper then a Lean Cuisine is way more then it takes to feed myself I get like 5 meals worth of leftovers to make it cheaper. Thats a little to much.

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dan_dassow
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby dan_dassow » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:04 am UTC

Conversely, for those familiar with the culinary arts, but apathetic about programming, the following may be true.

"Learning to Code"

Code: Select all

While (TRUE)
  I should code more
  Buy compiler
  Buy book on language
  Do some coding
  Does it work?
    Kinda
    No
  File code away on server
  <<hours Pass>>
  Buy application
  <<days pass>>
  Throw away code
  <<months pass>>
  License expires; uninstall compiler
Last edited by dan_dassow on Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:59 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

nealh
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby nealh » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:14 am UTC

Cooking is not hard if you start simple. Here're some fast, easy recipes that are tasty, healthy, and hard to f--k up.

Saute veggies, add egg. Result: Frittata.
Add salt, pepper, or whatever for extra taste.

Saute veggies, add tomatoes. Also boil noodles. Result: Spahgetti.
Add garlic, more olive oil, parmesan cheese, cook some ground beef, or whatever for extra taste.

Boil rice, then saute veggies, add rice. Result: Fried rice.
Add curry, more olive oil, throw it all into a burrito with cheese, beans, etc, or whatever for extra taste.

Yep, that's pretty much my line up. Easy peezy.

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Plasma Mongoose
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Plasma Mongoose » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:53 am UTC

Why do many people think cooking is so hard?

It's basic chemistry where you eat the results.

If your grandma can do it, you can and the odds are, she cannot program her DVDR like you can.

Just K.I.S.S, follow a recipe, keep an eye on the cooking so it don't get ruined and you got food.

Cooking at home should be cheaper than takeaway, it least it is where I come from.

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FCN
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby FCN » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:15 am UTC

Wow, Randall, you suck at cooking.

Wow, geeks suck at cooking.
Spoiler:
LuNatic wrote:
Dear FCN,
You are:
a) Terrible, but in an awesome way.
or
b) Awesome, but in a terrible way.
I'm having difficulty deciding which.

ericgrau
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby ericgrau » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:03 am UTC

I've learned to never buy extra ingredients, even if sold for a better deal, use simple but high rated recipes, and most of all cook for multiple people. It's a shame that people can't cooperate more when it comes to mealtimes, then it'd save both time and money.

Alone I still don't buy frozen dinners as those are still overpriced. I buy a small amount of ingredients and eat them (or minimally prepare them), steps saved, huzzah!

Detson
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Detson » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:23 am UTC

Some good advice here. My college also forced me to buy a meal plan, so there wasn't much sense in cooking. I kept a big bag of Uncle Ben's converted/parboiled rice on hand, along with some canned beans, for midnight finals fuel.

Fresh produce is hard to justify if you're cooking for yourself, as are complex meals. If you can live without those things, you can save a bundle.

Sarck
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Sarck » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:27 am UTC

C'mon, Randall. Cooking is SCIENCE.

DELICIOUS SCIENCE.

F'realz, what are you trying to cook? Some kind of massively extravagant "gourmet" food item with little to no meat? Don't be afraid to slum it a little- make mac 'n cheese, hamburgers, whatever 'fore you start cooking up that omelette du fromage shit. You're apparently ordering pizza anyway, you can't really say you've too cultured a palate.

anu3bis
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby anu3bis » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:23 am UTC

Wow - I'd expect this kind fo debate from Mac vs. PC, not buy vs. build on food.

Randall - I'm a Somervillan. If you truly do not cook much and would like to have a few good recipes or techniques, I'd be glad to provide a lesson and meal.

On the more complex side, I also make chocolates, charcuterie (bacon, corned beef, sausages and the like), and occasionally bread.

Ryozenzuzex
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Ryozenzuzex » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:52 am UTC

My though process on this was a little different. I can cook, and I can cook well. But I don't care. However, also being cheap, I arrived at a somewhat different process.

step 1. Cook rice and lentils (2 parts brown rice, 1 part lentils, 5.1 parts water) season if you feel like it.
step 2. For the next two or three days, eat rice & lentils with a vegtable (fresh or frozen) and a sauce (cheese, spagetti, gravy, cream of * soup, whatever)
step 3. go to step 1.

Rice and lentils keep forever (more than a few years) cook in less than an hour (during which you don't have to watch it) provide a complete protein, and are incredibly cheap in bulk. A 25lb bag will last a while, fit under your bed, and probably costs less than single meal eaten out. Add a vegtable on top when you eat it and you're pretty much all set. If you want to be really cheap, you can avoid cheese and keep the cost/meal below 50 cents.

I ate that meal 80% to 90% of the time before I got married. Except breakfast, which was always oatmeal sometimes with an egg. If I ate out (always with friends, and the point was always to be social more than to eat) that was the exception. More often I'd invite people over to my place (once a week or so) and cook something different.

It is something I didn't have to waste time thinking about, didn't have to spend more than a few minutes every second or third day on, and was filling and nutritious enough. I still do basically that when living away from home even now. It works and it works cheaply and it works without thought or fuss or expense or worrying about.

Of course, I've been married awhile and my wife is now a better cook than I am. She doesn't like to eat the same thing all the time, so I eat many different dishes today. I still haven't gotten tired of living on oatmeal + rice'n'lentils. I guess that some people do get tired of it, but maybe that's a good thing and you'd lose some weight? Having said that though, there's more variety than first may appear to the casual eye. There's hundreds of different ways to spice rice'n'lentils, and that's not even talking about the sauce! And even if my veggie was broccoli or green beans 90% of the time that doesn't mean that it needed to be, that's just what I like.

I think anybody trying to make an economic argument against cooking hasn't truly examined the problem. Hasn't sat down and run the numbers. Well, except those whose living arrangements include food - i.e. living in dorms with required meal plan included. Seriously, are you eating to keep yourself alive and functioning, or is eating the equivalent of going to a movie - mostly entertainment value? Can you afford to go to a movie every night? Why not spend that money on more tools? Or save it for that house you want to buy?

Which of course throws us right into the center of money managment - why bother, anyway? What do you want to do? Why? What do you have to do to get there and how soon? Frugality is a way of life for some, but for most of us it's a means to an end.

The question is what end do you want and how badly do you want it?

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StClair
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby StClair » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:52 am UTC

Addendum on one particular point:
I'm not working "extra" hours to pay for prepared food. The amount of time that I am expected to be at my job is fixed. Everything else - sleeping, eating, reading, cooking, etc etc - has to come out of the remaining time. When I was unemployed or working part-time, I was more inclined to prepare my own meals; but right now, as a bachelor of relatively modest means, I really do have more money than time.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Netzach » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:43 am UTC

sir_schwick wrote:Don't worry, at least the two of us understand this is satire.


I hope more people understood that. I tried to be obvious but entertaining. "Entertain thy neighbour..." could be an interesting motto.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby eviloatmeal » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:41 am UTC

There's another resolution to this flow chart, unfortunately it is an infinite loop.
learning_to_cook.png
"We have left over chips, we should buy cheese and make nachos." "We have left over cheese, we should buy chips and make nachos."
*** FREE SHIPPING ENABLED ***
Image
Riddles are abound tonightImage

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby VectorZero » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:25 am UTC

anu3bis wrote:Wow - I'd expect this kind fo debate from Mac vs. PC, not buy vs. build on food.
:)

Actually, I thought it was more like Linux vs [other]. Some people enjoy spending time twerking and optimising efficiency, and others are willing to spend a bit more so it just works and doesn't get in the way of what they want to actually do.
Van wrote:Fireballs don't lie.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby jakster » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:02 pm UTC

Pasta or rice meals normally take me less than 15 minutes and cost around 3 euros a person. You can cook pasta in 10 minutes in boiling water and during the time fry some ground beef in olive oil, add some mixed vegetables (I buy them pre-cut at the supermarket in 1-2 person portions (250-500 gram) daily) and finally add some tomato sauce and Italian herbs and spices. Add garlic to your liking.

In America, I had to buy vegetables for a week and cut them before cooking, so it took me 5 minutes more. Here in the Netherlands, we have loads more choices in spice mixes and 1-2 person portions. Frozen vegetables can be used instead in the US. Meat you can freeze in small (1 person) portions in zip-bags (don't put the whole kg ground beef in the freezer, place it in 8 bags and use the microwave to defrost one), making it easy to cook for n persons.

RThaiRThai
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby RThaiRThai » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:04 pm UTC

Randall get out of my head? I'm new to this.

I was thinking of making pancakes with pancake mix recently, but little black bits came out of the box, and there is a fair chance that they were bugs considering the mix may have been 1 year old.

Superisis
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Superisis » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:37 pm UTC

For all of you who say cooking is too hard/too expensive/requires too many ingredients/takes too much time from Starcraft 2 I've got one word:

Dal.

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Kizyr
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Kizyr » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:43 pm UTC

...occasionally there's a comic like this that just seems to make little sense. I'm guessing Randall isn't really too good at cooking...
[reads alt-text]
...or shopping, for that matter.

Eh, it's amusing, but like the "academia vs. real world" comic a while back, doesn't really square with my own reality. KF
~Kizyr
Image

koipen
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby koipen » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:49 pm UTC

I'm very surprised at the attitudes of cooking here (well not very, it is xkcd). When I was 13, I often made food for my family. It isn't hard. You just have to follow the recipe if you do it that way. Cooking food is cheaper than buying. It is better. Take for example, 2 kg of wheat flour, a cask of eggs, some cream and some sugar. Together they will cost you about 5 euros (and this is in Finland, one of the most expensive countries in the world). Take some free berries from forest and you have a cake (or buy some fruits with 3 euros more) They will bake you 3 or 4 sugar cakes. One cake may cost you about 20 euros, so in total it is 8-10 times cheaper to bake yourself!

And baking and cooking is fun! I think that th fear against cooking could grow either from childhood or from laziness. Or then it has just faded out in insufficient resources.

Alltat
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Alltat » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:11 pm UTC

RThaiRThai wrote:I was thinking of making pancakes with pancake mix recently, but little black bits came out of the box, and there is a fair chance that they were bugs considering the mix may have been 1 year old.

Why would you need pancake mix to make pancakes? What's even in that mix? All you need for proper (Swedish!) pancakes is flour, eggs and milk in a nice 1:1:2 ratio (assuming deciliters for the flour and milk). Or 1:2:2. Or 2:1:2 or 1:1:1; it ends up tasty either way.

Grungydan
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Grungydan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:17 pm UTC

I'm glad to see that so many posters think that this flowchart is silly. Learning to cook is no different than learning any other skill. You start simple, learn basic stuff, and build from those to more advanced stuff. I've been treating cooking as both a hobby and a way to feed myself and others for about, oh, a year now.

Prior to that "click" of realizing that it could be a fun hobby and not just a way to satisfy a necessity, I was in the "buy processed junk and apply heat" stage. Then, I lived briefly with a friend that's an amazing amateur chef, and he really inspired me to learn more. These days, while I still screw up the occasional dish and run across a recipe that sounds better than it tastes, I routinely turn out food that's as good as or better than anything I can go out and eat in a restaurant, and I usually have leftovers. :D

SpudTater
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby SpudTater » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:29 pm UTC

I think the person comparing cooking to coding hit the nail on the head.

We can think of loads of reasons a person should learn to code. Cheaper than buying proprietary software. Faster and less error-prone than doing things by hand. More flexible than off-the-shelf solutions. Gives you understanding of what your computer is doing. Opens up career opportunities. But the reason we actually code? It's the sense of achievement, isn't it? The feeling of watching the results of your efforts scroll past on the screen, and thinking: "I made that happen!"

Similarly, for all the great logical reasons I can give for learning to cook, that's not why I cook. I cook because I enjoy learning about new techniques, trying them out, and eventually mastering them. I cook to show off to family and friends. I cook because I taste the results and every so often think: "that tastes awesome -- and I made it!"

I could try to guilt you into learning to cook, with tales of preservatives and saturated fats. Or I could try to bribe you, with promises of economy. But if these are your only reasons, then it's only a matter of time before you give up again in frustration and boredom. Whereas if you discover a love of cooking -- and not everybody does -- then you'll be hooked for life.

foodeater
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby foodeater » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:07 pm UTC

If the food you cook doesn't taste vastly superior to take out food you are doing it wrong (or paying quite a bit to eat out) Most take out pizza is horrible doughy crap. Homemade pizza like homemade porn is way better. Spend a month getting your dough recipe right and you'll be set for life.

Some foods are worth going out for like quality Asian soups that have been cooked for days. Still, quality premade broths are a life saver. Pureed broccoli and beef broth with mushrooms, topped with chives and sour cream along with a nice steak, yum.

If you have access to an oven there is no reason not to throw a potato in there. Left over potatoes are even better for hash browns or soup. Don't forget about sweet potatoes either.

Take some frozen fruit out before you start cooking and it'll be thawed by the time you're done. Sprinkle with some palm sugar or stevia, add some cream, yogurt, coconut milk, or coconut flakes and if you aren't allergic add some nuts too. Yeah, I own an ice cream maker too/ It's incredible. That said I still turn towards the professionals (or mom) for cakes and the like.

Did you know that prepackaged mozzarella cheese sticks brown perfectly in a nonstick pan? It takes out a ton of the fat too. I save a bit of the butter fat and sauté garlic(sometimes onions too), tomato paste and various "Italian spices" in it. I use a big pan and toast a piece of bread at the same time, but it doesn't even need bread. You can also lightly cook some pepperoni, chorizo or even a few choice vegetables. Put bread on plate, scoop sauce onto bread, put cheese on bread. Add any extra topping like olives, Parmesan cheese, etc to taste. It's delicious(assuming you started with quality bread) and takes about 7 minutes. You can do something very similar using the broiler in your oven, but you probably can't use a non stick pan, which will increase you cleaning time.

I'm a huge fan of broiled vegetables in general. Carrots, green beans and asparagus are all great lightly blacked under the broiler and coated with oil or butter.

fr00t
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby fr00t » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:48 pm UTC

Get in my head randall.

I don't understand where the common misconception about buying ingredients being more expensive than food comes from. It's not even remotely true; in fact, by definition: restaurants typically price dishes by marking up the ingredient cost something like 300%. Obviously they are dealing with wholesale prices but it's still not even close.

The one complaint about cooking that is true is how much time it takes. If you consider it to be a chore, and it stresses you out (like my mom), then it probably isn't for you. It is a skill to be able to cook efficiently, that is, have good time management in the kitchen, make only the required amount of mess, and be able to consider these factors when you plan meals and purchase ingredients.

flowchart could read, "does it taste good?" -> "yes" -> "keep reasonable stock of fresh and ubiquitous ingredients, only buying obscure and expensive ones for special occasions" -> "cook"

shrimpwd
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby shrimpwd » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:59 pm UTC

omelette du fromage

Cheese Omelet, yum!

I love cooking, and I take turns in the kitchen with my mother. (Yeah, yeah... 27yo and still living at home. I help homeschool the siblings)

Feeding a family of 5 at the house usually costs about $10-15 for a dinner. The least expensive dinner out (I'm talking McD's, or such) is never less than $30. Go somewhere like Ruby T's (which never get the order right anyway), we're looking at spending the same amount of time waiting for a seat, waiting for the waiter, waiting for the food to cook, as it would to cook at home. Oh, and the meal would cost $60-80+ (and don't even think about Longhorn or anything more expensive than that. We're now in the $100+ category, before tip...)

When I lived on my own, working 10-12 hour days, I still cooked. I liked taking a 1lb box of pasta, a 1lb(ish) pack of ground beef, and a jar of brown gravy (yeah, I could have made my own?), and cooking/mixing them. I'd then have dinner, and leftovers for 2-3 more dinners. Do this twice a week (heck, maybe my days off?), and I'd have a week's dinners for <$20. One pizza, or 6-8 true meals? Less than an hour of cooking the whole week? (2 minutes of microwaving leftovers shouldn't count)

Of course, economically speaking, if your time is worth more than picking up a $5 bill from the ground, go purchase your food pre-cooked at a restaurant.

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Bruce Springsteen
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Bruce Springsteen » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:00 am UTC

Randy Marsh = Randy M.
Randall Munroe = Randy M.

Randy Marsh apparently cannot cook for shit according to the last episode of South Park.
Randall Munroe apparently cannot cook for shit according to the last strip of xkcd.

South Park has gone really downhill, yet I still watch it.
xkcd has gone to shit, yet I still read it.

Randy Marsh drew a stick figure when he drew what he thinks Muhammad might look like.
Randall Munroe can only draw stick figures.

Randy Marsh is a son-of-a-bitch who calls himself a scientist.
Randall Munroe is a son-of-a-bitch who calls himself a scientist.

Randy Marsh is based on Trey Parker's father.
Most of the pathetic male stick figures in xkcd are based on Randall Munroe.

Randy Marsh is the dumbest character in his fictional universe.
Randall Munroe is the stupidest person in the non-fictional universe.

Therefore,
Randall Munroe = Image

Quid pro quo, QED, and e pluribus unum, bitches.

(But I still love the both of ya. <3)
sup
Image

Xentropy
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Xentropy » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:15 am UTC

tjunction wrote:People always moan that cooking is expensive.

It's not.

It can't be more expensive than takeaways or buying pre-made. The economics don't work out. Any restaurant or food manufacturer has to make a profit, so any manufactured food you buy has to include the cost of the ingredients, plus labour costs, plus a profit. If it appears cheaper to buy pre-made than making your own, then it must be because the ingredients in pre-made are cheaper, i.e. lower quality, i.e. you're eating crap.


This ignores economy of scale. I live alone. It's almost impossible to cook just enough for me. Anything in the store, even the smaller packages, will cover multiple meals. Buying larger amounts just results in throwing away stuff as it goes bad. Restaurants can buy in bulk and pay less per unit quantity than I could, even of the same quality ingredients.

Personally, it isn't the cooking I hate. I actually LOVE to cook. It's the cleanup I can't stand. Someone else does the dishes when I eat out, or in the case of takeout I just toss the disposable container. Worse for the environment, but it saves me from my least favorite thing to do--washing pots and pans. Please, someone tell me how to "discover a love of doing dishes" and I'll give it my best shot.


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