Features Sep 23, 2015 at 4:00 am

But people living on their own for the first time often find cooking intimidating. When in doubt, make a "heavy salad."

God’s Sauce: a fried egg makes everything better. Thinkstock


I cook all my own meals.

The last two weeks I've experimented with All Microwave Cooking.

That means cooking not just frozen meals, but fresh food in the Microwave.

First make sure to get good microwave cookware...I got a set of thick plastic containers with lids at IKEA (the white and red ones near the cafeteria).

You mentioned eggs. You can take an egg, strip of bacon, slice of cheese and put it in the microwave and a killer breakfast sandwich (High 2 minutes).

I've cooked hamburgers, a stuffed chicken cutlet, lots of fresh veggies, and I even made a killer Eggplant Parmesan in the microwave.

The secrets include knowing when to use the lower energy settings.

Have to say, I love the proselytizing about home cooking. I wish there had been someone to debunk it for me when I was a grad student in my first apartment. (Two female roommates: one took the "intimidation through cooking" approach, and the other's attitude was "cooking is for women who don't have rich boyfriends.") I was past 30 before I developed the nerve to try anything beyond opening-a-jar-and-heating-the-contents-in-a-pot-and-calling-that-cooking.

When I first rented an apartment with a big kitchen, I realized I had no excuse not to use it. As a housewarming present, a friend gave me the New Basics Cookbook (http://www.amazon.com/New-Basics-Cookboo… ), which has lots of fabulous recipes but assumes that you already make your own mayonnaise and know what a "roux" is.

Thoroughly intimidated by that and the conversations about cooking that I heard around me (this was the
mid-90's: you had to use Italian parsley, or pretend you did, if you didn't want people to look at you and walk away), I bought a book called "Now You're Cooking!" by Elaine Corn. (http://www.amazon.com/Now-Youre-Cooking-… ). It starts with the point of view that you've never done anything more than open a jar and heat the contents, and explains things like what "dicing" is (and how to do it) and how to chop an onion. The recipes are super basic --- macaroni & cheese, chocolate chip cookies --- but she gives a thorough grounding in basic techniques (for instance, you learn what a "roux" is as you're making mac & cheese). By the time I had read the "how to" section of her book and made a few things, I was ready to try recipes from fancier sources.

I know, TL;DR. But I can't recommend "Now You're Cooking" highly enough.
Not to mention great things happen to your body when you stop eating processed foods.
Meat, eggs and dairy will kill you (and cook the planet) whether you prepare them yourself or go to Canlis. I'm blessed with a nice kitchen, huge refrigerator, induction range etc. Plus plenty of time to peel and cut ingredients and make a roux, but most poor people aren't so lucky. I used to cook on a hot plate in my tiny room the same size as my bedroom closet here. I went to where they had a farmers market every week and would pick up abandoned vegetables off of the pavement before the street sweepers went through. It was closer than the nearest super market and you couldn't beat the price.
Beginning in the 60's MacDonalds conditioned a whole generation of people to become accustomed to eating out at fast food places. So many people never learned how to cook for themselves let alone their families. cooking for yourself is really the way to go. Fast food has way too much salt, sugar and fat.
@4 -

Meat, eggs, and dairy will kill you? Tell that to my 87-year-old father who has eaten those foods every day of his life. It's processed crap that's the problem, not real food.

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