Food / Frugal Living

Learning to Cook

Photo Compliments of Ann Larie ValentineLearning to Cook

If you consider that you can create very healthy meals for about $5.00, and impact your carbon foot print then learning to cook and eating at home is your next step on the road to frugal, green, living.


If you shop frugally, keep your kitchen stocked with essentials like dry goods in bulk, you use up leftovers in creative ways, then eating at home should never exceed eating in a restaurant.  Fresh produce like cabbage, carrots and other winter root vegetables have a way of being some of the cheapest purchases per pound.  They are also hardy, and should last in your fridge for quite a while.

Environmental Impact

For anyone who would like to support sustainable farms, or would prefer to drink only organic milk, eat free-range meat and pesticide-free plants, buying the ingredients raw will stretch your dollar by leaps and bounds compared to searching for this only in restaurants.  Not only is it much less expensive than dining at a restaurant that touts its farm-to-table philosophy and you will also have vastly more options.


One-third of America’s garbage is comprised of packaging: bags, boxes and other things that come with purchases that are not meant to be kept. This includes all that makes your restaurant prepared meal a take-out product. Compare a home-cooked meal to an average meal that you might order at a restaurant: there’s a plate, utensils, maybe a couple napkins, and there’s bags, cartons, and packets.


There is a correlation between the national obesity crisis and the rise in eating out, particularly at fast-food restaurants. Cheap eats are all too often unhealthy; pizza, deep-fried food, and frozen hamburgers tossed on the grill are great examples of items that increase your waist, thighs, and bottom. You also now also have control of how much fat, salt, and sugar you put in your food.

Dinner Parties

Throwing the occasional dinner party or potlucks is a wonderful social convention; it is a fantastic way to build real communities and come to really know your friends.

Be Creative

Start simply and expand your talents through blogs or even cooking classes.  I have listed my favorite blogs below that are a wonderful source of simple recipes that produce very tasty results.

Top Recipe Blogs


  1. Amen! The less processed food, the better, all the way around! Sadly, too many people these days think it takes too long to cook a meal from whole ingredients, even though there are many quick and easy recipes available! (I made some FANTASTIC green beans tonight–fresh from the garden, thinner than a pencil–lightly steamed, then sauteed with olive oil, butter (just a smidge!), and garlic. Took maybe 10 minutes total, including the time it took me to snip the ends of the beans.)

  2. I was in my late 50’s when the Great Recession hit me. I learned how to cook dried beans for the first time from one of my mother’s cousins. Mom wouldn’t cook dried beans. I have vastly expanded my cooking abilities in the last 4 years and don’t eat out as much anymore because of what you said – being able to control fat, salt, sugar. I also don’t want to eat a lot of processed foods. Speaking of cabbage, I grow my own every winter. Along with onions and turnip greens.
    Linda Jones recently posted..ChickensMy Profile

    • it is always a pleasure to have you stop by and share your thoughts…Indeed, I started in my 50’s and I did it as the recession began. I learned to cook from the internet which can be both a very kind and a very cruel instructor.

  3. Hi, I’m so pleased you came to visit my blog and I love your article here.

    I did the food photography for a wonderful community cookbook called Didsbury Dinners. All money from the book is going straight back into the community through free cookery classes (!), community orchards and vegetable gardens. It’s beautiful!
    I don’t know if you saw the article on my blog, I think this would be right up your street. Hope you don’t mind me posting the link
    flavourphotos recently posted..Vegan Christmas StollenMy Profile

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