A few years ago, as a young college student with dreams of becoming the next Anthony Bourdain, I attempted to cook a meal for myself for the first time. While I don’t remember the exact dish I tried to make, I do remember struggling with just about every step of the process—picturing my mom’s disappointment the whole way, of course.
My first hour was spent running around the supermarket in circles looking for the exact set of ingredients I needed. Once home, I had to chop everything I bought; the recipe’s “10 minutes prep time” quickly turned into an hour of hand-to-hand combat with chicken thighs and vegetables. My chicken somehow ended up overcooked while my veggies still had a raw crunch. The aftermath: a pile of leftovers I would have to tolerate for the next two days of meals and another hour spent washing the impressive stack of dirty dishes and bowls.
If you’ve been through something similar you’ll understand my initial disappointment with cooking. Four hours spent on supposedly “easy” recipes that I managed to screw up anyway? I told myself, “I’ll pass.” And so, for an entire year of college I ate out for lunch and dinner every day. (My wallet wept.)
The turning point in my cooking story came when I realized that while recipes are useful for learning how to make one dish, no single recipe teaches you how to manage an entire kitchen. These skills—picking recipes that fit into my schedule, planning grocery shopping, minimizing clean-up—I had to learn pretty much on my own.
The difference between then and now is night and day. With the right system, I actually save time by cooking. Nowadays, I invite friends over for a meal multiple times a week and still spend half of what I used to on food. Most surprisingly, I started to look forward to cooking. It brings me a special kind of joy to know that something that used to be a chore has become one of my favorite hobbies.
And what a hobby! Home-cooked meals have turned strangers into some of my closest friends, brought my family together after long arguments, and impressed many people of the other gender (men, take note). Cooking is a good excuse to invite a friend over—”Wanna help me make dinner?”. Even the most frugal of my friends can’t resist a “I’ve got some leftovers, can you help me finish them?” A home-cooked meal is an “I love you” anyone will accept.
I created this blog because my friends often ask me how to get started cooking when just following recipes doesn’t seem to cut it. In this blog I share recipes, cooking skills, and most importantly, the kitchen management techniques that can get anyone started cooking regularly even if your schedule is as busy as mine was back in the day.
We’ll begin with the two most important cooking techniques I’ve ever learned—roasting meat and stir-frying vegetables. These two techniques will serve as a introduction to kitchen equipment, grocery management, and efficient clean-up. We’ll see how roasting and stir-frying open up an entire world of recipes just by varying the combination of ingredients added. This is the guide I wish I had when I started cooking.
Welcome to my kitchen, friend!