Thoughts on learning to cook
Some years ago, I wanted to learn to took so I asked someone to teach me. My recipe list is somewhat limited, though it has grown over time and I am getting better at learning to make new things. (Including a very good Sweet Potato Casserole recipe, which is perfect for potlucks because it is made in the crock pot.)
It's generally culturally expected that a woman will know how to cook, especially when she becomes a wife and mother. But why not husbands and fathers too? And why not single men? Looking back, it would have been very useful to have the cooking skills I have now when I was living in my own apartment as a single man. I would have eaten healthier and I would have been able to spend less on food.
So from my admittedly limited skill set, here are a couple observations:
Get a crock pot. There are so many things that can be made the night before, turned on in the morning and ready to eat the minute you get home. Plus, the crock pot is perfect for pitch-in dinners, whether in someone's home, at church and especially at work where cooking facilities are extremely limited.
Think about the things you are making so everything is done at once. This is my biggest weakness. I cannot count how many times I have gotten dinner almost ready to serve and then realized another portion of the meal has not been started and needs ten or fifteen minutes.
The next step for me is getting better at making stuff from what I have on hand instead of needing to get stuff and have it ready to make a meal later. Not being the most imaginative man on the planet, I am better when following a set of instructions, even if I have memorized the recipe and and going through a mental checklist. There is always room for improvement.