X
X
X

Discover the Love of Making Your Own Food

By the 1900s, the industrial revolution caused many people to move from their rural homes to cities in order to find work. The swiftly rising populations of cities, and the increased demand for food, created the need for a different system. The solution was mass produced industrialized food.

From canned food to packaged bread, industrialized food has grown over time to accommodate a variety of tastes and interests. Things like microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets and more, are no longer just convenient products used in a pinch. For many people, these things are simply what food is.

But not everyone thinks of food this way. Some people love to cook from scratch, working from recipes with basic, real ingredients, just like people did prior to 1900. Whether passed down from a parent or learned elsewhere, cooking food from scratch makes a different kind of food than commercial food. It tastes different, it looks different, and the methods of preparation are much different. When cooking from scratch, the kitchen becomes a sort of lab, with measuring cups, pots and pans, mixers, scales and a variety of ingredients as necessary tools. Of course, most of the food made with this method could simply be bought pre-made, heated and served, but people who love to cook don’t even consider that. 

 

For others, the realization that most industrialized food contains synthetic nutrients and unhealthy additives and preservatives has inspired them to prepare their own meals, or at least some, from scratch. To take back control of their health, more and more people are eliminating packaged and prepared food from their shopping lists whenever they can, and making it themselves.

For the rest of us, the thought of learning new cooking skills and disrupting our routines by adding more time in the kitchen might seem daunting when, after all, commercial food has already done much of the work for us. So, we asked some people about how they were introduced to cooking food from scratch, how challenging it really is, and what benefits they receive from doing it. These people have discovered the love of making their own food. You can, too.

 

Jessica Linski
Wisconsin

What experience prompted you to start thinking about making your own food?

Well, I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy a few years ago, and have a partner who has been allergic to gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs since he was a babe. We also have been eating a vegan diet since August 2016. When I started reading labels is really when I decided to make the switch to home cooking nearly every meal. It really is horrifying if you Google some of the ingredients you can't pronounce.

What steps did you initially take to start this change of habit?

Working the grocery store or farmers market into my daily schedule. I go almost every day on my lunch break to my local co-op and buy my fresh produce that I need for dinner that night. I usually buy my pantry stuff on payday because eating plants isn't cheap. Especially if you're pretty much exclusively eating organic produce.

Additionally, planning ahead really helps. I'm fortunate enough that cooking is really a therapeutic experience for me and I learned basic cooking skills growing up near both my granny and great grandma who cooked everything, so planning a meal is really easy and fun for me. And when I don't have time to plan, I make "clean out the fridge dinners" like fried rice, pasta, or pizza using whatever produce is hanging around.

Isn’t it easier to just buy prepared food?

Most definitely, but your body will make sure to tell you about it later. Even if you don't get sick, you'll most likely be unsatisfied and most definitely be tired. I really believe in spending a little more money on quality food now instead of spending money later on medicine.

What do you enjoy most about the process of preparing your own meals?

I really enjoy the process as a whole. The initial menu planning, meeting local farmers at the farmers markets, utilizing seasonal produce from my favorite co-op, growing my own food in the spring and summer, creating an awesome dish that I was able to dream up and execute that I can share with whoever is hungry, and really eating food is just the best. 

 

David Ravel
Wisconsin 

What experience prompted you to start thinking about making your own food?

I grew up in California.  Surrounded by fresh produce year-round.  (I hiked through a cherry orchard to get to Junior High and High School.  This is, of course, long gone.)

My mother was an outstanding cook.  She took great advantage of everything around us.  

My grandfather owned a bunch of shoe stores in Northern and Central California.  When he would take trips to the stores in Salinas and Watonsville, he would come back with many bags of fresh artichokes.  My sister and I knew our way around an artichoke at a young age, often confounding older guests at our family table.

What steps did you initially take to start this change of habit?

This always was my habit, so it involved no change.

Isn't it easier to just buy prepared food?

No.  It's rarely as good.  And we grew up taking pleasure in making food.

What do you enjoy most about the process of preparing your own meals?

It's the one creative act with a beginning, middle and end that can be accomplished within a discreet time period.

 

Jessica Gosdeck
Wisconsin

What experience prompted you to start thinking about making your own food?

General health issues and concerns. The presence of chemicals in many of today's foods is unsettling, so we decided to start making changes, such as making/growing some of our own food, in an attempt to eat more whole and healthily. 

What steps did you initially take to start this change of habit?

We started with researching the topic online and in books, put forth the effort to learn to cook, began shopping at organic farmer's markets and food stores, and eventually started looking into home gardening, canning, etc. 

Isn’t it easier to just buy prepared food?

Indeed, it's much easier. However, in the long run, preparing and growing your own food is a better value for our nutritional dollar. Additionally, the extra time spent is worth knowing that we are potentially saving time (and money) on future healthcare. Once you get into a routine, it becomes less of a process and more of a habit so you don't miss purchasing food the easy way so much.  

What do you enjoy most about the process of preparing your own meals?

Knowing that we are making a good investment in our health. 

 

David Menestres
North Carolina 

What experience prompted you to start thinking about making your own food?

I was living in a city without good bread so I learned to make my own sourdough culture and started making bread.

What steps did you initially take to start this change of habit?

Stopped buying terrible industrial bread; a good first step.

Isn't it easier to just buy prepared food?

Probably. But it doesn’t taste as good or make my house smell as good.

What do you enjoy most about the process of preparing your own meals?

Eating!

  

Rachel Klessig
Missouri

What experience prompted you to start thinking about making your own food? 

I came from a home where we gardened, raised chickens, and at one time we milked goats, so it wasn't a totally foreign concept. It wasn't something we did after I was about 10 years old though. In high school I ate a lot of processed food, drank sodas, ate fast food, etc. At 19 I developed an autoimmune disease that wasn't properly diagnosed until I was about 23 or 24 and I also had high cholesterol. The autoimmune problems were very debilitating and I felt like the medications they wanted me to take weren't even helping my symptoms and had very serious side effects over the long term. I decided to just change the way we ate instead. I also recently discovered that I have a genetic mutation that changes the way I process B vitamins and so I cannot have anything with synthetic vitamins, including enriched grains. 

What steps did you initially take to start this change of habit?

We raise all our own meat – pasture-raised chicken, pork, and grass fed beef and we hunt deer. We also milk cows and consume raw milk, make butter and yogurt, and I learned how to make cheese. We raise a garden and grow it organically. Most of our other food and produce comes from organic sources, when possible. We belong to a bulk food co-op that also sources produce.

Isn't it easier to just buy prepared food?

It probably is easier but easier isn't better or necessarily cheaper. Learning to cook from scratch with healthy ingredients isn't as difficult, time consuming and expensive as people think. I'm feeding a family of 10 and nothing is very easy about that in general, but I couldn't afford it if we at what many people deem a conventional American diet.  I probably spend less on food than families a fraction of the size of mine.

What do you enjoy most about the process of preparing your own meals?

I love getting my kids involved. They like to help peel and chop and stir. I also love knowing where my ingredients come from and that the animals were raised with respect and care and as stress-free of a life as possible. We love food and flavor, using exotic spices and trying new things.  I hope I'm raising 8 new foodies for the next generation.

Back To News