How Good Are You At Cooking By Your Thirties?

I recently read an article on Thrillist called 11 Dishes You Should Be Able to Make by the Time You’re 30. I could make 3 of them.

Now, this seems unfair. I consider myself to be a good cook, and I cook all the time. My Seamless and Grubhub accounts have been collecting dust (tech dust) for years, and I’m fantastic at saving money by not only cooking at home, and in hotel rooms, but cooking at home and in hotel rooms with whatever is lying around.

So let’s go over the list that Thrillist made, cause it seems kinda random:

1. Scrambled Eggs. Okay, this one I understand. Cooking eggs by 30 is important. Eggs are easy and full of protein. And check, I got scrambled eggs down. It’s not the best dish ever, but I can do this just fine.

2. Mac and Cheese. Half check. This is ironic because mac and cheese is actually my favorite food. Don’t get me wrong, I can easily make a mac and cheese, but I’d have to follow a recipe. I try not to keep cheese in the house because I’m addicted to it and am also slightly allergic. So I really only have mac and cheese occasionally when I’m out. Actually, I can make a mean vegan mac and cheese..if that counts. I kinda like that mac and cheese is on this 30’s list, cause I find it important…

3. Tomato Sauce. Belongs on the 30’s list…it’s an important basic. But I cannot make this. It’s been on my list of ‘recipes to perfect’ forever. Buying a jar is just so easy though… But I plan to get good at making it. One day.

4.  Pizza. Do english muffin pizzas count? I’ve never tried to make pizza, but I really want to. It’s also on my list of ‘recipes to perfect.’ But I don’t think it needs to be on the 30’s list. Pizza is so easy to just order in.

5. Grilled Steak. I’m a vegetarian. I have an excuse. And I don’t think it needs to be on the thirties list…but that’s me.

6. Roasted Chicken. Vegetarian. Off my thirties list…but this might be a good one for others.

7. Salmon. I hate seafood. Plus, vegetarian, remember? And no for the list… I’m grossed out and don’t think salmon is important.

8. Guacamole. Yes! I make a great guacamole! Guacamole is its own food group to me! Yes for the thirties list!

9. Meatballs. You know why I don’t make these. Totally not on the thirties list.

10. Skillet Burger. See above for why I don’t make them. But I really want to start making veggie burgers. However, like pizza, I think burgers are easier and better to order in or grab while out and don’t belong on the thirties list.

11. Cookies. Yes! I’m a fantastic baker. I think being able to bake at least SOMETHING well totally belongs on the thirties list.

Okay, so my reasons for wanting many things on or off the thirties list are arbitrary.

What do you think? Did Thrillist do a good job? Can you make these? What’s on your ‘must be able to cook by thirty’ list? I’d love to read your comments below! 🙂

I recently baked some bread, and was quite proud of myself! But bread should definitely not be on the thirties list...too hard.

I recently baked some bread, and was quite proud of myself! But bread should definitely not be on the thirties list…too hard.

Being able to make a soup is a good one for the list though..here I've made some split pea soup to go with the bread.

Being able to make a soup is a good one for the list though..here I’ve made some split pea soup to go with the bread.

photo 2

Mmmm…fresh baked bread…

Do You Have Home-Cooked Dinners with Friends?

I wish I did! It’s a rare occurrence when I have a home cooked meal with friends. When I do have dinner with my friends, it’s normally at a restaurant. The main home-cooked meals I have outside my home are in either with my fiancé’s family or with one of my parents. Back in NY, we have a few foodie friends and they invited us over. When we did have home-cooked meals with them, it was a treat.

meatballs-with-pasta-mista

And so when I read about Sarah Grey’s “Friday Night Meatballs” tradition, I fell in love. Sarah and her husband were feeling disconnected from their community and social circle, and finding themselves spending more time on the couch with Netflix than they would have liked. On her 33rd birthday, she went on her Facebook wall and wrote:

“So here’s what Joe and I have decided to do, in my 33rd year, to make our lives happier: we are instituting a new tradition we call Friday Night Meatballs. Starting next Friday, we’re cooking up a pot of spaghetti and meatballs every Friday night and sitting down at the dining room table as a family—along with anyone else who’d like to join us. Friends, neighbors, relatives, clients, Facebook friends who’d like to hang out in real life, travelers passing through: you are welcome at our table. We’ll just ask folks to let us know by Thursday night so we know how many meatballs to make. You can bring something, but you don’t have to. Kids, vegetarians, gluten-free types, etc. will all be taken care of. The house will be messy. There might be card and/or board games. There might be good Scotch. You might be asked to read picture books. You might make new friends. We’ll just have to find out. This is our little attempt to spend more time with our village. You’re invited.”

She was overwhelmed with likes and visitors, and eighteen months later, she’s created a personal family tradition. But she’s also starting a movement of sorts. Check out her website, FridayNightMeatballs.com.

Once I’m more settled and have a bigger place, I’d love to try something like this out. Would you ever host your own regular dinner? Or do you already?

The Little Things You Know How to Accomplish by 30

Today I went to steam some broccoli for lunch. I’ve gotten very good at steaming broccoli- and not because it’s easy. I actually used to find it very difficult. My main problem was that I didn’t own a steamer.

I used to microwave just about all my vegetables. I was too lazy to bother purchasing a steamer. Even when I found out that steaming broccoli was healthier than microwaving it, I always thought “one day I’ll go out and buy a steamer.” But I didn’t.

It was only when I was at a 99 cent store purchasing lightbulbs that a little steaming basket crossed my path. It was quite cheap, and quite cute, so I bought it. But I never used it. I continued microwaving my broccoli this whole time since the microwave was familiar and the steamer was not. Path of least resistance.

My former roommate found the steaming basket I’d bought and enjoyed it thoroughly until she finally broke it after a few years- it was from the 99 cent store, after all. I watched her use it and promised myself I’d get around to using it too. But I did not.

Then one day I saw an even better steaming basket in Bed Bath & Beyond and decided that I was going to try again. This time I went home and actually took the steamer out of the box. I was going to put it on a shelf, but without thinking, I quickly threw some broccoli in it. The first time, I burned the broccoli, the steamer, and my pot. But I got familiar with how steaming worked.

After that, steaming wasn’t too bad except that I always had trouble finding a glass lid that went with the pot I was using. In my old apartment, all the lids for every pot were thrown behind the kitchen appliances. So I steamed with the wrong size lid all the time. It was the easiest way to get broccoli steamed quickly without a lid search. Most of the time, I was too lazy to search around for the right size lid. This worked okay, but was annoying enough to deter me from steaming too much. So I still used the microwave half the time.

When I moved to my new apartment, I put all my glass lids together in their own drawer, with nothing else. Suddenly, all my steaming obstacles had been removed.

Today the process of steaming broccoli was seamless. I grabbed the steamer, the nearest pot, and its easy to reach lid. I put the broccoli in. I steamed. I ate.

Sometimes getting things done can take 30 years to perfect.

broccoli-bites-001

What little things have you not bothered doing because you haven’t made them habits yet?

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