Nothing defines you as an adult quite like your ability to cook. You not only have the ability to feed yourself, but it shows you have the potential to cook for others, perhaps a family. No matter how much of human labor is replaced by automatic gadgets we are still able to justify our existence with a decent home-cooked meal.

However, for all the romance and honour surrounding cooking, it still takes time, practice, and many minutes fanning the smoke alarm. It’s true that not enough people cook for dinner. We’re dependent on processed and fast foods because when we’re worn out and tired at the end of the day, we just don’t have the energy to fire up the stand-up mixer and whip up some Thai chicken pizza. And I can say from experience that if you don’t have good knives, it really knocks the wind out of any culinary venture. On top of that, we have to worry about where our food comes from, whether it’s grown in a way that won’t leave us starving in a few decades. Nonetheless, the economy of leftovers, the decency of locally grown food and the feeling of a full stomach outweigh the consequences of having your diet designed by Kraft Foods.

I think the best way to make the transition off of processed foods is to make a compromise. One of the staples around our house is Japanese Curry. The sauce mix itself is full of fat, chemicals, and probably comes directly off of a plane from Japan. However, the recipe calls for any of vegetable and meat that you wish. It’s a simple meal that creates a base line for other more complex dishes.

Japanese Curry
1 Carrot
1 potato (or 1/2 a sweet potato)
1 medium onion
1 pound of meat (pork, chicken, beef)
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 cups of water
1 box of Japanese Curry Sauce mix (we use Glico)

Fry the meat in a saucepan, then remove from heat. Fry the chopped onions until clear, then add meat and other vegetables. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down the element to medium-low and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add the curry cubes. Stir and let stand for a few minutes. Makes 4 servings.