Homemade rye bread on JillHough.com

I resolve to cook more often

It’s still within the first week of the new year, so it’s still okay to be talking about new year’s resolutions, right?

Here’s one of mine. I resolve to cook more often.

Maybe that’s odd, being that I already spend a pretty good portion of my time in the kitchen. But I really think that if we all cooked more often, even just a little more often than we already do, however much that is, it’d make a difference.

I mean, imagine the ecological impact if we were all just a bit less dependent on processed and fast foods. Imagine the economic impact. The impact on our collective health. Imagine the difference it’d make in a family to sit down to a home-cooked meal just a bit more often, and the correlated difference in our communities, our society.

It’d be huge.

But cooking is hard, you might say, or it involves time and attention I just don’t have.

But, um, do you ever say that about brushing your teeth? Or getting dressed in the morning?

No. Those life chores are just things we do, and after about age five no one bitches about it. We accept them as part of life.

So why shouldn’t cooking be the same? Why shouldn’t it be something that we do just because it comes with the territory?

Another way to say that is, you accept brushing your teeth because there’s a cost to not doing it. Well, there’s also a cost to outsourcing your cooking.

I’m not suggesting you become Martha Stewart, or you start making your own butter or milling your own flour, nor do I plan to myself. But wherever you are, try going a little further.

For example, if you don’t cook often, try doing it a little more, even if it means using convenience products like pre-made pizza dough or jarred pasta sauce.

If you currently cook a lot, but use convenience products, try leaning on them a little less by making your own version of just one or two.

If you currently use few convenience products, think about the processed foods that you do use. I almost never buy canned soup, packaged cereal, or bottled salad dressing, for example, but I still lean on others to make things like bread, cheese, pasta, and many condiments—just to name a few of the items currently in my cupboard.

Resolving do that a little less often, I made the rye bread in this post from a recipe in “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” It was easy.

Kind of like brushing my teeth.

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