I have always eaten well. Even in college when people would complain about being broke, I ate nutritious and delicious food. My diet never suffered when my wallet was thin for one reason – I could cook.
Outfitting a man’s kitchen.
Although I now have a fully loaded kitchen, a man on a budget only needs these kitchen items:
- Skillet (stainless steel or cast iron);
- Vegetable steamer (doubles as a sauce pan, pasta maker, and rice cooker);
- Cutting board.
- Crock pot. If you are on a budget, the single best thing you can buy is a crock pot. As poor white trash, we at a lot of food out of the crock pot.
A crock pot will turn a cheap roast into the most moist and delicious steak you have ever eaten. I like this big crock pot with a timer. You can set it on your way to the office or work. After 6 hours (or whatever you set the timer to) the crock pot will switch into warm mode.
Go to the grocery store. Ask the clerk where 15 bean soup is. Buy a cheap roast. If you are really broke, throw in some soup bones. The marrow from the bones will flavor your beans. Plus bone marrow is rich in l-glutamine.
Soak the beans overnight. In the morning throw everything into a crock pot. Your entire house will smell awesome when you get home and you’ll have enough stew or chili to feed an army.
That really is it. Sure, I have a knife that by itself cost more than all of those items. But we are talking about what you need, not what you might want.
Cooking is actually really easy. Guys only think it’s hard after watching a cooking show or reading a chef’s book. What does it mean to whisk and what’s all this stuff about separating dry and wet ingredients?
Plus, men shouldn’t be baking, anyway. Live and die on a stove top. Let your girlfriend bake you cookies and if you really want pizza, throw the thing on the rack.
Cooking should remain simple. For example, here is a simple recipe for the best fried eggs you will ever eat:
- Turn the stove to medium-high heat. Throw some coconut oil onto a skillet. Once the pan starts to sizzle, go to the sink. Get a little water on your fingertip. Flick some water onto the stove. If the water violently bubbles and fizzes, the skillet is ready.
- Throw on some eggs. I usually eat 4 or 5. Use the full egg. Yolks are loaded with cholesterol and cholesterol is a testosterone precursor.
- Once the white starts to brown a little around the edges, turn the stove off. Then flip the eggs over and leave them on the skillet for a few seconds to a minute.
- I usually just leave the eggs flipped over long enough to cook the whites. I like a soft yolk.
Once you can cook eggs on a skillet, you can cook anything.
Here are some basic rules for the kitchen.
Rule #1. Ingredients matter the most.
Remember this rule and good things will follow. Forget everything else and you will still eat well.
Think about the last banana you ate. If the banana was light yellow or even green, it was hard to peel. It’s texture was too firm. It tasted a little “off.”
If you had left that same banana alone for a day or two, it would have ripened. A ripe banana (it should have some black spots), tastes like dessert. It’s perfect.
All food follows the same principle. If you use quality food, your meal will turn out OK.
It’s one thing to say that you should buy quality ingredients. What does that specifically mean?
- Get ripe, in-season fruits and vegetables.
You could buy a book or read a website to learn the ins-and-outs of vegetable and fruit ripeness. Or you could go out into public and actually talk to people.
Ask a girl how a ripe avocado should feel. Ask the people in the produce department questions.
It amazes me when guys spend all day reading shit on “social dynamics” when you can be out interacting with people. Ask some questions and make some friends.
- Buy brown eggs (if you can afford them).
Eggs with brown shells have a more yellow yolk and just taste better than white eggs. They are most expensive. If you can only afford the bulk white eggs that come in the plastic cartons, no big deal.
- Inexpensive cuts of meat are fine if you get a crock pot.
Rule #2. You only need a few quality ingredients. I saw a show on food trucks. One of the dishes contained homemade jalapeno jam. That’s the kind of shit hipsters and self-indulgent yuppies eat.
Since I care about my body, I don’t get into anything fancy like making scones or baking bread.
This is a healthy, Paleo-style side dish.
It has three ingredients: cauliflower, carrots, and avocado. It’s loaded with cancer-fighting foods, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. It also tastes delicious.
How did I make it?
Steam carrots and cauliflower for 5-10 minutes. (Cooking time depends on how raw tasting you want your food and whether you get distracted while it’s on the stove.) Remove from stove and put it into a bowl.
Slice an avocado.
That’s it. Season with salt and pepper if you want. Or add some red pepper flakes. You can even get fancy by adding curry powder. Curry is loaded with anti-oxidants and fights cancer. Curry also goes with eggs.
I ate those veggies with 6 fried eggs and then lifted. That is a muscle meal.
Rule #3. You only need a few kitchen essentials. I gave you a quick list at the begging of the post. Consider this an elaboration.
- Stainless steel skillet. I have the 14″ one because it’s only $30 or so on Amazon. The 12″ one costs twice as much. I don’t understand why. Wouldn’t the larger one use more stainless steel and thus be more expensive?
The 14 inch model is a beast. It takes up a full burner and spills over to the top burner. Alpha.
In that picture is wild Alaskan salmon from Costco. I’m going to do a separate post on saving money while eating well. Rule #1 of that post will be to buy in bulk at a place like Costco.
My 4-5 ounce salmon patties cost me $4.25 each. At a restaurant you’ll pay 4-5 times as much. Shop at Costco.
- Chef’s knife. I have the Shun 8″ chef knife. It’s expensive. Then again it has lasted me over 5 years and every time I use it I feel like a samurai.
How sharp is this thing? It’s so sharp that if you hold up a roast, you don’t need to cut into the meat. Simply touch the roast with the knife. The force of gravity pulling down the meat is enough.
For a tighter budget, Swiss Army knife is at your rescue. They sell quality knives at a low price.
Or get some Komachi knives. You can get a chef’s knife for under $10. You can pick up a full set for a really good price. Yes, their knives are pink and purple. If that bothers you, you might be a closeted homosexual, because no straight man on a budget cares if something is pink if it means saving money.
If you have a lot of money, get the Shun. You won’t regret it. It’s what I use. But if you’re on a budget, use pink and purple knives.
- Bamboo cutting board. You need a cutting board for two reasons. First, to protect your knife. If you recklessly cut items on your counter top, your blades will get dull. This will cost you money in the long run as you’ll need to re-sharpen and replace your knives.
Second, a cutting board keeps the meat or whatever material you’re working with off the counter. This means less bacteria being transferred to and from your countertop.
- (Optional) ceramic knives. I recently started using the Shenzhen ceramic knives. These things are amazing. Ceramic knives are the sharpest knives on the market. They are light and easy to handle. The downside is that they are brittle. Don’t drop them and always use them on a cutting board.
- (Optional) knife block. You need to protect your knives.
- Stainless steel vegetable steamer. A lot of people microwave vegetables. That’s fine, but steaming vegetables is easy if you have the right equipment.
Throw in a couple of cups of water. Turn the stove on high. Steam the veggies for 5-10 minutes while you make and omelette. Boom. Perfect meal.
- A juicer. You could eat green eggs and ham. Or you could drink a green juice with eggs.
Fry some eggs. The fat from the eggs will help your body absorb the carotenoids from the kale.
We all have different financial situations. But no matter how much money you make, you can save money and eat healthier by cooking your own food.
I feel an immense satisfaction from cooking my own meals. I rarely eat out because my meals are healthier, a better value, and most of the time taste better than anything professional prepared.
I’ll be posting more receipes soon.
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