Yes, I Cook From Scratch

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.

I am a graduate student. I work varied hours, sometimes coming home early, sometimes I do work at home, and sometimes I’m gone for 10+ hours. And, yes, I cook almost all my meals from scratch.

People find this to be weird. This goes back a bit to my earlier post on my old blog about real foodies being marginalized. It goes back to my dental checkup, where the hygienist marveled at the idea that I make dinner every night. Yes, every night (occasionally, maybe once a month, we’ll get something out or pick up take-out from a local cafe). It goes back to an anecdote from a friend on an online community where someone implied to her that “modern women” don’t cook from scratch for their families. Well, excuse me, but if a PhD student in physical science isn’t a modern enough woman for you, then maybe you need to re-evaluate your concept of modernity.
Of course, I realize that plenty of people don’t know where to start. Cooking from scratch seems so complicated and time-consuming if you’ve never done it. Everyone starts from scratch, so to speak. I personally started cooking quite a bit from boxes and cans. It wasn’t great, but it was a start, and it taught me what combinations I liked, so I could continue on to make my own versions of things like mac and cheese, and baked beans.
The traditional foods movement speaks a lot to me as a home cook, not because I plan to quit my job and become a full-time homemaker, but because I enjoy the connection to my food. Perhaps it helps me feel more connected to the land, to touch and smell the products of her womb. Every week, my favorite farmer to visit is the guy who always has out a wealth of roots — sweet potatoes and potatoes. He also has tomatoes, squash, and peppers sometimes. Or green beans. But I like him best because he always looks like he just finished digging potatoes from the Earth.
And that’s the kind of connection I want with my food. To hold and examine and smell each item as I decide how best to turn it into a meal crafted with loving energy. Even though I don’t have children, our little family of two can still benefit from the energy that goes into homemade meals. It’s not about feminism or modernity, but about putting something into my body that I took the time to infuse with meaning and energy, rather than a paper-wrapped sandwich hastily put together by an overworked fast food employee.
So I ask my readers, where on the cooking-from-scratch journey are you?

6 responses to this post.

  1. this is a lovely post! I'm definitely with you on the wanting to have a closer connection to your food, to the ingredients, and to the land. I also make all my food from scratch, except for the bread that I (only occasionally) buy. I find it relaxes me after a hard or long day, and makes me feel like me again. When doing my finals, I also noticed I used it to de-stress; unlike studying hard for years, the results of half-an-hour's cooking are there and ready to be gobbled up. And anyway, when you're only one or two, leftovers can be made to go a long way. My only trouble is occasionally getting stuck in a food rutt, and making the same thing over several times…Sonja (


  2. Oooh, I'm so going to address that last thing in a future post, as soon as I test out a new system I'm working on…


  3. I just found your site via Primal Toad's. Have added you to my links!


  4. I would be so sad if I couldn't cook. I love homemade foods so much and they make me feel complete.


  5. I think that any meal that is made intentionally – with love is good for the body and good for the soul. I don't cook 100% from scratch but every meal I do is one more healthy real meal my family eats and I think that is an accomplishment. I am totally impressed you are able to being so busy but I can tell it is so worth it to you.


  6. I absolutely think that it's important to start by cooking at home, even if you use shortcut foods. No, it's not the most healthy, but once you're used to just making every meal at home, you can gradually start replacing packaged foods with homemade. That's what we did — my husband now makes his own bread for sandwiches even.Thanks for the comments. I do think that part of the satisfaction of a home-cooked meal is in the preparation.


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