Continuing with my experimental “How do I adult?” series, I thought I would tackle cooking. I am only at level 3 cooking myself, so that is as far as I can describe to you. If you are trying to figure out how to adult in terms of meals, this might be helpful to you.
Reminder to everyone: It’s ok to ask for help! Whether you are asking or being asked, please don’t treat the question as something that anyone should be ashamed of. If we didn’t get the help we needed to learn these things when growing up, we should still be able to get help to learn these things as adults, and we should be able to do it without feeling ashamed.
Level 1: Sandwiches and the microwave
If you are completely at a loss on how to make food for yourself and find yourself always dependent on other people to make your food for you, this is probably the easiest place to start.
Things to have
Microwave-safe dishes: a bowl, a plate, and maybe a casserole dish
Eating utensils: a butter knife, a fork, and a spoon
I think microwavable meals are the easiest way to get into feeding yourself. Many microwavable foods are not necessarily the healthiest choices out there, but it is food and you will eat. Options for foods to microwave include noodle bowls, canned pasta, and small frozen pizzas. They will all have microwave directions on them – simply follow the directions using your microwave-safe dishes if necessary, and you will have food!
Edited to add: E (The Third Glance) has reminded me that I really must explicitly point out – no metal in the microwave! No utensils, no aluminum foil, no metal dishes, and no dishes with metal trim. No metal WHATSOEVER goes in the microwave.
To get a bit more healthy, look in the frozen vegetables section of your grocery store (is this overwhelming? Don’t worry, a grocery shopping post is in the works). Many frozen vegetables can also be microwaved – look for cooking instructions on the bag.
Also in the frozen section are what I call bag meals. As with the vegetables, many of them have the option of cooking them in the microwave. You will need your microwave safe casserole dish for this. These can be healthy or not-healthy, depending on which ones you get. I usually try to find diet or low-fat bag meals, because meals with a lot of fat, oil, or grease give me stomach aches. Along with bag meals there are also pre-made microwavable meals in boxes that a designed to be heated in the microwave.
Getting away from the microwave
Maybe you don’t have access to a microwave. Or maybe you want to make simple foods that don’t require one. The simplest options I know of are noodle bowls again, and sandwiches.
Noodle bowls can often also be made by pouring boiling water into them, rather than heating them in the microwave. This does call for a kettle to boil and safely pour the water.
Then there are sandwiches. You will need bread and your choice of sandwich toppings, and probably a butter knife to spread toppings. A classic is peanut butter and jelly – spread the jelly on one slice, peanut butter on the other slice, and put together to be a sandwich. Lunchmeat sandwiches are a bit more involved, but can be very good.
Hey, how about I write out how to construct a basic lunchmeat sandwich?
You will need
a plate (or paper towel or simply a clean surface to make your sandwich on)
a butter knife (if you are planning on using mayonnaise or ketchup or mustard or other condiment)
optional: lettuce or other greenery, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard
(salad bags in the produce section can be a good way to handle your greenery)
Putting it all together
Take out two slices of bread and place them side-by-side on your plate (or other food-prep surface).
Start with your condiments. If you are wanting to use more than two condiments that can get a little tricky as you will need to layer them. I usually just use mayonnaise. You can use whatever you find tasty.
Take your lettuce and put it on one of your slices of bread. Take your lunchmeat and put it on top of the lettuce. Top it off with the other slice of bread, and presto! You have food!
Remember to close your bottles of condiments and put everything back where it was, and make sure your dirty dishes get into the dishwasher or sink or counter to be washed.
The nice thing about sandwiches is that they offer a very smooth way to level up if you want to. A sandwich can be as simple as peanut butter on bread, or can have all sorts of ingredients like pickles, tomatoes, peppers, and whatever else you want.
Want something a little more involved than this? Move onto level 2 – basic stovetop cooking. (you may need to scroll down to find the page buttons)