This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I like some kinds of junk food. I try to limit how much of it I eat, but I have a weakness for pad thai. I have searched around at the 5 – 7 thai restauarants by my house and the average cost to buy it is around $11 an order, which I gladly paid up until about a year ago when I found out that pad thai really isn’t all that difficult to make. The thing that really makes this recipe is the sauce, which includes 4 ingredients (fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind paste, and chili powder/sauce), and very little skill to create.
For the same $11, I can make almost 4 portions of the same junk food I love – all I do is make extra sauce when I’m cooking and after that I’m just as fast at cooking it as a restaurant.. The added benefits to making my own is that I know exactly what is going into it, and I don’t need to leave the house or pay delivery fees to get it. My wife does not really like Thai food at all, so it helps her as well, as her normal order at a Thai restaurant is a bowl of white rice.
My charcoal barbeque also replaces many super-expensive restaurant meals. I can find as good or better cuts of meat as can be found in an up-scale steakhouse and have learned how to cook it very well. For the fraction of the cost of a restaurant meal, I can cook something as good or better and not have to deal with people (hmmm, maybe it’s not so much the cost of the restaurant as the people I’m trying to get away from).
Learning to cook, and cook well doesn’t take much – I learned from having a laptop with YouTube going in the kitchen (this is also how I learn to do most of my home repairs). There is so much information out there that there’s really no excuse to not try to learn.
I watch and care about what I eat as much as possible. I buy my meat locally from “green” farms who pasture-feed their animals, rather than sticking their pigs and cattle in a very unhealthy feedlot. I like to know what goes into my meals, and the skill of cooking, and cooking well has allowed me to have more control over what I’m eating the vast majority of the time.
I will freely admit that I do go out and spend money on food that other people have cooked. My wife and I are going to be attending our second rib-fest of the year this weekend, where we’ll probably spend somewhere between $100 and $150 on ribs; “carnival food” such as blooming onions, butterfly fries (a personal favourite), elephant ears; and beer.
Would you say you’re a good cook? What’s your favourite meal to cook at home?