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how to 
ook more 
... and avoid 
takeout temptation

by Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 3

I really do love to cook, I swear. But there are days -- more days than Iíd like to admit probably Ė when I am just plain unable to cook. No, see, already thatís a lie. Because what it is, more often than not, is that I sometimes flat-out stubbornly refuse to cook, making up a thousand lame-o excuses as to why it really is a better idea for me to pick up the telephone, order a pizza, and wait 20-30 minutes for the delivery guy to show up at my doorstep than to simply throw together a quick and tasty meal in my own kitchen.  Iím too tired, or the fridge is bare, or Iím bored with my repertoire, or thereís nothing I can cook up quickly enough to prevent my grumbling belly from eating itself before I can get a meal on the table. I love to cook, when itís for friends, or Iím trying out a fun new recipe, or Iím just in one of those crazy moods where peeling and dicing and sautťing sound like exactly the therapy I need Ė but on those days when itís just about getting my cranky stomach to stop growling, I hate having to cook.

The thing is, for every reason I can ever think of not to cook Ė most of which donít hold entirely true anyway Ė thereís a much more sensible reason to get my butt into the kitchen. Ordering take-out or going out to eat are fine every once in awhile, but itís generally the case that itíll never taste as good as something Iíve cooked myself. Not to mention the fact that take-out is expensive, and generally pretty damn unhealthy. Plus, in about the same amount of time that it takes for the food to show up at my door, I could have easily fixed up something to eat myself.

So, as part of my new yearís resolution, Iíve resolved that Iím going to get myself to cook more Ė and enjoy it in the process. Want to cook more and eat better? Check out these tips for getting yourself to use that kitchen and eat out less Ö

the pantry
You know that big tall appliance in your kitchen that keeps things cold? That thereís your refrigerator, and the first step towards getting yourself to cook more often is to make sure that it contains something more than milk, ketchup, and a six-pack of beer.

1 Stock the cooking basics: No kitchen should be without olive oil, cooking oil, a few favorite spices, dried herbs, and vinegar (preferably red wine and cider, plus balsamic if you want to get fancier)
2 Pile up on the pasta and rice. It keeps just about forever, and is the perfect filling base for a wide variety of tasty meals.  

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