A fellow lither told me that she loved my simple cooking tips, particularly since she only owned two pots. Her comment transported me back to my apartment and my life circa 2004 when I first moved to Philadelphia. I had dishes, tons of boxed food, lettuce plus a lingering depression and 30 pounds to lose. What I didn’t have was even the most basic cooking tools— not even two pots.
Fortunately, I soon learned that preparing my own food was crucial to my mood and my weight. Now, seven years later as a much more experienced cook, my first and most basic kitchen tools, are still my most useful. For under $100 you can assemble a basic tool kit that will make cooking and improving your health, easier and more enjoyable.
1. One good knife. Hold it before buying, the weight and handle should feel comfortable in your hands. At least 6-8 inches will be able to handle a variety of tasks from large to small vegetables, meat and herbs. I prefer Wusthof, with full tang blades. ($30-$100)
2. Bamboo cutting board. Bamboo is sustainable, affordable and better for the blades of your knives and preventing bacterial growth than a plastic cutting board. ($2-10)
3. Basic steamer. The easiest way to prepare vegetables, frozen or fresh, is to steam them for 5-10 minutes and serve with a splash of olive oil and salt. ($2-$5 for one that fits into an existing pot)
4. Glass Ball Jars. These provide non-toxic, economical storage for a variety of dishes from dry staples such as nuts and beans to soups, stews and veggies with a minimal footprint in your fridge. They also allow you to clearly see leftovers and available ingredients ($10, approx. for a dozen of a variety of sizes, available at Rittenhouse Hardware)
5. 1 good pot & 1 good pan (stainless steel or cast iron, not non-stick!). I prefer All-Clad stainless steel because they are non-toxic, heat evenly and last a lifetime. ($20-$100 each)
These tools, and the simple cooking they facilitated, changed my moods more than anti-depressants. They have also been the most dramatic weight loss tool in my own wellness exploration. For more on basic cooking tools please see my NBC segment: Kitchen Tools for Healthier Eating.
For a more in-depth look at integrating cooking with real foods into your diet, check out my Truce with Food Program. In five weeks you’ll dramatically overhaul your diet and transform your relationship with food. This is a great way to flush out winter and be excited for the short sleeves and skirts of spring with your new found energy and waist. It’s like the Lithe Immersion for your diet.
Don’t procrastinate, early bird pricing ends February 7 and spots for this program go quickly!
Ali Shapiro is a regular NBC 10! Show contributor and works with individuals and groups to show them how to design their food and life to experience waitless living™. To sign-up for her newsletter, click here..
Images via Ali Shapiro & Google