a single person’s relatively healthy guide to cooking: general tips

Brought to you by a girl who once had a panic attack over peeling some potatoes, and has an eternal vendetta against 90% of vegetables.


- the main things you need are a pot and a frying pan, a largish knife and some sort of stirring implement. technically you could probably do everything just with the frying pan, but ideally you wanna have a little more to work with. you also need air tight containers for storing things.

- extra things that i really really think you should have: a pot-steamer for your veggies, a grater, a chopping board, a wooden spoon (stirring implement!), a spatula, a knife sharpener. if you can’t get a hold of a pot steamer, you can steam veggies in the microwave, and microwaves in general are handy, so having access to one of those is good. however, if you don’t, everything i talk about can be done without a microwave! 

- look non-stick is shit. i am 800% sure that other, better adults can work with them perfectly fine, but i absolutely get things stuck to them, and then they burn, and then you can’t clean them easily because it fucks up the coating and everyone is crying. i use a straight metal frying pan from scanpan, and oil. oil won’t kill you, it’s fine, and you can use steel wool to scrub the shit out of it when you inevitably burn the oil to the pan, so it’s even better.

- pot size, i used a small-to-medium sized pot because im just cooking for me. my frying pan is….idk 26cm in diameter or something? it is not the biggest you can get basically. it can be handy to get pots in various sizes, but my recommendation to you is to splash out on getting one higher quality pot/frying pan than a range of lesser quality stuff that you don’t really need when it’s just you. obviously if you can’t afford that, that’s more than okay! an investment in cooking shit can save you down the road because they last longer, but you gotta do what you can best afford. basically, a pot and frying pan are enough, so get the best you can for what you can afford.

- airtight containers! i actually use glass jars that i inherited from my mother, who hates plastic in most of its forms. you can pretty much do the same if you want to - instead of tossing out sauce jars or jam jars or what have you, just wash them out and store them in the cupboard. because we’re cooking for one person here and 99% of shit you can make is not for one people, we’re gonna freeze shit. so you want a nice collection of containers.


- i have Serious Vegetable Issues ( i hate most and will put up with a select few). You might also! so my recommendation for you here is to have a frozen bag of whatever vegetable you hate the least in the freezer. whatever you can stomach or put up with most easily, have that on you at all times. for me, it’s peas. i also have beans, which i don’t enjoy that much but can get down, and then once or twice a week i’ll buy a couple of carrots and maybe some brocolli. if i’m making a meal that doesn’t suit any of that, i’ll grab some spinach, which i also don’t like but can get down. so basically, no matter what i’m making i can usually shove some peas on the side and get some veggies down.

- idk how produce works in the states, i have heard canned veggies are a thing? any veggies is better than no veggies. keep your least hated veggies on hand, basically. you want to have something vaguely healthy that can just pair up with whatever you’re eating.

- potatoes are not a veggies. potatoes are GREAT and i definitely eat them a couple times a week, but we put these into the ‘carb’ territory, next to rice and noodles/pasta. they are to assist you in the eating of the veggies and to help fill you up. they are not veggie replacements, and we do not treat them as such

- root vegetables keep for longer than shit that grows above ground. i have had some of my potatoes in the cupboard for a distressingly long time and they’re fine. just pick off the things that start to grow off them ok, and probably eat them before a month is up? same with onions. garlic i think lasts forever, or at least i sure hope so because i’m still going through mine two months later and i have not died. all of these things go in the cupboard.

- carrots will also keep for a longer time (root vegetable!), but we put those in the fridge. if you don’t have access to a vegetable crisper tray (it’s usually at the bottom of the fridge portion), keep your veggies wrapped in plastic bags. parsnips are basically ghost carrots. broccoli is good for maybe three days before it really starts to get soggy and sad for itself. cauliflower is basically ghost broccoli, but it’s terrible and i hate it. you might not! but same length of time rules apply here. spinach/lettuce/leafy greens you probably don’t want to keep around longer than 2/3 days either. like you can stretch broccoli out to day 4? but not so much with leafy greens.

- there is no such thing as a baby carrot. they are big carrots shaved down to size. you can do this at home, don’t buy baby carrots

- you do not need someone else to wrap your vegetables or fruit up for you. you are a single person, buying in bulk for fresh produce is a bad idea. you are never going to get through that bag of apples. you do not need your zuchini on a tray. do not be afraid of picking out your own vegetables, all right? it’s fine if they’re shaped weird. the main thing you want to check is that they don’t have any soft spots, especially for apples, onions, potatoes, that sort of thing. for your green veggies, make sure nothing is too droopy or brown. i have no idea how to check carrots and that has worked out okay for me so far.

- like. there are tubes of small apples at my supermarket? and nets of perfectly white and similarly shaped garlic? and it is not necessary. there is nothing wrong with the other loose produce they have. your garlic does not need to be Pure and your apples do not need to be Tiny or Tubified. save your money, and just buy a couple at a time.

- it is much easier to just buy your fresh shit every couple of days if you can. i’m lucky - i have a supermarket that i pass every day on my walk home from work, so i just pick up a few bits and pieces when i need to. BUT YEAH, if it is at all possible, get your fruit and vege every 3-4 days. otherwise, plan your meals out by how long the vegetables will last.

- fruit makes for great snacks. honestly for work, i have started taking grapes, a banana, an apple, and a sammich, and it keeps me going all day. this is chea for me - fruit is basically cheaper than any other snack you could buy here. 5 days of grapes is $4. it may be different where you are, but if you can afford it, i recommend it.


- buy meat in bulk if you can, and when it’s on special. i basically alternate between chicken and mince, and that’s what i’m going to be posting recipes using mostly. i’ll get a tray of 3x chicken breasts, take them home, REMOVE THE SKIN, and then chop them in half. you end up with about lady-palm sized hunks of chicken, which is enough for one meal. then you wrap them up in cling wrap and shove ‘em in the freezer. they’re good for approx 3 months, but use them before then p l e a s e

- same thing with mince. buy a big tray, chop it up into single serving size chunks, cling wrap, freeze. you are set for a month.

- buy better cuts of mince if you can? like here, you get premium mince, prime mince, and then just…mince. premium mince is more expensive and comes more in 2 serving sizes than 4 servings, so i buy prime. the reason for this is that there is less fat in the better mince, so you are actually getting more meat for your money. if you are buying cheaper mince, there’s more fat in that meat - try to cook it out and drain that before you use it, if that’s what you’re getting.

- the other thing you can do with chicken is that if your supermarket sells roasted chickens, buy one. use it in your meal that night, and then break the whole thing down and put it into jars, freeze it. that way you don’t even need to worry about cooking it more than to heat it up when you want to use the chicken! apparently you can use the bones for stock, but fucked if i know how

- i also have a couple of other frozen kinds of meat in the freezer. burger patties, and fish…things. idk they’re crumbed, they’re great. what happens, is that you end up with a variety of effort levels of food. if i’m feeling ucking lazy, i can defrost a jar of whatever. midlevel effort food is just one of those patties or fish + potatoes + whatever veggies i feel like making. actual effort food requires actual recipes, which i will supply!

- mince is cooked when it’s brown, chicken is cooked when it’s white on the inside.


- food staples! oil, salt, pepper if you like it (i don’t really but i…have it), garlic, onion. that’s the shit i use in basically everything. i like to have some stock on hand because i use it in a lot of recipes, same with coconut cream or milk.

- you can also freeze with liquids. i buy a big carton of chicken stock, open it, use enough for whatever im making, then pour it into jars (this is why jars are handy over other containers). bang it in the freezer, pull it out when you need to use it again. the other thing i typically freeze is coconut cream/milk.

- look you dont need whatever expensive breakfast cereal it’s probably got a fuckton of sugar anyway. porridge or toast or yoghurt or fruit - basically plain shit that gets you going for the day is fine.

- baking sweet things rather than buying them is also better for you if you can. obviously this requires a certain time investment that you may not have, but if you DO, i recommend that also. i just made fudge for the first time it was amazing, i feel super proud. it also helps break up all that fruit. it’s a little different from cooking also, in that for most baking things you’re essentially combing a bunch of ingredients all at once and then making them hot. cooking can involve a little more juggling of ingredients at different times

- basically the general rule of thumb is that, if you can store it for a long time, buy in bulk. if you can’t, buy it in small portions.

- you will probably fuck up and burn shit. this is okay. you are only cooking fr yourself, and burned food won’t kill you. undercooked food might so erring on the side of overcooked is better anyway. that’s a success!!

- the point is, no one is a Chef when they first start out, potentially ever, and that’s fine. it’s okay for your food to be okay. it’s even okay to totally fuck it up. this is a learning process, and you will be fine. just make sure your chicken isn’t pink


in honour of @siderealscion, who has somehow not died yet

self-care is escaping into the wilderness on a bitter winter night in disbelief that your friends [including your crush] could pull such an awful prank on you only to be chased through the woods with your sister by an unknown predator only to tumble down a steep, rocky cliff and break your leg, realizing that your sister is dead and no one is coming to save you so you slowly eat her remains and transform into a wendigo, exacting your revenge a year later when your friends come back to your family’s mountain estate by killing them off one by one