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Earlier this week, we released our e-book Eat Better on a Budget: A Complete Guide to Cooking at Home. Altogether, we spent 8 months conceptualizing, writing, editing, organizing, and shaping it so all 116 pages fulfilled a particular vision.
We wanted to over-deliver.
We wanted to contribute something valuable to the communities we’re a part of and we wanted it to reflect our beliefs about food and cooking since they are co-stars in our journey. This is largely because I used to be a chef. Naturally, I do all of the cooking in our home including meals prepared for our hungry two year old. But don’t get it twisted, Mrs. r&R knows her way around the kitchen too!
Nevertheless, the book is the result of many hours of hard work and quite a bit of money which we hope to recoup soon. We share that with you because we want to reinforce that we are regular people that just so happen to have a particular set of skills that have served us well over the years. Given most people learn how to cook by trial and error, our aim was to help shorten the learning curve so that readers were less discouraged cooking and better positioned to achieve their financial goals.
But why does eating better matter? What does that even mean? We could’ve just called the book Eating on a Budget but doesn’t that make you think of a sad, soggy burger and cold fries that are halfway eaten by the time you get home?
We made a point to emphasize the word better because we’re keenly aware of the images that come to mind when people think about food, cooking and eating alongside FIRE or the debt payoff journey. I see struggle plates all the time on social media and believe that is what people think of eating when they’re in debt payoff mode. By showing people that they can eat BETTER than they do today, we hope to change that perception so more people are encouraged to stick to their budgets.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s easy for me to say since I used to be a chef and to that I say…you’re right. But who better to learn from than someone who knows how to do it on a high level. Furthermore, the goal isn’t to make YOU a chef. Rather, our goal was to put a chef in your back pocket so that whether you’re in the grocery store, on the way home from work or standing in front of a cutting board, you always have a tool within reach that makes you better at something you may not be quite good at today.
A few years ago, when we were both traveling for work often, we decided to subscribe to a meal subscription service. You know one of those Plated, Blue Apron deals to help switch it up a bit. After all, it’s cheaper and likely healthier than going out to eat all the time. The very first time we did it, we were shocked at how advanced the recipes were…and this is coming from a chef!
One recipe was for a brocolli and cheesese stromboli and I remember stumbling through it like a first semester culinary student. I didn’t have a rolling pin so I used a wine bottle. I didn’t have parchment paper so I used olive oil on the bottom of the cookie sheet. Our home must have been humid that day because the dough absorbed quite a bit of the flour and I didn’t have any extra to use while I was kneading it.
The end result was just…ok. Some meals were better than others but most were just…meh.
The best part was the novelty of the experience and the challenge it presented. But when I thought about all the adjustments and tweaks I had to make on the fly, it dawned on me that most people could never do this, especially if they have children. Even worse, after a few weeks, I had a fridge full condiments in single use pouches that I had no other use for. What am I supposed to do with seventeen golden raisins and two drops of mirin?
This experience reminded me that despite what people say they want; recipes and meal plans likely aren’t the long-term solution. This is because…Recipes can tell you what to make, but they don't teach you how to cook better. Click To Tweet
They may tell you to add a tablespoon of butter to a pan but there is no way to accurately describe how hot a pan is. They can tell you to cook the salmon for 5 minutes on both sides but if they fail to mention the recipe was designed with a center cut and you have a tail cut, you’ll cook your fish to death. The bottom line is…Everyone needs to know how to cook. If not to win the affection of someone you love or your children…for themselves. Click To Tweet
Writer and star of one my fave Netflix docu-series [Cooked], Michael Pollan, said “When we learned to cook is when we became truly human” and I couldn’t agree more. Aside from the joy gained from a full belly and the money saved versus eating out there is tremendous gratification in eating a meal you’ve prepared. It’s no surprise people refer to food as the way to their heart.
We’re fortunate because we enjoy delicious and healthful meals often at home. We’ve spoken about it on podcasts and written about it here on our blog. It’s important to us because today, we don’t splurge on other things though we’d very much like to. We’re more committed to pursuing financial independence than we’ve ever been and one of the reasons we can tolerate these temporary tradeoffs is by enjoying delicious and healthy home cooked meals.
We want more people to know what that feels like so they don’t feel like the debt payoff journey is so filled with deprivation. If you’re having a terrible week, why not treat yourself to a juicy ribeye, vegetable lasagna or garlic and herb roasted lobster tail. Wouldn’t you rather pay $7.99 and enjoy a lobster tail at home than pay $18 + for it in a restaurant? We wrote Eat Better on a Budget with that in mind and since today, is your lucky day, below is a 20+ page sample of the book for you to enjoy.
To get the full Eat Better on a Budget ebook, click here or below.