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January 11, 2010

Feed Your Brain

This Extra Ink was written by Betsy C.

A few weeks ago, I challenged Extra Ink readers to pick a New Years' resolution with a twist--something you'd actually enjoy, instead of the same old racket. One of my suggestions was learning to cook--but that might seem intimidating if your chef qualifications extend only so far as toast and microwave mac 'n' cheese. But I promise it's not hard! Harness the power of the internet and the library, follow a few simple steps, and you'll be cooking up fabulous feasts in no time.

One of the easiest things to make when you're starting out is eggs: they're fast-cooking, yummy, protein-rich and gluten-free, and they come in conveniently pre-packaged individual servings (also known as eggshells). Even better, they can be cooked in so many different ways, there's bound to be a preparation out there you'll like. They say the pleats in a chef's hat stand for all the different ways he or she can cook an egg!

An easy way to start is a scramble. Crack an egg into a cup, add a tablespoon of milk, and mix it up with a fork until it all looks the same. Melt some butter in a pan, pour in your egg, and poke at it with a spatula until it turns solid. If you prefer your egg soft-boiled, all you have to do is put it in a small pot and cover it with water. Put it on the stove and turn the heat on high. As soon as the water boils, turn off the stove and enjoy your perfectly cooked, custardy egg.

For those of you who know your soft boiled from your scrambled already, food blogs are a great place to get inspired. I check out Food Gawker several times a week--the photos alone will make you hungry. Smitten Kitchen and The Pioneer Woman Cooks also have great, usually easy recipes. Even better, dig up some family cookbooks, or ask a food-savvy relative or friend for a favorite recipe.

Who needs fast food when you don't even need to leave your kitchen for a good meal? If you can get your parents to count cooking as a chore, that's even better--how much fun it is will be our little secret.

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