Minimalist cooking as demonstrated by dudes

I’m pretty sure it was the homemade Snicker-like candy bars that first caught my attention. I read through the ingredients and thought, “I could do this.” And then I did, and they were wonderful. My Halloween candy got a serious upgrade.

The recipe came from the Minimalist Baker. Per her “minimalist” moniker, author Dana creates recipes using only a handful of ingredients. And they’re natural ingredients, which is a bonus because as a rule I like to eat things I can recognize. (Cheetos, obviously, being an exception. I think that neon orange faux-cheese dust must come from a benevolent junk food pixie.)

We make healthy eating too complicated

Can we all just agree that eating meals made from scratch is best? We don’t need nutritionists to tell us this. When we recognize all of the ingredients in our meals, and they come from the earth, we’re on the right track with our diets. But even with this knowledge, healthy eating can get overcomplicated. Like fitness, we tend to make it harder than it needs to be. With good intentions, we create overly complex meal plans and shopping lists. We overstock our pantries with excessive variety (yes—I’m talking to you, cans of artichoke hearts and five types of pasta currently sitting on my shelf). And we accumulate more gadgets than we need. What are we to do?

There’s an easier way to eat healthy as demonstrated by this unexpected role model…

Enter the dude litmus test for cooking, whereby I’ll present a minimalist way to cooking as demonstrated by every bachelor you know. This way of cooking includes 5 ingredients or less prepared in 15 minutes or less. And don’t make me go to the store just to get started, ‘cuz that ain’t gonna happen.

The Minimalist Baker’s recipes usually pass this dude litmus test. As does PB&J (especially if the bread and jam are homemade and the peanut butter is natural). And beans and rice. And God’s greatest food: The sandwich.

Of course you’ll discover quickly that even with the dude litmus test, it’s still easy to overcomplicate things. (Ex. is salad dressing one ingredient, or is it the five I used to make the salad dressing?) Don’t make yourself overly concerned. Eat natural. Keep it simple. And stock up on horseradish mustard.

Let’s try a capsule wardrobe, only with food

So let’s try a new lab experiment. If minimalism works for things like clothing and personal care and overflowing garage gizmos, it’ll work for pantries, freezers, and crammed refrigerator condiment shelves, too. Let’s restrict ourselves to a short list of ingredients and gadgets (like a capsule wardrobe, only with food), and see what happens. Let’s cook like a dude, only perhaps a little healthier.

Personally I’m starting this experiment with two things:
1. An inventory and purge of my pantry
2. And research on simpler meal-planning and recipes (the More-with-Less Cookbook is on my hit-list)

Are you in?