An Important Reason to Learn to Cook

My wife dresses to kill, she dresses the same way

A recent article on the “disturbing ingredients” to be found in fast food has got me going again! More about this in my next post when I’ve had time to check things out but just as a taster these are the ingredients of a Burger King Tendergrill Chicken Fillet in the US (which I believe t is called a Tendercrisp in the UK, I am not sure if the ingredients are exactly the same here) ...

Fancy it?

And these are the ingredients I would use if I made a similar thing myself ...


The only odd thing in my version is the calcium disodium edta in Hellman’s mayonnaise which I have looked into and find that this is used as a preservative in food and is generally safe in small quantities but, according to Naturally Savvy's Article on Harmful Food Additives in Salad Dressings it ...

 “may cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, skin rash and possible kidney damage. Studies have also found that sustained intakes of calcium disodium EDTA can lead to essential mineral depletion in dogs”.  

I’m going to risk it but, if you don’t want to then coat your breasts (haha) in accordance with my instructions here – or make your own mayonnaise!

~   Lightly grease a shallow ovenproof dish with a little olive oil.
~   Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/200ºC fan/gas 7.
~   Season the chicken breast(s) with salt and pepper and brush with the mayonnaise to coat.
~   Put the breadcrumbs (which should also be seasoned with salt and pepper) into a plastic bag, add a chicken breast and shake to coat with the crumbs.  If doing several just do one at a time in the bag.
~   Lay the breasts in the ovenproof dish and bake for about half an hour till crispy and golden and cooked through. 
~   Stick it in a bun with lettuce and tomato if you feel like it, you could even “carefully layer” them if you have the time.

There are a couple of easy ways to flavour this just the way you like it (rather than the way Burger King or McDonalds etc. think best) ...

1.   Add flavour to the mayonnaise by stirring in a little garlic or mustard or chilli or curry paste etc.  Get the picture?

2.   Add flavour to the breadcrumbs by adding herbs or spices or lemon zest, for instance.


The Tendercrisp is £4.49 without chips or other sides and weighs 255g.  My version using Tesco skinless and boneless chicken breast fillets (not even the cheap ones!) is £1.75 for the chicken (225g) plus say 50p for the rest of ingredients, so about £2.25 for about 300g of food.

I do, of course, realise that Burger King and the others have to pay staff, rent buildings, pay tax and make a profit but it still makes me question, again ...

Why would anyone pay a comparatively large amount of money for a small portion of not as good as  it could be (to say the least) – possibly 
artificial, maybe dangerous food?  
Why, why, why?

For more on this subject and how to (quickly and easily) make the perfect burger click here.

Related to this I suggest that a really good New Year’s Resolution would be ...

Learn to Cook!

If you do the thing properly this could help you fulfill several New Year Resolutions at the same time, such as ...

Get Healthier
Lose Weight
Save Money
Waste Less
Spend Quality Time with Family

I know some people are daunted by the idea of learning to cook but I promise you it is not difficult. OK there are some dishes best left to the experts (soufflé, crème brulée and oseng oseng wortel dan bloemkool for instance) but good home cooking is achievable by anyone who puts a little (and I do mean a little) effort into it.

I am completely and utterly self-taught, have had my own restaurants which have been listed in the Good Food Guide and many others, I eat wonderful food every meal of my life, feed my real man according to his own peculiar Geordie tastes and I have travelled the world on my credentials as a chef – so it’s worked for me!

Now I am retired-ish so am trying my best to publish (really cheaply) all sorts of useful information so that other people can get on with eating delicious food of their choice, whatever and whenever they want (including Sudden Lunches), made from good pure ingredients, huge portions if they like, in the comfort of their own homes for less money than a takeaway.  Seems like a no brainer to me.


Sue said...

The lists of manufactured food ingredients is horrifying and it seems get longer and longer with each passing year.

I'll stick to home cooked plain food thanks and if we do eat out it is always a treat and therefore we can afford to go to cafes, restaurants and pubs that serve 'real food' not fast food joints that serve mass produced fake food.

Too many people, as you say, simply can't cook, sometimes it's no fault of their own to begin with but anyone can learn. We have a whole generation of children thinking that only ready prepared foods can be bought and consumed, with the most used appliance in the kitchen being the microwave :-(

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

Kind of sad, sin't it!

As you say anyone can learn and its so worthwhile!