Help! How do I mix foods to make a meal? #AskAvery

Dear Avery, 

I’ve been ordering takeout every night for the past month. The Doordash, Grubhub, and Ubereats delivery people see me more than my boyfriend. Yes, the $20 lo mein delivered straight to my door is tasty and convenient, but those bills are starting to pile up.

Any advice on how to make the change to, ugh, cooking?

Your Friend,

Chef Boyaremyarmstired

Dear Chef Boyaremyarmstired,

I’ve been there many times. In fact, I just got back from my night class and now I’m staring at the stove and the fridge thinking “Am I really about to make tacos right now?” After a long day of the daily grind, it can be hard to motivate oneself to dramatically turn into Remy from Ratatouille.

However, as a not-chef with the ability to throw food items together into something sustainable, I can offer a few words of advice. Now, throw your apron on, and let’s get started:

Shop the basics

So, the first step in cooking is… I guess actually buying the ingredients. I am BIG at fault for going to the grocery store and only buying snacks. Then, when dinner time rolls around, the pantry is empty except for Pirate Booty (IYKYK) and a clove of garlic. Not exactly Gordon Ramsey approved.

When going grocery shopping, you don’t have to plan out everything you’re going to cook. But, try to pick out foods that are adaptable. Pasta and bread, chicken and tofu, veggies, sauces, etc. This way you’ll be able to implement the ‘Throw that shit together’ technique from later in this article.

Freezer = friend 

Oh yeah, one more thing about grocery shopping.

Think about when the pilgrims came to fuck shit up on the Mayflower. They had to put all their meats and veggies in SALT to keep them preserved. Imagine eating beef jerky for 6 months straight…couldn’t be me.

Luckily scientists at NASA (or whatever) blessed us with a device called the freezer. Nothing kills my Jewish heart more than throwing out groceries gone bad because I didn’t use them in time. However, things pretty much last forever in the freezer.

Trader Joe’s does freezer well. I recommend getting things like frozen vegetables, rice, dumplings, chicken, etc. You will not find an easier meal.


Now that you bought your ingredients, it’s time to cook.

The easiest way to make a meal is by combining a carb with a protein with a vegetable with a sauce with a glass of white wine (semi-optional).

Some basic examples are pasta + chicken + broccoli + alfredo, corn tortilla + beans + peppers + salsa, rice + tofu + frozen stir fry + soy sauce. You get the picture. This is a foolproof formula, patent-pending.

Once you figure out what flavors you enjoy, the world is your delicious food oyster from there. 


So that’s the secret to cooking unlocked. You’re welcome. And when it comes down to it, order that takeout once in a while because you deserve it.