How To Calculate Recipe Cost

The recipe cost breakdowns are a big part of Budget Bytes. And while you’re not likely to have the exact same food costs as me (prices vary quite a bit from location to location, day to day, and even store to store), I think it’s helpful to see how each ingredient can impact the overall cost of a recipe. So now I’d like to dive a little deeper to show you how I make these calculations, and teach you how to calculate recipe costs yourself. Because even if you do it once, I promise you’ll learn a lot!

Originally posted 6-30-2013, updated 5-21-2020.

 

Why Calculate Recipe Costs?

My big “Ah-ha!” moment came when I calculated the cost of my first few recipes. I was always very mindful of the total amount I spent at the grocery store every week, but seeing the breakdown of each ingredient and the total recipe cost that truly revolutionized my way of cooking.

Seeing this breakdown helped me learn how to tweak recipes to make them more filling for less money, while maintaining maximum flavor. I learned that scaling back just a little on the most expensive ingredients (nuts, cheese, meat, etc.) dramatically reduced recipe costs, but didn’t have a huge impact on flavor. Likewise, I learned which inexpensive ingredients helped give my food a big flavor kick for pennies (green onions, cilantro, freshly cracked pepper, dried herbs, etc.), and which ingredients I could use to bulk up a recipe without greatly increasing the total cost (rice, pasta, beans, lentils, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, etc.).

What Method Do You Use?

Here on Budget Bytes I use the same method of calculating recipe costs used by commercial food service operations—adding the costs of each ingredient used, in the amount used, rather than adding the full price of items purchased. Some argue that you can’t just buy 2 Tbsp of olive oil, so the recipe actually costs more to make. The counter argument to that is that you don’t buy an entire bottle of olive oil every time you make a recipe, nor do I consider an ingredient “free” if I already have it in my kitchen and didn’t need to buy it for that recipe. Both methods have their caveats, but I find the method used here to be the most representative of the recipe’s true cost.

What Do I Need to Calculate the Cost of a Recipe?

The process is simple and doesn’t require a lot of time or “equipment.” It’s so simple, in fact, that I do this, by hand, for every single recipe on this website (well over 1000 recipe at this point). To calculate recipe costs you’ll need:

  • Your receipts
  • Original ingredient packages
  • Pen and paper
  • Calculator
  • Grocery store website (as a backup for sourcing prices)

How To Calculate Recipe Costs – Step by Step Tutorial

Okay, so let’s walk through, step by step, what I do to calculate the cost of a recipe on Budget Bytes. For this tutorial, we’ll be using the Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta recipe as an example.

Step 1: Write down the recipe ingredients and quantities

Notebook with ingredients listed

If you like to print your recipes, you can do the calculations right on the printed version of the recipe. I always do my calculations in my recipe development notebook. You’ll fill out the prices in the right hand column as you do the calculations.

Step 2: Fill in prices for ingredients that were used “whole”.

Two Grocery Receipts

Gather your receipts and record the prices for any ingredient that you used in the “whole” form. This could be ingredients like a can of tomatoes, a cucumber, maybe a jar of pasta sauce, a single bell pepper, etc. In this Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta there was only one ingredient that I used in the full volume purchased—diced tomatoes. You can see this item listed as “kro tomatoes $0.59” on the Kroger receipt. Record the price next to this item on your recipe ingredient list.

Note: If you don’t have your receipts, check your grocery store’s website. Some larger stores, like Kroger, allow you to look up items online and the price will be displayed.

Step 3: Calculate Bulk Produce Items

Bag of Onions

For bulk produce items, take the total price listed on the receipt and divide by the number of items purchase. The total price for this bag of yellow onions listed on the receipt was $1.69 and there are six onions in the bag, so each onion is approximately $0.28. Record this price on your recipe ingredient list.

This method works good for other bagged produce, like apples, carrots, oranges, lemons, potatoes, etc. and also things like packages of chicken thighs or breasts.

Garlic Cloves in a bowl

For garlic, each head is usually around $0.60-$0.65 and I get on average about 8 good sized cloves from each head, so I just estimate about $0.08 per clove.

Step 4: Use Package Labels to Calculate Partial Ingredient Costs

For most ingredients you’ll need to use the information listed on the ingredient packages to determine the cost of the amount used in the recipe. Here are some examples:

Penne pasta box

This recipe used 1/2 lb. of penne pasta. The whole box (1 lb.) cost $1.49. Since I used half the box, the cost of the amount used is $1.49 ÷ 2 = $0.75.

Bag of Spinach

The same method was used for this bag of spinach. The full 8 oz. bag cost $1.29, so the cost of the 4 oz. used is $1.29 ÷ 2 = $0.65.
Cream Cheese Package

Sometimes the manufacturers are nice and provide helpful guides for measuring. This full 8 oz. package of cream cheese cost $0.79, so the cost of the 2 oz. used in the recipe is $0.79 ÷ 4 = $0.20.

Can of tomato paste nutrition label

Sometimes the calculations can get a little more involved. The cost of this 6 oz. can of tomato paste was $0.39. We can see on the nutrition label that there are 5 servings of 2 Tbsp in the can, or a total of 10 Tbsp per can. We used 2 Tbsp for the recipe, so the cost of what we used is $0.39 ÷ 5 = $0.08.

Bottle of Olive Oil

I bought this bottle of olive oil a while back, so I had to refer to Kroger.com to get the price. The total price for this bottle was $5.95. We can see on the nutrition label that there are 66 servings of 1 Tbsp in the whole bottle. We used 1 Tbsp for the recipe, so the cost of what we used is $5.95 ÷ 66 = $0.09.

Parmesan bottle nutrition label

This Parmesan cheese is about as complicated as the calculations usually get because we’re converting between unit types. We see on the label that there are 45 servings of 2 tsp in the whole bottle. We used 1/4 cup in the recipe. So first I calculated the cost per tsp: $2.29 (total bottle price) ÷ 45 ÷ 2 = $0.025 per tsp. I know there are 3 tsp per tablespoon, and 4 tablespoons per 1/4 cup, so I calculated a little further: $0.025 x 3 x 4 = $0.31 per ¼ cup.

Step 5: Estimate Costs for Herbs and Spices

A measuring spoon in a bottle of dried basil

Herbs and spices don’t have nutrition labels with serving sizes to work with, and often the entire container only weighs less than 2 oz. Unfortunately I don’t have a kitchen scale that is sensitive enough to weigh something as light as a 1/2 tsp of a dry herb. So, for my purposes I use a generic (and generous) allotment of $0.10 per tsp for most dried herbs and spices. For salt and pepper I estimate a little less and for any rare herbs or spices I double the generic estimation. So, for this recipe: 1/2 tsp dried basil = $0.05, 1/2 tsp dried oregano = $0.05, 1 pinch crushed red pepper = $0.02, 1/2 tsp salt = $0.02, freshly cracked pepper = $0.03

Step 4: Add it all together!

So finally, we have all of the prices of the ingredients filled in on the recipe ingredient list. Now just simply add them all together and then divide by the number of servings and you’ve got the price per serving. So for this recipe, the total cost was $3.28 and with four servings that’s $3.28 ÷ 4 = $0.82 per serving.

A notebook with a recipe written down and prices listed for each ingredient

As you can see, it’s not an exact science, but it will definitely shed some light on where your money is really going. I hope you try it out at least once just to see how it goes. If you want to do it on a regular basis, you can start a spreadsheet with price per unit information for your pantry staples. This way you’ll have a record of the price for items that you may only buy a few times per year (and probably won’t have the receipt handy). Luckily, my blog acts as a “record” of these prices, so I can quickly refer back to my last purchase price.

What About Electricity, Gas, and Water?

Every now and then I get a question about how utilities add to my recipe costs. Unfortunately I don’t have a way to measure the amount and cost of the most of the utilities used in the recipes, but I’m confident that it would be a very small amount. For instance, in this recipe I used 1/2 cup water in the sauce. After checking my last water bill, I paid $0.003 per gallon of water. I round to the nearest cent for these calculations, so the cost of the 1/2 cup water in this recipe is negligible. Water is easy to measure, but I don’t think I could measure the amount of gas or electricity used to heat the oven.

Handy Conversions for Calculating:

  • 3 tsp = 1 Tbsp
  • 4 Tbsp = 1/4 cup
  • 2 Tbsp = 1 fluid ounce
  • 16 Tbsp = 1 cup
  • 2 fluid ounces = 1/4 cup
  • 8 fluid ounces = 1 cup
  • 16 weight ounces = 1 pound

NOTE: “fluid ounces” are a volume unit, weight ounces are a measurement of mass. Solid ingredients are usually listed as weight ounces, liquid ingredients are usually listed in fluid ounces. 8 fluid ounces of one ingredient may not equal 8 weight ounces of that same ingredient. That will depend on the individual density of the ingredient. Cheese is a great example. 4 oz. (weight) of cheese is equal to about one cup (volume) of shredded cheese. One cup is 8 fluid ounces in volume, but only 4 weight ounces of shredded cheese.

Try It Yourself!

I hope I didn’t scare you off with all these calculations! It really is quite simple, especially after you do it a few times. If you’re interested in giving it a shot, start with a simple recipe that only has 3-5 ingredients and see how you do! Then, let me know how it worked out in the comments below. 🙂

P.S. Did you know you can browse our recipes by Cost per Recipe and Cost per Serving? 

The post How To Calculate Recipe Cost appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with a simple chocolate ganache topping is by far the easiest and tastiest chocolate cake you will ever need. The cake is moist and super chocolaty, it will be your go-to recipe for years to come.

If you love cakes and need a recipe to cover any occasion, check out this easy yet fancy Red Velvet Cake, or these classic Vanilla Cupcakes, or the cutest Cake Pops ever!

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

I love, love, LOVE chocolate cake! I can never decline a slice of heavenly chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. But when I’m in need of a chocolate fix stat, I will rely on this trusty and easy one bowl chocolate cake recipe.

Using coffee to enhance chocolate cake flavor

Using cocoa powder to make chocolate cake is obviously a must but you may not know the easiest baker’s trick to enhance chocolate flavor is actually coffee. Just half a cup of coffee is needed for this recipe. Brew your coffee and set it aside to cool for about 15 minutes to half an hour.

How to ensure you don’t curdle the egg with hot coffee?

The correct way to make the cake batter would be to allow the coffee to cool all the way to room temperature. But I can be impatient when I need a chocolate fix. So if the coffee is still a little warm, here’s what I’d do:

  • Mix the warm coffee with the cold buttermilk first to further cool the coffee down.
  • Then add in the vegetable oil and whisk to combine, by this time the temperature should be cool enough to safely add the egg. Check by touching the side of the bowl.
  • Now beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

How to make one bowl chocolate cake

Chocolate cake batter in a mixing bowl

  1. Mix together the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl as described above with the warm coffee and cold buttermilk first, then vegetable, then the egg and vanilla last.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder into the liquid mixture. Add salt and sugar and whisk until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Transfer the cake batter into a parchment-lined buttered 8” round cake pan and bake for about 35 minutes at 350°F.

Chocolate ganache topping

Chocolate ganache is super versatile. It’s made with equal parts of cream and chocolate. It’s super easy and adds another chocolaty dimension to this one bowl chocolate cake. For this recipe, I just use the ganache as is and pour it over the top of the cake. It will set pretty solid once cooled.

Pouring chocolate ganache on top of a chocolate cake

Another way to use it is to whip the ganache to make it fluffier and more like a chocolate frosting before you spread it over the cake.

Storing leftover chocolate cake

You can leave this cake on the counter, at room temperature, covered, for a couple of days. Or store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. It will stay moist and delicious for days.

More easy chocolate cake

  • Chocolate Mug Cake
  • Chocolate Lava Cake
  • Cookies ‘n Cream Chocolate Cake
  • Chocolate Torte

Serving a slice of chocolate cake

A slice of chocolate cake on a plate with strawberries

Print

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with a simple chocolate ganache topping is by far the easiest and tastiest chocolate cake you will ever need. The cake is moist and super chocolaty, it will be your go-to recipe for years to come.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate cake, easy chocolate cake, one bowl chocolate cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 Slices
Calories 289kcal
Author Trang Doan

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup coffee cooled
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Melted butter for pan

Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 oz heavy whipping cream ½ cup
  • 4 oz dark chocolate melting wafers or your preferred chocolate

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Brush an 8” round cake pan with melted butter and line the bottom of the pan with a round piece of parchment paper, brush the parchment paper with melted butter as well. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together coffee and buttermilk. Whisk in the vegetable oil, then egg and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly combined.
  • Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder into the liquid mixture. Add salt and sugar and whisk until a smooth batter forms.
  • Transfer the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes before inverting it over and set it on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the chocolate ganache, microwave the cream in a heat proof vessel for 50 – 55 seconds, watching it during the last few seconds to ensure it doesn’t boil over.
  • Add the chocolate in a small mixing bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Allow it to stand for a minute or two before whisking it until the chocolate melts completely and the mixture is smooth. Let the ganache cool completely and refrigerate for about 15 – 20 minutes until it thickens but still pourable.
  • Put the cooled cake on a cake stand or plate and drizzle the ganache over the top of the cake, tap the cake stand or plate lightly on the table top to even out the top of the ganache. Serve right away or let the ganache thicken further in the fridge before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 145mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 263IU | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg

Orange Chicken from The Peach Kitchen Express (Char!)

Sweet, tangy, sticky, crunchy Orange Chicken.

Oh I’m not gonna let that Summer heat stop me from making delicious in my kitchen! And so this Orange Chicken happened. Good thing I still have three oranges left in the fridge and a few streaks of my sanity.

How’s MECQ treating you so far, mga mamsh?

My anxiety is pretty active these days. Sometimes I’d get a ton of inspiration and feel so motivated. Sometimes, I just want to lie down and wait the until the day is over. I’m still uncertain about a lot of things and I feel like life is hanging somewhere.

I know we shouldn’t think too much about everything that’s happening around us — pero ang hirap!

So as much as possible, I just try to have a positive disposition…

So repeat after me, What’s important right now is that I’m HEALTHY and ALIVE.

Let’s think about all those other things later, for now, let’s just treat ourselves to yummy food — like this Orange Chicken, which is what you don’t know you’ve been craving for all this time.

It’s super easy to make, just make a pancake-like batter, marinate the chicken there. Fry the chicken to a crisp. Make the sauce and pour into the chicken.

NOTE:

  • Use boneless chicken thighs because it’s moist and more flavorful. You can also use chicken breasts but you have to be careful not to overcook it. It tends to get dry kasi when overcooked.
  • To get crispy chicken, the oil should be hot at all times.
  • Fry the chicken in batches to avoid crowding the pot and to get even cooking.
  • When thickening the sauce, make a cornstarch-water slurry so it dissolves easily. If the sauce seems too thick, you can whisk in a tablespoon or two of water. If it’s too thin, let it bubble for an extra minute (or two) to thicken.

Thank you so much or dropping by today! You’re one of the reasons that keeps me thinking positive!

OTHER RECIPES YOU MIGHT LOVE…

Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • oil for frying
for the batter
  • 1¼ cup flour
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • 1¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp oil
for the sauce
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch knob ginger, grated
  • juice of 2½ oranges
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water (cornstarch slurry)
garnish
  • sesame seeds
  • chopped green onions

Directions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Add the egg, oil and water, whisking until smooth.
  2. Add the chicken cubes to the mixture, making sure the chicken gets thoroughly coated.
  3. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a pot or wok. Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
  4. Add the chicken cubes in batches of about 10-15 pieces, shaking off excess batter if needed. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes until golden.
  5. Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm while you make the sauce.
  6. Cook the Orange Sauce: Heat oil in a sauce pan and saute garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add the brown sugar, orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, and vinegar.
  7. Bring to a low boil. Add the sesame oil.
  8. Stir in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Simmer until it becomes syrupy.
  9. Add the fried chicken and toss until the sauce coats it thoroughly.
  10. Garnish with sesame seeds and /or green onions.

 If you make this recipe, kindly snap a photo and tag @thepeachkitchen on Instagram (OR hashtag it #thepeachkitchen). I’d love to see what you cook!

 

The post Orange Chicken from The Peach Kitchen Express (Char!) appeared first on The Peach Kitchen.

My Journey with Alex

Many of you have asked me about the man behind-the-scenes of Manjula’s Kitchen…Well as many of you know, that person is my husband Sikander aka Alex. Alex is responsible for me being in the spotlight of Manjula’s Kitchen, while he prefers to stay in the background. The simple truth is my YouTube channel exists only because of his hard work and dedication. He introduced me to this new concept for me at the time, YouTube. Alex takes the lead on all of the hard work these videos take, from the editing to ensuring the recipes meet his quality control (i.e. taste testing!) Every recipe has to meet Alex’s high standards for being posted. Alex feels so proud when reading the comments on my posts and always tells me that he is my biggest fan. With a huge smile on his face, he will tell me your fans don’t know that the biggest fan of yours is standing right next to you!

Alex and I have spent over 50 memorable years together and of course with that comes ups and downs. Sometimes it feels like Alex and I still don’t know everything about each other, and I think that is a good thing! We still love to learn new things about each other. Every day is unique with different challenges. During another lifetime, we ran a business together. For 20 years, we worked in an office together, sitting side by side. It was nice that we got to spend so much quality time together. Now as we enter our golden years, we still enjoy working together, even though we are partially retired. We both work from home and can still enjoy sitting side by side! I cherish the fact that we are never alone.

Our marriage was an arranged marriage. In today’s times, I recognize that it sounds really outdated. However, ours was an arranged marriage with a happy ending. Alex was my father’s choice. At their first meeting, my father was extremely impressed with him. They first met Alex for about an hour, but it felt like they knew him for a lifetime. My father described him to me with great detail. I was amazed my father could pick up so much on someone he just met! What stuck with me is my father finished by emphasizing that Alex would love and respect me and that because we shared the same values I would be proud of the person I was when with him.

My father invited Alex and his family for afternoon tea so that I could meet him myself. I was so curious to see what my father had seen in Alex. I knew that Alex had already decided to marry me and told his father that he was already in love with me. Alex had been working abroad in the U.S. and at this time and was in India visiting his family and to get married. We had just one month before he had to go back to the U.S. for his work. It happened so quickly. We got married within the week. It was at that point it hit me. I would have to move to the U.S. too. My mother was not happy with this situation and was upset at my father. Of course, she didn’t want her daughter to move so far away. I was very confused, but I knew my father he will not take such a big step unless he was sure it was absolutely the right decision.

We got married and moved to the U.S. and settled into a brand new way of life. It took some time to get used to a new country, a new language, and most importantly new food. But it was a life we enjoyed discovering together. When my parents visited us in the U.S. the first time, my mother and Alex spent a lot of time together. The immediately formed a great bond, becoming best friends. My parents noticed just how much Alex cared for me and how happy we were together. They would say Alex would light up when I was near him.

Alex really enjoys pampering me. The gestures were small, but with great care. Alex happily makes me the best cups of hot tea and always with a smile. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I made tea for myself. He always makes sure I take care of myself, leaving my daily vitamins/medicines and water on the kitchen table to make sure I don’t forget. Then there are those times he can sense I need a break and I will see a fresh hot grilled cheese sandwich waiting for me. Everyone (especially our grandkids!) in our family has decided that Alex makes the “world’s best” tea and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Of course, we have our share of disagreements and arguments, as every couple does. Alex is not one to say sorry very easily so most of the time I’ll give in and say sorry. The next day I will see a beautiful bouquet of colorful flowers waiting for me and all is well again. I suppose that is how a good marriage works – you know when to give in. I can say with confidence that my father chose correctly for me and I married a man who truly takes care of me. We’ve made a good life for ourselves, with our two sons and their lovely families. More on them later… Stay safe & healthy everyone!

The post My Journey with Alex appeared first on Manjula’s Kitchen.

Happy Mother’s Day

My mother and I…

Like many of you, during this time at home, I have been trying to get through some organization and general Spring cleaning. It’s really amazing just how much we accumulate through the years. It got me thinking…do we really “need” all these items, or is it just more “stuff”? I wondered if maybe it was time to simplify our lives. I went through closets and closets full of items, opening up suitcase after suitcase filled with a variety of long-forgotten memories. I stumbled upon a suitcase full of old saris and I just couldn’t bear to discard any one of them. It’s because each and every sari has a special story behind it. I am hoping that one of these days I can sit down with my granddaughters and tell them all the stories behind the saris. Who knows maybe they will want to keep some of the saris and wear them? I just hope they do and when they grow up they will remember why the sari was so special to Dadi (grandmother). I know that I still use one of my mother’s shawls to this day, despite the fact that it has some tears and is not in the best condition. It doesn’t matter to me because for me, it is somewhat of a security blanket and something to hold onto as a comforting memory of my mother.

Of course, going through my belongings comes with memories of my childhood, especially memories of my mother. My mother was one of a kind and just filled with wisdom. Her perspective towards life was very positive. She managed this outlook even though her health was not good. When she was resting, I would sit close to her. She would hold my hand and talk. I could feel her warmth as she softly spoke to me. She was gentle, caring, and giving. Oftentimes, I was left puzzled at some of our conversations because they were deep conversations that were hard for me to understand at my young age. However, now when I think back to those conversations, I understand that she was trying to pass on her values in addition to what things I should let go and give importance to.

While she had many health issues, one thing that stood out is that she never complained about feeling unwell. I was the oldest child and often felt I should help her take care of my younger siblings, especially given her health problems. Maybe this was all in my head because, despite her health issues, she was the most positive person and always had a smile on her face. One would never guess she was enduring health issues.

My mother was the type of person to always help someone out. She would see someone feeling unwell and immediately bring them home and take care of them. She did this no matter who the person was. I remember feeling confused as to why she bothered helping people she didn’t even know. When I asked her this question, she would simply calmly ask me to bring that person a glass of water. I knew to not question her further. This was simply my mom’s character.

She was full of life, always laughing and giggling. She felt it was extremely important to be involved with her children’s lives in every way. My friends loved to hang out with her and felt so comfortable around her. In the back of their minds, I knew they all wanted their moms to be like her.
I must have been nine or ten when I decided I would help my mother in cooking and learn the proper way to cook. Her hands had magic. She made simple food but her food always looked and smelled delicious. Even at that time she enjoyed serving food with style and flair. I still remember so many family and friends eagerly await her dinner invitations. When I asked my mother why her food tasted so good, her answer was simple. She smiled and said her first advice was to serve food with a smile. Next, she said always use fresh ingredients and only use spices are to enhance the flavors of the food, and not cover it up.

She also emphasized that cooking with love and care were also important ingredients in a dish because they added to the flavors of the dish. Back then, I didn’t understand her answer. How could cooking with love and care be important in a dish? But now I know exactly what she meant. Even today, sometimes when I am tired, I just want to cook something quickly and get out of the kitchen. But then my mother’s words would ring in my ears. She would always say you should never cook if you are tired, irritated, or simply not in the mood. She used to say it would affect the taste of the food. I did not understand what she meant and used to think her food tasted good because she just had great cooking skills and techniques. However, with age and having fed my family for 50 plus years, I realize there was wisdom in my mother’s words. Now when I feed my friends, family, and loved ones, I can see that my mother’s advice was spot on!

So, during this time, why not make your family feel loved and cook special dishes for them? I know that I have enjoyed doing so! Stay safe and healthy!

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