Cooking at home is a retirement skillfeatured

I had been planning retirement for several years and to be sure I wasn’t just a crazy kid with a dream, I created a spreadsheet detailing our income through age 95. Not sure what happens after that.

But I am a journalism major, so I needed someone qualified to check my math. We met with a financial planner, and I showed him the spreadsheet. He validated my numbers and asked about money for travel and dining out because certainly we’d be doing a lot of both in retirement.

I’m not opposed to travel or eating in restaurants, but that’s somebody else’s dream. My husband, Dale, and I traveled extensively for work and pleasure when we were younger, and we don’t have a big travel jones. As far as dining out is concerned, we mostly cook at home.

While cooking at home saves money, it’s more about eating well, especially as we age. Dale and I are no saints when it comes to so-called clean eating. Our approach is most things in moderation. Even decadent treats like chimichangas (do you hear that, chimis? I love you, man) are better for you and better tasting if you make them at home, with homemade refried beans, homemade salsa, etc.

One of the many things I love about retirement is having more time to participate in the kitchen. Dale is a fantastic home chef, and because he retired 10 years before I did, he pretty much took care of dinner. Now we are sharing, and although I was worried I might be encroaching on his turf, our kitchen adventures together have turned out great. And I’ll just say it. I like me some control.

Our dietary goal is to cook and enjoy delicious food, keep off excess weight and manage cholesterol.

Meals include lots of Mediterranean-type dishes noted in aging badass bible, The Blue Zones, but we love a wide variety of food purely for the sensory pleasure and refuse to demonize it. That said, there are a few things we just don’t do. No sodas, diet or otherwise. We avoid packaged food, fast food, fake anything, diet anything. I’m also a huge fan of Michael Pollan, if you need inspiration for cooking and eating well.

In my view, learning to cook and appreciate quality food is a retirement must. Start before you retire! You really don’t want to go through old age in fear of food. There’s already plenty to be afraid of.

 

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