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Pody's column: Learning to cook takes time

Over the years, I've always enjoyed meal planning and cooking. First it was cooking with roommates, then, after we were married, learning to cook for a diabetic and now for one person.

Learning to cook and getting my husband to like fresh vegetables and fruit was the challenge. He wanted meat, potatoes and gravy. Getting him to appreciate vegetables was a challenge but after I disguised them, he developed a liking and didn't fight it.

Lettuce, carrots, cabbage, celery, pepper and onion and added them to either lemon or lime jello. With a little bit of salad dressing on a square, I called it perfection salad.

Cauliflower and broccoli were used in cream soups. I added one pint of shredded zucchini to every pound of ground beef, whether it was a patty, chili, sloppy Joes, meatloaf or meatballs. The two vegetables he liked, peas and corn, were not good for him.

He never objected to corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day.

When I baked I used 1/2 shortening and 1/2 apple sauce. Another thing was cooking with raw honey instead of processed honey or sugar. Processed honey we buy in the store has white syrup in most brands.

I find cooking for one is harder than cooking for a family. Even the smallest recipe makes two or three meals. I prefer fresh vegetables and fruit and learned to share with a friend. If I keep a whole stalk of celery or cantaloupe I end up throwing some out. I tried putting some in the freezer but went back to sharing. This goes for a bag of oranges, apples, etc.

The day before I go shopping, I clean the refrigerator out and make a beef vegetable soup.

Also, I make juice from left over fruits and vegetables. With fresh berries I make a smoothie for breakfast. In the winter, I miss the farmer's markets but I know it won't be long before they sprout up again.

I was talking with my sister, whose husband recently went in the nursing home. She agreed that cooking for one was the most difficult stage of her life. When we are older, our bodies require a lot less food, especially sugar, salt and fat. It just seems to go in the mouth and stop in the midsection or on the hips. I'd rather cook and eat at home than do fast food or eat out. Maybe it's me but it just seems healthier and you can be more selective and eat better meals.