I am always under time restraints (life of a university student trying to make ends meet, get volunteer hours in, and ace the tests), but I cook all of our meals from scratch. I love cooking, always have, grew up surrounded by food culture. My grandparents always had a farm, we have a huge garden, our house is surrounded by berry bushes, my boyfriend comes from a family of commercial fisherman, I have worked for two years on an organic farm, and my dad grew up selling fish and beer to tourists on the docks. My mom taught me all of our family recipes, and it has always been important for me to carry on our food traditions.
It requires some tight planning though- I always sit down at the beginning of the week and make three lists. List 1, a meal plan. I pick everything that we need for breakfast, dinner, and snacks (lunch is leftovers, so I need to make enough to dinner for that). List 2, a grocery list split into sections (meat, produce, other). I usually further split it into market/dep (I live in Quebec). List 3, a prep list. SO important!!! After working in restaurants, you learn how nothing runs smoothly without a prep list, and that includes household cooking!! At the beginning of the week, I dedicate a few hours to chopping, peeling, cutting, steaming, baking, and mixing. I can jam three full dinners (in their proper dishes etc) at a time into my small fridge, and every other nook and cranny is filled with food processed as much as I can without disrupting the flavour or quality (some things just can't be cut ahead of time...). This makes it easy for me to throw already browned meat combined with everything else into the slow cooker in the morning, or to call ahead and give my boyfriend instructions for putting a casserole in the oven. It also prevents food waste, because you know exactly what's in your fridge, what needs to be used up by when, and what leftovers are available.
These kind of practical skills were something I got from my mother, who got them from Home Economics when she went to high school (she came from a below-poverty level family with little food tradition- they mostly ate rabbits my grandma shot with brown bread and molasses, occasionally eggs the children would steal). I think these skills should be put back into Home Economics class, which in my area is mandatory for kids in grade 7/8. Sure, it's good to know how to sew a pillow case, but it is probably more useful to have the skills to feed yourself and your future family properly! Though another useful skill from home economics: we all had to sew diapers, both genders. It was neat, our first exposure to child care, and sustainable diapers!
Did anyone else have to take home economics as kids?? I was pretty sure it's an anomaly that it was mandatory at our school, but I could be wrong.