Every stage of cooking is important: meal planning, meal preparation and serving, but before any of this can take place it is essential to select the items that you are going to cook. The ability to pick high quality products is also very important. Food goes off peak after a certain length of time and knowing which signs to look for is the art to this particular aspect of cooking.
There are a number of considerations to produce selection. For example, the cook has to judge whether the product is fresh, ripe or over ripe. Is the amount of waste associated with this produce acceptable? Will this produce supply the necessary amount of nutrients? Do the intended consumers like it or will they like it? Does the cost validate choosing this alternative?
Balancing all these considerations is quite some feat that perhaps a billion people carry out each day and maybe a number of times a day. It is quite remarkable. However, the best cooks or household managers have to have experience to do it correctly most of the time yet you can only get experience by 'doing' and doing involves making gaffs from time to time. There is nothing wrong with that - making mistakes is a standard part of the learning process.
There are in essence three elements to the successful selection of food. These are: 1] the substance of which it is composed; 2] its worth or potential to provide energy and or nutrients and vitamins and 3] how easily these qualities can be extracted in a digestible form.
It is only after you have answers to these three questions that you can know whether a product is worth the money. In other words, while you might always know the cost of an article of food, you may not always know its value.
It is clear from the above that the cook who takes his or her task seriously has a mammoth task on hand to know what human bodies need at the different stages of growth, illness and even just recovery from standard wear and tear; to know what articles of food can supply those needs; how to pick foods that are at the peak of condition and how to prepare those foods so that you gain the most of that products potential.
Then there are the other considerations of whether you or your family will eat those products at all or whether they will only eat them if prepared according to particular recipes and finally, whether you can afford those foods.
As far as preparing children to eat or at least try different foodstuffs is concerned, it is vital to get going as soon as you can. Children do not know what is healthy for them and permitting them to eat hamburgers and chips each day, because it is 'all they will eat' is rubbish. Children have to be trained to eat what is put in front of them until they are competent to make their own choices.
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