Why learn to cook (or get better at it)?

So you don’t know how to cook (well). That’s fine. I didn’t either once and don’t consider myself anything more than a guy who can follow recipes and get them right more than wrong. Earlier on the Twitters, I asked what holds people back. Most of the answers didn’t surprise me and I hope to address them all in future posts but, in this one, I’d like to put out some of my reasons people should cook.  Sure, I could read a bunch of articles and give you backing and data and science for cooking for yourself but that’s not what we’re about here.  This is solid opinion and why I think this site is a great idea; disagree at your leisure.

1. Cooking is easy.

Everyone, say that aloud: Cooking. Is. Easy.  Skill at cooking is something that comes with practice. The basic art of cooking is dirt simple. Here’s a list of the skills needed to follow most recipes (off the top of my head): chop, peel, pour, measure, mix/stir and (most importantly) read.  That’s pretty much it. Sure, specialized directions like crush or mince or whisk come into play but, generally, you can get around those and make approximately the same thing. And as long as it tastes the same, it won’t matter if you can jullienne your carrots (they have devices for that anyway). There’s no need to fear any recipe; just go for it. Mistakes are made and can often yield knowledge or a better recipe.

2. Your wallet.

It is often said that “food is too expensive”.  Compared to what? Eating out every meal? Food is not expensive. Healthy food is not expensive. If you buy properly (or better yet on sale), you can get pennies to dollars… wait, Canadians don’t have pennies anymore. Nickels then. I’m looking at a flyer where I can get 15lbs of potatoes for $5. I could get a large fries for $1.79. It’s not much of a contest. Cooking for yourself saves money.

3. Your health.

Two things any individual can alter to improve health: diet and exercise.  What better way to change your diet by taking control of what you eat?

4.  Cooking is comfort.

Food is and always has been a huge part of culture and connection and has mainly a positive impact on all our relationships. We bond over meals as family and friends. It provides a reason to gather and share. It’s a comfort for yourself, as well (my favourite is making these biscuits my mum always made with poppy seeds on top; taste of home). It’s a great way to demonstrate to your parents that you’re OK on your own (seriously, parents worry about this). Homemade food just heightens these aspects of life. I don’t remember what I ordered on my first date with the woman I eventually married. I remember the first meal she made for us to eat. Beet soup. I didn’t like beets but I ate it because I liked her. I like beets now.  (ftr, I believe I made a beef curry first time for her. Weird I have trouble remembering.)

5. Cooking is cathartic.

I cannot explain away time concerns with cooking. It can take time. Some meals are fast, some take a lot of prepping and patience. But I find the act of cooking to be calming, focusing and a great way to melt away whatever crap that went on that day. Put on some music, have a drink, make a mess and then end up with something to eat. It’s a great way to end off a day.

Especially if you have someone else to do the dishes.

Those are my reasons, anyway. If you have yours or reasons for not cooking often, I’d like to hear them. The experiences are as important as the food.

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