Cooking: You Should be Doing It

Why do I cook? A better question is, why wouldn’t I?
            I think it’s great that in many places around the world people have access to innumerable prepared foods in the grocery store and myriad of restaurant and fast food options on every block. That’s choice, and choice is great. If I don’t feel like cooking I can get a frozen meal and heat it up in the oven or microwave and be perfectly satisfied (I keep several in the freezer at all times for that purpose). I could also go to a restaurant if I’m feeling particularly extravagant and be even more satisfied with the food. I just couldn’t see myself eating such food all the time.

Homemade hummus and homemade pita chips. Made by me.
            I know several people who don’t cook. They seem perfectly content getting takeout or are lucky enough to have someone who prepares them homecooked meals daily. That existence isn’t for me. I believe anyone who is physically capable should know how to cook and should cook regularly. It just seems smart for four reasons.

1) It’s healthier. You can’t control the food in a restaurant and while grocery stores offer many “Healthy” frozen meals they are often lacking in flavor or worst of all, woefully small. Nine times out of ten the best tasting stuff in the best portion-size is also the unhealthiest, but when you cook at home from scratch, you control the ingredients. The sodium and sugar content of many prepared foods can be shocking and don’t get me started on the ingredients to preserve “flavor”, or “freshness”, or the coloring and other such bull.

2) It tastes better. This one is contingent on you actually knowing how to cook, but you’ll never learn if you don’t do it. If you cook regularly eventually you will be able to make almost anything better than what can be found in a grocery store and you’ll come close to many restaurants. It’s trial and error. It’s making the same dish over and over until you know exactly how it’s done and have it tailor made to your taste buds. That’s something that not even a Michelin star chef can do (their food is tailor made for their own taste buds).

3) It’s cheaper. Let me tell you I have spent $13 for one hamburger (I seldom look at prices before buying food. It’s one part of my life where I’m not cheap). It was a damn good hamburger, but with that money I could have made 6 from scratch. When you buy prepared food you’re obviously paying a markup so the food maker can make a profit as well as pay for overhead. Everybody has to make a living, but you don’t have to pay for that person’s living every day.

4) It’s fun. There is something fun about getting a bunch of ingredients and cooking them with your own hands to make a delicious (we hope) dish to be enjoyed by family and friends. Cooking is art, it’s experimentation, it’s adventure, it’s danger (fire and knives). It’s even more fun when you do it with someone you love.

            I cook something every day, even if it’s just scrambled eggs. Restaurants for me are for special occasions or when I want to try something I’ve never had. Fast casual and fast food places are for travel or when I’m out and about and know I won’t be home in time for a meal. Frozen food is something I keep on hand for the few times I simply don’t feel like cooking or don’t have the time.

            So, why do I cook? Because I like having fun while making affordable, good tasting, healthy (most of the time) food at home and I hope you cook too.                    


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