While eating food is something that almost everyone enjoys, a lot of people seem to be afraid of cooking itself. I understand how working with sharp knives, hot surfaces and/or fire can make you nervous but cooking is something anyone can learn to and love to do! Here’s some of the reasons why I think it everyone out there should give cooking a shot:-
It makes you independent
A lot of people I know have a gripe with education systems around the world today. While our schools focus on teaching math, science, languages and social sciences, most schools I know of neglect to teach us how to balance a bank account, change a tire, sew on a button, or cook for yourself! As a twentysomething who’s lived alone for a time had a few adventures under his belt (all of which will be shared on this blog eventually), I’ve found that these are good things to know if you ever have to fend for yourself or support a family. After all, we all need to eat, so why not learn how to feed yourself? It’s also an important part of a healthy lifestyle because…
You see exactly what you’re eating
In today’s world, a lot of packaged foods have sugars, dyes, salt fats and other chemicals added to what we eat. While some amount of sugar, salt and fat is normal and can be healthily consumed by the human body, the unfortunate fact is that, with a few exceptions the food industry wants you to eat more. In their minds, if you don’t feel full after eating their products, you will come back for more and consume more than you normally would. Essentially the food industry designs food in a way that makes you want to eat more of it.
Now I’m not saying every recipe that I share on my blog is going to be healthy or even that if you always cook for yourself you will be in good shape. I do believe, however, that cooking allows you to understand exactly what is going into the food you eat. Cooking from as close to scratch as possible and using the freshest ingredients is the most surefire way to minimize additives, chemicals and colors that enter your body.
You appreciate where your food comes from
Another issue I have with the food industry is that it is sometimes run too much like an industry. The idea that a whole animal goes in on one end of a conveyor belt in a factory and comes out as sausages and hot dogs isn’t too far away from the truth. When you work with meat, you are a little less removed from the fact that what you are eating was once part of a living, breathing animal, and when you bake your first loaf of bread you being to understand what your local baker does on a commercial scale. More importantly you begin to understand what you should expect to understand from certain kinds of foods and how they would be made, so that you can appreciate it when it is made to perfection in a more traditional way or when a chef adds their own twist on top of a classic.
Take the Gulab Jamun recipe I posted last Friday. Majority of the feedback on the recipe and its accompanying post had to do with people not realizing how easy these are to make at home (since they had tried these outside but never made them at home) or telling me how Gulab Jamun is made differently by those around them (this is because the dish is popular but made in very diverse ways in India.) The biggest differences were that some people made Gulab Jamun from Khoya (a natural dried milk powder), or with cardamom in the syrup instead of rosewater. Don’t fret, as soon as I understand how they are used and how they change the flavor of the dish, I’ll post a recipe using Khoya and Cardamom. (You can read the original post here.)
You realize it isn’t as hard as you thought, and you can make food exactly the way you like
As I said in the last paragraph, people were genuinely surprised at how easy it is to cook Gulab Jamun. Once you learn to cook, you’ll realize its not hard to whip up a quick, nourishing meal and it will you the money and time required to eat out or order in. The fact that restaurant where you get your tacos may charge extra for guacamole or not quite give you the right level of spice becomes moot when you can make tacos with enough guac – and yes, this means we will be doing tacos on here sometime!
I want you guys to keep in mind that I don’t consider myself an amazing cook. The first time I tried to cook, my ‘brownies’ were more burnt than gooey. But with a little bit of practice, we can all learn to cook and enjoy the experience – trust me, if I could anyone can.
It is the easiest, most foolproof way I know of bringing joy in the world around you
Now all my romanticism surrounding food aside, your body releases satiety and happiness hormones when you eat. So scientifically speaking, when you cook for someone, you are bringing a little bit of joy into that persons life. If I were to bring my romanticism back in, I would tell you that the feeling of having cooked for someone, and for them to enjoy what you made, is one of the best I have ever felt. Think about the fact that you are creating something that is more than the sum of its parts when you cook, and knowing that you made something that brought happiness to someone is a great feeling
Do it enough and people will honestly ask you to make food. Getting to that level is a whole other level of joy. Remember the brownies I burnt the first time I made? My little sister, the one person in my life who will always call me out when I mess up my food (or anything else for that matter, that’s what siblings are for), occasionally asks me to make some chocolaty, gooey brownies. Friends of mine will know me for it! The feeling of being known for making good food is priceless!
So, fellow nomnivores, grab an apron and roll up your sleeves. Lay out the cutting board and put the pan on the heat. I am going to prove to you that there’s only one thing you need to cook, to amaze and to bring joy with your food.
The one thing? You already have it.
A Love of Nom!