On Cooking

why to cook

If you’re one of my regular readers, today you may feel a “preaching to the choir” kind of situation. The bulk of my content revolves around home cooking, the best ways to enjoy it, and how to use the skills to our advantage. A big segment of my audience spends their time away from the kitchen daydreaming about their next chance to pull out the chopping board, and I identify with that sentiment.

But not everyone feels this way about cooking. Whether you hate to cook, consider yourself a “bad cook,” or simply find making time to cook too often overwhelming,  my recipes alone aren’t going to be enough motivation to brave the kitchen (however tantalizing they may be!!). If you find yourself in any of these positions, do yourself a favor and take a moment to read today’s post about why I think cooking more for yourself at home could be the #1 most significant way to improve the quality of what you eat.

Last week on flavorrd’s Facebook page, I shared this newly viral video produced by the RSA and Michael Pollan.

It does a brilliant job breaking down the reality of food industry tactics, and points out a common sense approach to eating real food. To be honest, I can’t advocate 100% for the “eat anything you want, just cook it yourself” mentality – I mean, it’s possible to overdo even homemade treats (at the risk of sounding snarky, I don’t think you would feel so great eating only Paula Deen’s recipes, and you might just develop diabetes). But the point the video makes, that homemade food is fundamentally different from mass-produced, is spot-on. By assuming an active role in our food’s preparation, we gain the ability to open our eyes to what we’re eating.

When you cook from scratch, you don’t have to play investigatory journalist uncovering the real story behind your value meal. You don’t have to worry about whether your chef places more value on the velvety glean of his sauce, or your coronary arteries. You get to know exactly what you’re eating. Exactly what you buy and throw into the pan – no sketchy additives, fillers, artificial colors, added sugars, unneeded preservatives. Just the straight up FOOD your body needs, no more, no less.

And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, salads… real foods don’t require a lot of meddling to be delicious. If it makes you feel more confident, follow a recipe. But if you find that intimidating, just wing it. Think of the simple foods you like to eat, and play it by ear. Come up with a few “back pocket” dishes that you can get comfortable with and rely on.

I’m confident that anyone can reap the benefits of cooking (and there are many – I didn’t even get into how much money you’ll save). Keep in mind that the only way to learn, is by doing. And the best way to stick with something new is to genuinely enjoy it. So don’t take it too seriously, and have fun in the kitchen!

How and why did you start cooking? If you’re already a seasoned cook, any advice to those starting out?