February 23, 2024

“Anyone can cook.” 

This famous line from the Pixar classic “Ratatouille” is not just a throwaway cliché. Cooking is a skill, and by definition, a skill is something that can be learned with enough practice. 

Despite this, I have come across people convinced they cannot cook. Whether it is because a parent always cooked for them in the past or because they consider themselves “too clumsy,” these individuals come up with many reasons why they “don’t belong in the kitchen.” However, to these individuals, I say: Cooking is not an optional skill, but rather a life skill that every able-bodied person needs to have. 

Before I explain why you need to know how to cook, I must include some clarifications. By cooking, I do not mean buying pre-made food. Heating up a can of soup in the microwave does not qualify. 

Real cooking is knowing how to prepare dishes from scratch, like soups, curries, roasts and more. Cooking almost always involves cutting things up, combining them, adding spices and heating them in various ways. 

So, boiling pasta or ravioli and pouring a jar of spaghetti sauce over it is not cooking, either. That is, again, just reheating. I’m not saying that everyone needs to have Gordon Ramsey, MasterChef or Michelin Star cooking abilities, but I am saying that everyone should have basic knowledge and skills in the field of cooking. 

Food is one of the basic human necessities. Since we eat multiple times daily, knowing how to prepare food for yourself is synonymous with knowing how to care for your body. 

Cooking can also save you money.  Making dishes at home from scratch is much cheaper than eating out at restaurants. In addition, cooking your own food is a healthier option as homemade food contains less harmful additives frequently found in restaurants, store-bought or pre-made food. As the chef, you can decide exactly how much oil, salt, sugar or other potentially unhealthy ingredients to add. 

Lastly, cooking is a skill you can share with others; it is not just for yourself. Knowing how to bake a cake for someone or prepare a dish for a family member is one tangible way to show love and care. There is a sweet and indescribable feeling of satisfaction when someone enjoys the food you made. Seeing their faces light up as they say “It’s good!” is so rewarding that it makes up for the time and effort spent cooking the dish.

 I challenge you: Take the time to learn to cook. As for any new skill, learning will take time. It may come easier to some more than others, but that is no reason to give up. And trust me, the results will be worth it — and delicious. 

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