Everyone over the age of 18 should know how to cook something.
And no, PB&J’s and cereal don’t count. If you have to provide your own meals, you should know how to prepare some of them. I’m not saying that everyone should be Bobby Flay, but if your culinary skills begin and end between two slices of white bread, you have some catching up to do.
Cooking seems like a daunting task and solely the realm of super high maintenance celebrity chefs and little old grandmas, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We all (on average) eat three meals a day. That’s 3 opportunities to practice, every single day. That’s 1,092 chances to better yourself every year. How good at basketball would you be if you practiced 3 times a day, 7 days a week? How good would you be at writing? Or shooting? Well, that’s how good you can be at cooking. And the best part? It’s not like this is an unnecessary expense. You were going to eat anyway, and unless you were planning on eating raw food, someone has to cook it. You could either pay someone else to cook it for you, or you could do it yourself.
There is also the aspect of when you make your own food, you know what is in it. When someone else prepares it for you, there’s no telling. If you are looking into healthier food, you already know this. I won’t go into details here, but it is worth mentioning.
“Ha ha ha, this salt is so hilarious!” pic source linked in article above
You make a good point. How do I learn?
The best way to learn to cook is the same as learning anything: Fail. You find something you think looks good, or get a recipe from Mom that you know you like, and you try to make it. You’ll fail, of course. It won’t quite taste right. You won’t season it enough, or season too much, or burn it, or undercook it, or something.
And that’s fine. Take what you don’t like about what you made and make a note on the recipe you worked from, and make it again next week with your tweaks. Did I mention that you need to have a physical copy of the recipe? Because that’s immensely helpful. Cooking off a screen sounds convenient, but I find it to be tedious and very inconvenient in numerous, stupid little ways. Your hands will inevitably be covered in bacon fat or flour and your screen will lock. Every single time, no exceptions. Screens are great, but dead trees don’t require tapping to look at and their batteries never die.
You tell ’em, Jules!
So, what should I actually learn to cook?
You should, preferably, be able to cook an entire day’s worth of meals with minimal hints. Be able to make a breakfast, sweet or savory, a light lunch, a hearty dinner, a couple sides, and a nice dessert. Try to take a handful of recipes and practice them until you can almost cook them from memory. That way you will be able to prepare appropriate, well-practiced food that you know is good on-demand, no matter the occasion. I’m not to that point yet, but I’m working on it. The feeling you get when you prepare something for friends or family that you can tell they enjoy is great. The feeling that you served them sub par food is awful. Don’t try out adventurous recipes you’ve never even seen before on Thanksgiving. If it doesn’t go off great, and I’ve never had a recipe come out correct on the first try, you look like an incompetent showoff. Don’t be that guy.
I’ve personally enjoyed budgetbytes.com as a resource for finding recipes. Good food with a focus on being budget friendly, which is very important to me. I can’t be sitting here making $30 side dishes!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an oven to preheat.