Watch Cooking Channel

4 Reasons Why You Should Cook at Home Even If You Don’t Know How

Hurricane Sandy Survival Meal

“You cook, I clean.”

This phrase has become something of a personal mantra in the apartment that I share with my boyfriend, Chris. He loves to cook, so I do my part by putting leftovers away and ensuring no crumb or sauce-lined pan is left behind. (A practical concern when you have two intrepid and perpetually hungry cats.)

“Cooking relaxes me,” friends and acquaintances say to me, usually during a conversation in which I share that I rarely, if ever, make my own food. I try to visualize the kitchens to which they retreat after a long day. I picture the motions they go through and steps they take; I sense the satisfaction they get slicing, chopping, kneading, squeezing, stirring and mashing after eight hours of tapping on a keyboard. There’s gratification in creating something that’s greater (and more edible) than the sum of its parts. There are many reasons why people cook. I get it.

I used to say I was too busy to cook, but that excuse only works when you’re not with someone who feels energized in the kitchen after a 10-hour work day. (But, let’s be real, Chris is a unicorn.) Sometimes I play the Convenience Card, rattling off names of restaurants within a stone’s throw of home or lunch delivery spots stored in my phone as “favorites.” There’s no end to the reasons why I don’t cook, but at the root of my excuses is one long-standing fact: I feel that I can’t. 

It’s a modern-day conundrum, and it’s more prevalent than you might think. Why bother to cook when you don’t know how or when you live in a city (or an apartment) where you don’t have to? I went on a soul search of sorts for the answer to this question, and while I can’t speak for every self-proclaimed non-cook, I discovered a few compelling reasons why it’s worth trying.

Multitasking Meals

When I was growing up in Brooklyn, my family took pride in cooking meals in large quantities. At the time, I didn’t realize not everyone made soup in vats and had it as an accompaniment to dinner throughout the week — or that eating both the meat of an animal and its insides was “weird.” While I didn’t inherit my parents’ penchant for big pots and containers (“all the better to store food in, my dear”), I’ll always admire their efficiency in the kitchen: There was almost always leftover rice to make fried rice the next day. And when we baked, we doubled the servings to gift to neighbors and relatives.

Some of my favorite dishes are textbook multitaskers: They feed you more than once (post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches, anyone?). And many actually taste better after the first day, like crumb cake. Yum.

Leftovers are easy to come by when you control how much to make.

What Is Cow? How Much?

When you hand off the responsibility of feeding yourself to another person, you end up paying for far more than what you eat no matter how you frame it. In New York, you’d be hard-pressed to spend less than $40 a day on food and drinks alone. In a typical weekday, you can easily spend $10 on lunch, $2.50 on coffee (or $4 on a latte, if you’re feeling generous) and $12 for an after-work cocktail (and that’s not including tip — or a second cocktail). And dinner can run the gamut; even a standard bowl of ramen will set you back $15 with tax and tip. Generally speaking, restaurants will triple the cost of ingredients when determining the price of a dish if only to cover the basics: food, labor and operating expenses. What’s more, it’s easy to succumb to cravings or complacency when you’re in someone else’s domain, where options are limited to a menu and decisions of the chef. While I trust most chefs and cast my vote of confidence whenever I dine out, I wonder: Were these vegetables found in nature or grown in a greenhouse? Should I consume the same portion size as someone who’s twice my weight? Did this cow wander a field, or was she locked in a cage? What does “organic” mean?

It’s easy to turn a blind eye and pay someone — anyone! — to make you a meal, but the consequences, calories and unanswered questions remain your own. (Cue dramatic music.)

Cooking Is the New Black

It’s never been a better time to learn to cook. Chefs are celebrities. Home cooks land book deals and become authors. If it involves food, there’s probably someone looking to build a business on it, from sourcing, production, preparation, cooking, promotion or discovery. Even ingredient-centric events draw crowds with promises of popular preparations and/or ingenuity. It’s undeniably cool to cook. Besides, who can resist a party called aPORKalypse?

Sharing Is Caring

When news reporters and the media announced Hurricane Sandy last fall, I set out to build an emergency kit: a 12-pack of bottled water, cheddar cheese, mozzarella, dried pasta, bread, peanut butter and food for my cats. Chris had other ideas and made meatballs to go with the mozzarella. He made enough meatballs to last a week. I poked fun at him, saying if we lost electricity, his plans would be doomed. Instead of being deterred, he made pork wontons, too.

We got lucky and were left unscathed by Sandy. But had things turned out any different, the food wouldn’t have gone to waste: Instead of hoarding meatballs for ourselves, for instance, we would have fed neighbors and friends in need. That’s the thing with cooking, you don’t just do it for yourself — it’s largely selfless.

My old college roommate used to say “Sharing is caring.” Few things exemplify this maxim better than making food to enjoy with someone else. And, you know, you can’t do that if you can’t cook.

Amy Cao is the host of Stupidly Simple Snacks, where she tackles easy dishes that both novice and expert cooks can enjoy using basic kitchen equipment and ingredients you can easily get at most grocery stores.

Tags:

Comments (336)

  1. Roofing San Mateo County posted 04/17/2014

    Wikia…

    Wika linked to this website…

  2. aanraders memungkinkan…

    leach daryl osztaly inmaculada cendanthttp brecord fileoutput….

  3. stress relief techniques posted 04/18/2014

    Digg…

    While checking out DIGG yesterday I found this…

  4. Visitor recommendations…

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]……

  5. Rancho Santa Fe California posted 04/20/2014

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

    […]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[…]……

  6. accountant Minneapolis posted 04/22/2014

    accountant Minneapolis…

    […]The info talked about in the write-up are a few of the most beneficial out there […]…

  7. moviestarplanet hack posted 04/22/2014

    Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here today, so I just took to messing around on the internet and found…

  8. serrurier bruxelles posted 04/22/2014

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

    […]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[…]……

  9. www posted 04/24/2014

    Informative and precise…

    Its difficult to find informative and precise info but here I noted…

  10. bshs 375 posted 04/26/2014

    Just Browsing…

    While I was browsing today I noticed a excellent article about…

  11. Funny Quotes posted 04/28/2014

    Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here yesterday, so I just took to messing around on the internet and found…

  12. Pinganillo posted 05/01/2014

    Pinganillo…

    […]please visit the web pages we stick to, such as this one, because it represents our picks through the web[…]…

  13. manchester buko…

    gentvicki livemail option instead brianburton algoritmi andiamo….

  14. Music Video posted 05/03/2014

    Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here yesterday, so I just took to messing around on the internet and found…

  15. Isla mujeres posted 05/04/2014

    Its hard to find good help…

    I am constantnly proclaiming that its difficult to procure quality help, but here is…

  16. Nathan Carter Music posted 05/04/2014

    Nathan Carter Music…

    […]always a significant fan of linking to bloggers that I love but do not get a great deal of link appreciate from[…]…

  17. abayas uk online posted 05/06/2014

    abayas uk online…

    […]here are some hyperlinks to web-sites that we link to for the reason that we feel they are really worth visiting[…]…

  18. carpet cleaning posted 05/07/2014

    Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here today, so I just took to messing around online and found…

  19. Best Contractors posted 05/09/2014

    Best Contractors…

  20. Eiaculazioni Precoce posted 05/11/2014

    Eiaculazioni Precoce…

    […]check beneath, are some entirely unrelated sites to ours, even so, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]…

  21. Travel To Jaco posted 05/12/2014

    Travel To Jaco…

    […]just beneath, are several entirely not connected sites to ours, on the other hand, they may be certainly worth going over[…]…

  22. GULLIBLE FOOL posted 05/13/2014

    GULLIBLE FOOL…

    […]Every once inside a although we decide on blogs that we study. Listed beneath are the most up-to-date web sites that we decide on […]…

  23. electric cigarette posted 05/13/2014

    Links…

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]……

  24. You Could try these out posted 05/20/2014

    Cool sites…

    […]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[…]……

  25. Garcinia Cambogia posted 05/20/2014

    Websites you should visit…

    […]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[…]……

  26. northern kentucky mls listings posted 05/20/2014

    Websites we think you should visit…

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]……

  27. PMP Certification) posted 05/22/2014

    Websites we think you should visit…

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]……

  28. Information posted 05/23/2014

    Information…

    […]we came across a cool internet site that you just could possibly appreciate. Take a look should you want[…]…

  29. edudel nic in posted 05/28/2014

    edudel nic in…

    […]Here are a few of the web-sites we recommend for our visitors[…]…

  30. iphone5buzz.org posted 05/29/2014

    iphone5buzz.org…

    […]The information and facts mentioned in the write-up are some of the most beneficial obtainable […]…

  31. is iqkonnect a scam? posted 06/03/2014

    is iqkonnect a scam?…

    […]here are some links to web sites that we link to for the reason that we believe they may be really worth visiting[…]…

  32. Micro cap posted 06/10/2014

    Micro cap…

    […]Here are a number of the internet sites we recommend for our visitors[…]…

  33. kitchen remodel los angeles posted 06/12/2014

    Sources…

    […]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]……

  34. advanpro posted 07/13/2014

    There’s gratification in creating something that’s greater (and more edible) than the sum of its parts. There are many reasons why people cook. I get it.

  35. […] Topics: Isaiah Austin   Jeremy Meeks   marilyn monroe   spiderman 2   Craig Ferguson   Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… This entry was posted in […]

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c