why bother cooking at all?

why bother cooking at all?

There is something inside me that finds sourcing good ingredients, preparing and cooking them, and providing my handiwork to an appreciative audience profoundly satisfying.

That is why I cook, I enjoy it and it feels good to me. I can justify it in all sorts of ways, but really, it feels good.

I have a hard time explaining to someone who doesn't have the same feelings about it why they should do it, but I'll give it a shot.

  1. Cooking is a basic life skill.

    I could argue that algebra is a basic life skill, to the disgust of high school students everywhere, but I seriously did learn a method of problem-solving that I've used throughout life. It's just that no one currently struggling with quadratic equations is going to find my argument persuasive!

    And really, changing diapers is a basic life skill also, but no one signs up to learn that until a baby appears in their life.

    But cooking is truly basic in the sense that... you have to eat. Not being able to feed yourself means you will have to pay other people to do this for you all the time, through your whole life. It's like paying someone to dress you, drive your car, wipe your butt. Feeding yourself is about being able to take care of yourself at a very basic level.

    I'm not saying you have to be a gourmet cook, but being able to turn some ground meat, eggs and veggies into something more edible than a can of Chef Boyardee is part of being a grownup.

    Anyone can cook that well, even you.

  2. Cooking saves money.

    It's true there's few foods out there that can fill your belly as cheaply as a case of ramen, but you just can't live on that.

    If you are going to try to eat well, both pleasing your taste buds and providing for your health, you have to cook because real food being prepared for you is outrageously expensive.

    And you can eat real food more cheaply than junk. I bought a 5 pound bag of carrots today for $3.99. You can't go through a drive-through once for that, not even eating off the dollar menu.

  3. Cooking provides higher quality food. If you buy meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats - and are willing to prepare them - you can eat much higher quality food, both tastier and healthier, than you can get in any but the most expensive restaurant. Whatever your budget, you can get higher quality if you cook.

  4. Cooking is yummier. Seriously, the only reason you think that stuff Dominos delivers is edible is because you just don't know any better. Go eat a real pizza and come back and tell me that cardboard-like crust with ketchup and melted plastic on top is good! You know it's not good, it's just they brought it to you and it was easy and it seemed cheap (but remember, I bought 5 POUNDS of carrots today for under $4!).

The problem is all those arguments are justification for the fact that I really like cooking. I'd do it even if they weren't true cause cooking feels good to me.

If you don't enjoy cooking, I can't talk you into it with reasons why, because you just don't "get" what I do out of cooking. You are never going to be psyched over getting a Vitamix off CraigsList, thrill over the pots your husband bought you last Christmas, or put a set of good knives wistfully on your wish list.

You don't have to be like me.

I have concern on this issue because neither my husband or my best male friend cook. I "fix" this for my husband regularly, but he's going to be eating a lot of boxed mac and cheese if he outlives me. While I was in Texas for a month, a lot of potatoes and white bread got eaten and he flatout told me he felt awfully rundown by the time I got back (Also said, "Did you know there are dirty dishes EVERY day?").

And my friend, well, the Dominos comment above was kinda directed at him. ;) D00d, that stuff isn't food.

You don't have to cook like me. You don't have to enjoy it and want to do it. You don't have to spend your free time Googling for kewl new recipes to try, reading them and imagining how the food is going to taste.

So... don't listen to me, listen to someone like you.

For people who really, really don't want to cook, there is a wonderfully minimalist kitchen setup and cooking tutorial at GNOLLS, apparently written by a person who doesn't particularly want to cook either...

The GNOLLS basic kitchen setup includes a covered skillet, a good knife, cutting boards and a bunch of plastic containers - with nary a Vitamix, dehydrator or stand mixer in sight.

The basic skillet meal with variations will provide you with a simple meal with enough leftovers for a second meal. This won't turn you into a Hell's Kitchen contestant, but it will fill your belly with a minimum of time and energy with decent basic food that will maintain your health and tempt your taste buds.

Alternatively, you can marry me and get me to cook for you, except someone already did.

Image credit: Adapted from Cooking in a Pan by Rene Schwietzke.