Why Cook?

Why cook? Why learn how to cook? Great questions.

Think about this: if you don’t cook for yourself, that means someone else is cooking for you. And chances are, it’s not a personal chef.

Chances are, in fact, it’s not anybody who knows your name. Or would care if they did.

Who is cooking for you? For your family?

For too many of us in the industrialized world, our food is prepared by big industry.

At the grocery, we let General Mills or Campbell’s do the cooking for us. We let Hostess prepare our desserts.

At work, we might bring a microwave-ready meal for our lunch break, or order out from a restaurant. In that case, we’re likely to get something assembled from preprocessed ingredients, then heated up and served at a premium price.

Have you wondered about the choices these big businesses making on our behalf? If you’re not in the habit of reading the labels of every food product you buy, I strongly urge you to start. Preservatives, conditioners, texturizers, flavors, colors, sweeteners — and these long ingredient lists are only begin to tell the story of how artificial these so-called foods can be.

Author Michael Pollan has brilliantly coined the term “edible food-like substances” to describe much of what we’ve come to accept as food. His book “In Defense of Food” offers much along this train of thought; I highly recommend it for anyone seeking to become a more conscious eater.

When you learn how to cook, you can take these crucial choices back into your own hands.

Learning to cook whole foods from scratch is probably the single most important thing you can do to improve your health, your waistline, and even your household budget.

When you learn how to cook, you’ll be able to carry on family culinary traditions to future generations before they’re lost forever. You might even be able to revive some of the heirloom recipes that you thought were already gone, if you remember enough about them and you learn enough about how cooking works to reconstruct your grandmother’s magical pot roast, or holiday cookies.

Learning how to cook will give your children and grandchildren their own wonderful memories of real, authentic homemade food. Don’t let them be among the first generations in human history to grow up without them.

Learning how to cook from basic ingredients can improve your local economy, too. First, you’ll be able to rely more on the produce, meats and dairy you can get directly from the producers at your local farmers’ market. Second, once you get a taste for your own scrumptious food, your tolerance for chain restaurant meals will go way down — and that goes for pricey eateries just as well as the cheap ones. Consequently, when you go out to eat, you’ll be more likely to choose an independently owned restaurant serving real food made by folks who care about what you eat.I’m going to go big with this next reason to cook.

Why learn to cook?

If you learn how to cook, you can help to change the world.