The other day I was with a friend and we developed a sweet tooth. She suggested going to a café; I suggested we make something. The look she gave me in response basically said “that's-the-worst-idea-you've-ever-had.”
See, this friend of mine is unfamiliar with the concept of cooking. She did not want to get her hands dirty in the kitchen; she wanted to simply walk into a shop, sit down at a table and order something from a menu.
But I strongly believe that by refusing to cook, she's missing out on so many things. Here are four reasons why she should preheat her oven and put on an apron…
1. Cooking gives you a sense of accomplishment.
It might sound a bit pathetic when I tell you that cooking is an empowering act, but trust me, it is. During the dullest and darkest times of my life, or times when I felt like I wasn't amounting to much, cooking and baking gave me a rewarding sense of achievement.
Just think about it; you literally start with nothing: a clear, clean counter and end up with a delicious, Instagram-worthy edible creation, made solely by you.
You made sure that lasagna didn't burn, you made the delicious sauce out of only three ingredients, and you learned from your mistakes and added less salt than last time, like the clever cookie you are. You cured your craving and filled your hungry family's tummies with yummies.
It might be a small triumph, but it's a triumph nonetheless. You're a strong, independent cook who don't need no professional chef.
2. Cooking means you eat food exactly how you like it.
You stare at that restaurant menu and wish that the barramundi was crusted in sourdough instead of macadamias. You sigh deeply when the steak you're served is far too pink. And you could frantically remind the pizza guy to hold the olives.
Or, you could crumb your own barramundi, cook your own steak and make your own damn olive-free pizza. Eating out is fun, but sometimes the meals just don't quite satisfy.
Cooking your own food means you can replace certain ingredients, add other ones and time your oven precisely how you want to, so you end up eating the best food for you. The more you cook, the more you realize a recipe is just a guideline, and you don't have to follow it to a T.
As your kitchen confidence grows, so does your creativity.
3. Cooking makes other people happy and super impressed.
I'm grateful to have grown up with a mother who put so much effort into baking me a birthday cake every year (but I also totally get that not every mum has time for that).
One of the best ways you can make your loved ones smile is by feeding them, and sometimes a homemade meal will mean so much more than a takeaway box.
Plus, your friends and family will be super impressed by your ability to cook. One of my proudest cooking-related memories is when my mother-in-law said my cheesecake was better than hers -- and she makes a mean cheesecake! (Also, I definitely disagree with her.)
4. Cooking is an awesome bonding experience.
Just like going on a walk, grabbing a coffee or watching a movie, cooking and baking are super-fun activities to do with friends. Together, you can enjoy the impressive successes and laugh at the epic failures.
In the kitchen, you learn to work as a team, you figure things out together and you both contribute to something awesome. Some of my favorite memories with people involve cooking something new, showing our creations off on social media, then pigging out together on the couch.