As a single guy in his 20s, I've learned the difference between skills that are important and useful and those that are neither.
An example that comes to mind is that it's important to be able to create a budget and it's not important to have a great kill/death ratio in Call of Duty.
One particular skill that I've found to be important is cooking, and by cooking, I mean real food — not Ramen or Hamburger Helper.
As a bachelor and a senior in college, I understand that the idea of cooking can be a daunting task, to say the least.
However, cooking doesn't have to be a horrifying ordeal that ends in a visit from the local fire department.
I'm not Bobby Flay by any stretch of the imagination, but I've compiled a list of some of the perks of knowing a little about cooking your own meals instead of relying on the good folks at Kraft:
1. It's healthier
Sure, Ramen might be a tasty, instant meal, but it also has 875 milligrams of sodium, which is 65 percent of your daily value. That's excessive for something that will keep you full for an hour.
If you're into noodles, you're in luck. All it takes to make them is a pot of boiling water and a box of noodles. From there, you can buy or make your own sauce and you can add meat or veggies, depending on your preference.
Aside from pasta, using fresh veggies, fruits and meats cuts down on preservatives and other harmful additives. By making your own food, you can monitor what you're eating.
It sounds pretty obvious, but when you make boxed meals, like Hamburger Helper and mac and cheese, you can't know for sure how many "extra goodies" are used to make and preserve them.
2. It's cheaper (most of the time)
On the surface, it seems like buying all kinds of ingredients for a meal would cost more than just buying a box and throwing it in the microwave, but it's actually cheaper to cook.
When you buy ingredients, like produce, spices flour or oil, you're actually stocking up for the next meal, too.
When you buy a boxed meal, you get exactly that: one. When you compare the prices of ingredients against the price of a boxed meal, you'll find that it's far less expensive to make your meals from scratch.
This principle doesn't really apply to produce and fruits, but they're still undoubtedly worth it.
Of course, if you are a culinary purist and want to buy specialty products, it'll be more expensive, but at that point, price won't be too much of a factor to you anyway.
3. Hosting guests becomes more enjoyable
Whether you're hosting a frat party, Super Bowl party, birthday party or a wine-tasting, one thing remains constant: everyone gets hungry and it's your job to feed them.
If you can barely cook to feed yourself, this becomes a very expensive task.
Pizza, the go-to party food, can drive up party expenses to astronomical amounts at $15 to $20 a pie. However, if you know how to whip up some party snacks, the cost can decrease significantly.
Instead of dropping $60 on four pizzas, an able cook can make many snacks that can quell even the mightiest of appetites.
A few great party snacks are buffalo chicken dip, bruschetta, stuffed mushrooms and fresh salsa. Not only are these simple to make, but they're a great way to keep your friends and family happy and having a good time.
4. A guy who can cook gets the girl
Men, let's face it: We're always looking for a way to win over the girls we can't stop thinking about.
What's a simple way to do that? Show her that you can cook a nice meal for the two of you without the help from your friends at Olive Garden.
After inquiring within the female community, it seems that ladies view men who can cook as responsible and self-reliant.
Nothing makes a girl feel more appreciated than being served an entire meal without having to lift a finger.
Even if you aren't Gordon Ramsay and you can't make duck à l'Orange, she still appreciates the fact that you put time and effort into making something especially for her.
There are quite a few resources to learn how to cook quality meals, like cooking websites, TV shows and books.
Dig into them and learn how to make your favorite dish.