“I don’t cook.”
Those words baffle me whenever I hear them – and they do crop up in a surprising number of conversations with other young people my age. Sometimes these non-cookers seem proud of their lack of skill, shrugging it off as if preparing food were not necessary at all: “We just eat out a lot.” I try not to look too stunned and leave my thoughts unsaid: “Good luck with ever saving any money and maintaining a healthy weight.”
I’m one of the lucky few in my generation whose parents made sure to teach me how to cook from a young age. To this day, it’s the most useful skill they’ve ever taught me – far more so than 15 years of violin lessons.
I’ve come to realize that cooking doesn’t have to be a big deal. We as a society have never been more obsessed with the idea of cooking. We cook vicariously through the Food network, Top Chef, and Hell’s Kitchen. The problem is that these shows present an overly glamorized version of cooking, and almost make it appear too difficult for us non-celebrity chefs. These shows do no favours for the would-be home cook, who would be much better off sitting down with a copy of Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything and starting from page 1.
If I could give my non-cooking friends any advice, this is what I would tell them: