The world has changed significantly in terms of how women are perceived as well as their roles in society. However, when it comes to the little things, we are often oblivious to the disparities that continue to exist even today. One such example is cooking, which is primarily associated with women. Although there are plenty of men who can cook, it’s fascinating to see how unquestionably we assume that women can or should cook. At the end of the day, cooking is not about promoting equality. It is a basic life skill that every person, regardless of their gender, should have.
When they leave their home and family to attend college or work in a different city or country, a majority of men are in for a rude awakening: food doesn’t just magically appear at the table. They are then limited to ordering in or relying on ready-to-eat or instant food.
While convenient and time saving these options are not exactly practical, even if money is not an issue, with the health risks involved in ordering food from outside or consuming instant foods on a daily basis, it’s simply not worth it in the long run.
Why is the skill of cooking important?
Apart from being the most impactful skill on the path to becoming self-sufficient and saving time as well as money, cooking can also serve as an effective stress buster and greatly benefit your mental health as well. Just as cleaning gives an adrenaline rush and a sense of fulfilment, cooking can trigger a similar feeling.
Now you might tell yourself that it’s difficult to incorporate cooking into your busy lifestyle, but once you consider the following reasons, you might just change your mind about why cooking at home is important.
So here are a few reasons why cooking at home is beneficial:
Cooking makes you healthier
Remember when you were a kid and would beg your mom to take you to McDonald’s or KFC, and your mom would tell you, “There’s food at home”? It turns out she was absolutely right. While you might not be able to recreate the tastes that restaurants and fast food chains offer, it’s crucial to know that the reason for this is that you avoid the use of harmful food additives like MSG, artificial food colouring, and sodium nitrate in home-cooked meals. Cooking at home can be a great way to eat nutritional meals that are beneficial for your health. You can eat protein rich foods to gain muscle and a lot of leafy greens to balance the minerals and vitamins in your diet. You can choose a variety of healthy ingredients to stay healthy and in shape because you are the one who decides what goes into your food.
Cooking allows you to control what you eat
When you cook at home, you eat a healthier diet than eating out. Restaurants tend to use a greater amount of unhealthy components like sugar, fat, sodium, and oil. When you make your own meals at home, you get to pick everything that goes into them. It allows you to eat more veggies, use less salt and sugar, pick your own oil, and avoid most possible harmful chemical additives found in restaurants.
Cooking encourages you to eat smaller portions
When eating delicious food from restaurants, the portions are often a surprise, and when there’s too much food available, it can lead to overeating. A major reason why home-cooked food makes you healthier is because you control the portion sizes. When you’re aware of how much food is enough, you significantly prevent overeating.
Cooking reduces your risk of foodborne illness
When you cook at home, you can regulate all the ingredients that are used as well as maintain the hygiene that restaurants and fast-food chains can’t always guarantee. There are also other factors to consider, such as uncooked ingredients or improperly washed vegetables, as they might have residue from manure and pesticides. By cooking at home, you can avoid the majority of foodborne diseases.
Cooking saves you money
When eating out or ordering in becomes a daily routine, your food costs can skyrocket. Even when looking for healthy food, you will notice that as the options become healthier, the price increases proportionally. When you eat out, you have an additional cost of travelling to and from the restaurant, you pay service tax and tips, and the wait time for food often depends on the rush. Ordering-in is no better; you have to pay delivery charges, wait for the food to arrive, which can often take up to an hour, and with so much waiting, the food usually arrives cold and requires you to heat it up again in a microwave. Also, the time period of waiting leads you to develop gastroenteritis. When you cook at home, you save time, a lot of money on food costs and probably starvation.
Cooking actually saves time
Even though people often claim that they don’t have enough time to cook meals, cooking at home can actually save a lot of valuable time. When you eat at a restaurant, there are way too many steps involved. The first thing to consider is looking for a restaurant and the time it will take you to get there and back home. Secondly, there’s the time it takes to order the food and for it to arrive, which depends on how busy the restaurant is. While ordering food eliminates the time of travelling to and from a restaurant, it makes up for it with deliveries, which can often take up to an hour and can require you to microwave it. If you really are short on time, when cooking at home, you have the option of preparing all the ingredients in advance to save time.
Cooking at home can help relieve stress
When you come home tired from working all day, you might think of cooking as a chore. However, cooking is actually a very therapeutic activity that can take your mind off of all the stress that you’ve built up throughout the day. Gathering ingredients, chopping up vegetables, and plating the food; all of these repetitive actions can calm your nerves and make you feel at ease, similar to meditation. Lastly, cooking a meal successfully can make you feel a sense of accomplishment and help you increase your self-esteem.
Cooking can help you impress your loved one
Ever since humans learned how to cook, aside from being a tool for survival, cooking has also been an act of love. While cooking itself isn’t something physically attractive, the underlying messages that cooking delivers are what counts. A man who can cook is viewed as mature and self-sufficient, someone who won’t be overly dependent on their partner. Being able to cook can also signify that you don’t believe in gender stereotypes. While being able to cook doesn’t automatically mean you are the perfect choice for someone, it certainly goes a long way. After all, everyone loves when someone prepares a meal for them; it makes them feel loved and cared for.
The most versatile food ingredients to keep in stock
Even if you know nothing about cooking, it’s never too late to start. As with anything new, you should start small, and no, instant noodles do not count. Rome wasn’t built in a day, well, you don’t become a chef in a day either. So if you’re a novice who’s decided to try their hand at cooking, here are a few versatile ingredients to keep in stock and get you started.
Nothing comes close to the versatility that eggs offer; you can make an omelette, scrambled eggs, french toast, or simply boil them. It’s probably the easiest food to make and does not require any special utensils or techniques to master. Thus, eggs are the perfect way to start your cooking journey.
If you are vegetarian and eggs are out of the option, potatoes are here to the rescue. Potatoes are one of the most versatile veggies out there, and just like eggs they do not require any special techniques or equipment. A pinch of salt is enough to turn a potato from a vegetable to a food.
Another simple ingredient is tofu or cottage cheese(paneer). It is simple, easy and efficient in all manner and can be consumed without even cooking. They make one of the best fillings in sandwiches or wraps, and fits perfectly in a salad or as a side to compliment a majority of dishes.
Onions and Tomatoes
Onions and tomatoes might not stand out on their own, but they are the best complimentary ingredients a cook can use. They are used in just about every dish, from pasta sauce to butter chicken, tomatoes and onions can do it all.
In addition to being a useful life skill, learning how to cook exposes us to new foods and flavours from all around the world. You’ll soon learn that healthy options can be just as readily available and easy to prepare as fast food. By learning more about the components of different dishes, you can make more informed decisions about what to eat and improve the quality of your diet.