Cooking: one of life’s most useful skills

By Brielle Bryan

First course: raspberry vinaigrette over mixed greens, goat cheese, pecans and sliced peaches. After teasing your taste buds, you move onto the main course: grilled salmon over sautéed spinach, coated in a balsamic glaze, with a side of roasted red potatoes. As your stomach expands and you think you can’t eat anymore, your hand clutches your fork and steadies in anticipation for dessert: a light and fluffy chocolate cake with raspberry filling and a dark chocolate ganache frosting.

You wrap up and refrigerate the leftovers, put some dishes in the dishwasher and finally find your spot on the couch with a throw blanket. As you lay down, the dishwasher’s low hum soothes you to sleep and you dream of what meal you can make tomorrow night in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Have you ever had a home-cooked meal like this? Many people just microwave their food or eat at a restaurant, but cooking your own food is a necessary life skill.

According to mercola.com, microwaving food is a lot more complicated than simply “heating it up,” as the microwave heats up food making the water molecules in the food resonate at a high frequency and change the food’s chemical structure, which can lead a loss in nutrients. In addition, food heated in plastic containers or on paper plates can be detrimental since carcinogenic toxins can leak out of the plastic and paper and into your food, increasing your risk of getting cancer.

If microwaving food isn’t healthy, why not go out to eat and have someone else cook your food? Eating out may seem like the easy option, but it has its downsides.

When you go out to eat, it is unlikely that all of your food can be made fresh to order. Owners of eating establishments have many customers to worry about and a limited amount of employees, determined by the maximum they are willing to pay.

Portion control is easier at home. (Twitter.com)
Portion control is easier at home. (Twitter.com)

Most restaurants maintain their steady pace of sending out food from the kitchen by storing most of the pre-made food in a freezer. Frozen food is cooked to order, and all the leftover frozen food is kept frozen until it is needed a week or two later. By that point, it gets dried out and is no longer “fresh.”

In order to keep frozen foods tasting delicious, high amounts of salt are added so that its flavor still appeals to your taste buds. However, salt can delay stomach emptying, which most of the time can blow up your stomach and cause a lot of discomfort. Also, daily doses of salt can cause high blood pressure, which is a leading factor in heart disease.

Eating establishments also provide patrons with large portions. Say you order roasted turkey, but it also comes with a potato and vegetable, as well as a soup or salad, and a pudding cup for dessert. Since you are out to eat, you might be going somewhere afterward and can’t take your food home, or you might not think the food will taste good microwaved later. If you don’t want to waste it, you might end up eating everything that is placed in front of you.

While microwaving food or eating out may be convenient, it isn’t healthy. Many believe that learning to cook is challenging because it requires so many more steps beyond putting something on a plate and pressing the reheat button. However, cooking is actually very easy and an essential part of living on your own.

If you have a hard time understanding the process of sautéing, steaming or grilling, there are countless cooking websites and YouTube videos that can teach you the basics. Cooking at home is faster than going out to eat, and it is more fulfilling than eating something that isn’t fresh. Cooking at home is not only healthier, but also cheaper than eating at a restaurant or grabbing fast food every day of the week.

Instead of thinking of the last time you ate a home-cooked meal, think of how rewarding it will be the next time you sit down and eat something that you made with your own hands.