Why I cook (or Why I should cook more often)
There’s a number of reasons why I like to prepare and cook my own meals. Unfortunately, I don’t cook as much as I’d like, and there’s also reasons for that. In this (nontechnical!) post, I’ll go through both sides of this. I’m not aiming to convince anybody, but just to share some of my thoughts. Hopefully at least one person will find this interesting.
Why I don’t cook as often as I should
Let’s get the negative side out of the way first. If I love cooking so much, then why don’t I do it more often? Why do I go and eat out so often?
As I mentioned previously, there’s a number of reasons, but the primary one has to do with time.
Cooking takes up time. Depending on the meal, it usually takes me an entire hour to prepare a full meal (which, in my books, consists of rice or some other form of carbohydrates, meat, and vegetables). And that doesn’t include the time I spend buying the groceries so I have things to cook. For a single trip, I’d estimate an hour. Of course, a single trip can get me enough groceries to cook for an entire week. So I’ll just say it takes a little over an hour to prepare a meal.
As a university student, it’s often difficult to find the time to cook. (In other words, time management is difficult.)
Then there’s also, to put it bluntly, laziness. Cooking takes effort, and it’s more convenient to eat out. And, related to this, after a long day of labs and classes (or work, if I’m on co-op), I’m usually too tired to cook anything.
The other reasons are pretty much logistical. As a student who moves around every four months, I cannot afford to burden myself with too much stuff to move around. So my kitchen supplies are fairly limited, which means I’m also limited in what I can prepare.
Another problem with being a student is that most supermarket portions are not designed for a single person. I have to make sure I only buy as much as I can consume before the food spoils. Some vegetables, for example, are good for about a week, but only come in week-sized portions. If I only have time to cook one meal a week, then I have a problem. The solutions are to cook more frequently… or to not cook at all.
Finally, relating to food spoilage, I typically have to cook something not too long after I buy it. However, my schedule is fairly erratic, and I often don’t know if I’ll be staying late on campus, or if I’ll be able to go home and cook. This makes it very difficult to predict when I should stock up on groceries. Again, I can take the extra effort to get home and cook, or simply not cook at all.
So that explains why I don’t cook very often.
Then why do I care so much about cooking?
There’s a lot of reasons people cite when they say that cooking for yourself is good. Things like how it’s cheaper and how it’s healthier for you.
Health is one of the reasons I care about cooking. Since I’m preparing my own food, I know exactly what goes into it, and I can ensure I get enough vegetables in my diet.
But I think the main reason I cook is simply because I enjoy cooking. I find cooking to be a great way to relieve stress. Yes, it takes up time (which causes some stress!), but for an entire hour, I don’t have to worry about anything else, and I get to have fun preparing something, and looking forward to my meal.
It’s always a great experience, I find, to come home after a long day of work, and start preparing dinner. It is tiring, but I don’t have to think too much, so I can relieve stress and slowly transition my mind from “work” to “home.” And it’s a great feeling, after my dinner is done and I’m completely exhausted from the day and cooking, to sit down and enjoy a hot meal.
I’m not sure I did justice to explaining how I feel during and after cooking a meal. But that single moment, I think, is worth all the effort.
I know I spent more time and detail to describe why I don’t cook, but that’s just the way it happened. Again, I’m not trying to convince people to start cooking on their own. I just had more to say. (An attempt to justify why I don’t cook?) But I still feel the positives outweigh the negatives.
So I guess that means I should renew my efforts to cook more often. I’m not planning to write a follow-up post, but we’ll see what happens.