Be Your Own Cook

By Brent Ramirez
Blog Content Contributor

Food is great. That’s a fact. Since the dawn of man, food has been one of the human essentials, a necessity to sustain life on Earth. However, over the years of our existence, food has become exponentially more. Food has become money. Food has become culture. It’s now a hobby, a passion and an art, among many other things. Despite this evolution, the purpose of feeding ourselves and others has remained a constant. We eat to live and we live to eat.

In today’s society, we have grown accustomed to the convenience and indulgence of fast food. I’ll admit, fast food is definitely a guilty pleasure for me. It’s so quick and tasty, but at the same time I can’t help but feel just a bit greasy and out of breath every time I eat another 50 chicken nuggets. Unlike our hunter-gatherer roots, the distribution and production of food has become a market capable of reaching millions of people on a day-to-day basis. While it’s great that we can enjoy some of our favorite foods by merely driving down the street to a restaurant or fast food chain, I believe some of the best food we could ever eat is the food we cook ourselves.

Cooking is an important skill to have no matter who you are. You need to know how to feed yourself. For college students in particular, this is a time when most of us are living on our own. We have the freedom to eat fast food and junk food whenever, and while that is great, it may not be the best choice for our health. Learning to cook gives us the opportunity to eat better and cheaper, and it can really imbue a sense of personal accomplishment.

Cooking in itself may seem like quite a daunting task to some, but it’s not as hard as many are led to believe. In my experience, cooking is a matter of trial and error. It doesn’t matter how familiar I am with a recipe, it takes time to get familiar and comfortable with cooking, as it does with any new task. With that said, the internet has become a place where you can learn nearly anything for free. Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos are a good example of this. Some of their recipes can be a bit complex, but more often than not, the videos show you how to make their dishes in a very straightforward way that’s easy to pick up on.

This is one of my go-to Tasty videos. Love me some of that Chicken Bacon Florentine Fettuccine!

Learning and growing more comfortable with food has led me to experiment more when I cook. For a simple grilled cheese, I might find myself adding some sauteed mushrooms and spinach and choosing other cheeses aside from your traditional slice of American. When I’m cooking a pack of instant ramen, I go crazy now. I add fried eggs, leftover meats and veggies and even different sauces and spices to change the flavor of the pre-packaged, powdered flavoring. It may not always be a great outcome, but it’s all a part of the experience. You have to be able to take away what works and what doesn’t and implement new knowledge into your future cooking endeavors.

I highly encourage everyone to learn how to cook at least a handful of dishes. Having a few recipes to fall back on in a time of desperation, or just plain hunger, can be really helpful in those last minute situations where you’re looking for something straight from the kitchen. And who knows? You might even start to find cooking as a little hobby.

Although cooking like a five star chef may not be something everyone can do, I think with even just a little bit of practice and effort anyone can make a meal they can enjoy. Happy cooking and eating my friends.

Featured image by Brent Ramirez.

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