Food is one of the biggest aspects of a culture. Food has even made its way into pop culture. I mean, the only reason anyone gets on Facebook is to watch “Tasty” videos, and the cooking show “Chopped” is even on Netflix. It’s not often that we actually try out the demonstrated recipe or take advice from the real-life cooks that we watch. Students and young adults in general forget about the importance and the benefits of cooking for themselves.
I recently found myself eating ramen noodles. When my sister discovered this, she was baffled because before college I hated ramen noodles and never ate them. Why am I eating them now? It’s because I’m too lazy to cook for myself, they’re cheap and they’re quick to make. But is fast and easy worth the lack of nutrition?
Even though many students have a meal plan, they still spend money on fast food because the dining hall is closed when students have time to eat. When we get into the habit of eating out or always having someone cooking for us, we forget how to eat healthily and how to eat junk food only in moderation.
Learning how to cook is one of the most important skills a person can have. When you cook for yourself you learn to enjoy healthy foods that you’ve always hated. For example, since getting a job as a cook, I’ve learned to like tomatoes, mushrooms and squash. My roommate has learned to like green beans. If you know how to cook, you won’t go hungry. My job is cooking for girls two years older than me. It’s so satisfying knowing that I have a life skill and that at the end of the day I’ve done something productive.
Cooking for oneself also saves a lot of money. The average American spends about $1200 a year on fast food alone when they already purchase groceries. That’s enough money for two students to go to Disneyland for a weekend. The average college student will eat out three times a week or more, spending about ten dollars on each meal. That’s thirty dollars a week, which adds up to $1440 a year. You could buy a whole textbook with that kind of cash! If you saved up your money correctly you could take a vacation every other year, or, I don’t know, pay off student loans.
There are two main reasons why students don’t cook. We lack time and a kitchen, so we never learn how to survive with just a few potatoes and a pack of uncooked chicken. Therefore, when we get out of school, find a job and finally get the time and a kitchen, we don’t know what to do with it. It’s time we all learn. I suggest taking a community cooking class or making a cooking class one of your electives. Or, one night when you’re bored, pretend it’s time for the Mystery Box challenge and that you have Gordon Ramsay breathing down your neck.
I empty the trash cans in my dorm every other day and the majority of the trash is fast food related. I don’t know when this downward spiral began, but it must end.