Are you a kitchen amateur, but a microwave pro? Are you the Anthony Bourdain of frozen cuisine? Does the neighborhood pizza delivery guy know you by name?
Perhaps you should listen to your mother who has been hounding you for all these years, and finally start cooking your own dinners. You have to admit it — she is right sometimes…
In case you need a little more convincing, here’s 6 reasons cooking your own meals will improve your life.
1. Cooking your own food saves money. Okay, listen. We all know that a habit of ordering sushi takeout or cheeseburger delivery can get pretty pricey. Restaurant fare is significantly more expensive than the equivalent food made at home, and that’s not even taking tip into question.
Veggie fried rice at your local Chinese joint could cost you around $8, but it costs half the price to buy the same ingredients yourself (and makes about three times the amount of food you’d get at a restaurant). Tally what you spend per week on delivery, takeout, or restaurant meals — we dare you. You’ll be shocked at how much you actually spend on just eating. Now imagine half of that money going to your savings account, or long term projects like remodeling the kitchen, paying off your student loans, or installing a ball pit in your living room. Much more attractive, isn’t it?
2. Cooking your own food makes you more creative. This seems obvious, but it really is something to consider. Put bluntly, no brain activity goes into ordering food or heating up frozen taquitos. Cooking is an art and putting effort into your meals gives you the ability to whip up new ideas and alter online recipes in your own style. Like a pianist with his piano or a singer with her song, a chef with his or her own dish utilizes self-expression and experimentation. It really is a beautiful thing.
Tell a chef that cooking isn’t an art and watch how offended he or she gets. You won’t know how to make the world’s best bread unless you start from the bottom, with burnt toast, and work up from there — just like you can’t expect to paint Starry Night the first time you pick up a paint brush. Even if your first couple of meals aren’t Mario Batali level, you’ll still find that you can put a little bit of flair into them.
3. It’s not actually that hard. Perhaps you’ve always put off learning to cook because you assumed it was difficult, not for you, or required too much effort when all you want to do is kick back on your couch after work and nosh on a chicken sandwich from a local deli. You’ve been mistaken: not only is cooking pretty easy, but it also doesn’t take much time to learn at all.
I know, I know, we already said that it takes some time to get into the swing of cooking, but think of how many opportunities you have to practice — 3 meals a day! Plus there are other options too: the internet is flooded with recipes–and if you can read, you can cook. And, not to toot our own horn (oh what the heck, *toot toot*), but we have been known to offer some gems of cooking classes ourselves.
4. Cooking is almost always the healthier option. Think about the type of meals you usually order when you eat out. If you’re like us, just the act of walking through the restaurant’s doors means you’ve thrown in the towel regarding any chance of a healthy meal — macaroni and cheese, fried calamari, burritos, burgers. It’s not looking too good for losing that spare tire.
But it’s a different story when you cook your own food — by taking the time while grocery shopping to mull over and pick out ingredients, you’ll be more likely to make a conscientious decision of what you’re buying. You’ll also know and understand the ingredients that go into your own dishes, whereas you definitely don’t know every little ingredient that goes into your dinner eatery of choice.
The oozy decadence of your cheesy, greasy, gargantuan restaurant dish comes at a cost. Eating establishments (with the exception of chain restaurants, thanks Obama) don’t provide calorie counters — but if they did, would you even want to know? The numbers would haunt you like spirits from the culinary underworld, where malevolent forces spend night and day forging your love handles and clogged arteries in butter coated furnaces…spooky stuff.
5. Cooking is quicker than delivery in most cases. Eateries typically estimate that it could take 45 minutes to an hour for food delivery. In that time, you could have cooked (and possibly eaten) you own meal.
Don’t go hungry for so long — put down the phone and pick up the pots and pans! You hear that stomach growl? It’s your body’s plea for a quick pasta dish ready to be served in about 20 minutes. If you’re hungry now, just think of how hungry you’ll be after waiting an hour.
Seriously, it just makes sense. The cooks have to prepare your meal. The food runner or prep person has to package the food. Then the restaurant has to wait for the delivery people to come and get the food. The delivery person most likely has multiple stops along to way to your house. Let’s not forget that pesky rush-hour traffic — or maybe the difficulty of finding your house or apartment along the way. Honestly, is it worth it? Probably not. By the time you unwrap your food, it’s probably going to be cold and soggy. Not cool (except for, you know, literally). Plus (and this one’s for all the environmentalists out there) think about the wasted gas required for someone to drive to your house just so they can deliver food straight to your greasy mouth.
6. Cooking impresses people, especially dates. There’s nothing like a candlelit dinner while indulging in a homemade shrimp scampi. It shows your date that he/she is worth the effort, and another date night is very likely to follow.
Imagine your guests’ point of view: You meet your potential suitor at his/her building. It’s your second date and you’re not totally sure how things are going. When suddenly you’re taken into the dining room, and what do you see? Why, a homemade, lavish dinner laid out on a wooden table adorned with rose petals, uncorked vino, and vanilla-scented candles! But it’s the aroma coming from the kitchen really gets you — the garlicky, delicious scent of fresh tomato sauce. Italian food! You did mention last time that it was your favorite. How thoughtful!
With all this effort into preparing the dinner and table setting, there’s no confusion as to how your date feels about you. A third date is inevitable.
So what are you waiting for? Pick up a cookbook, take a cooking class, and soon you’ll be whipping up your very own chicken stir-fry in no time. Its cheap, it’s healthy, and it’ll add some creativity and adventure — you know we love adventure — to your evening routine.