This week, we’re resuming our senior blog series. Today’s post comes from Erik Stepanovich. Erik is majoring in AgComm and minoring in Agricultural Business.
It really bothers me when someone says they’ll make me dinner and then they pull out a frozen pizza from the freezer or a bag of ramen noodles from the cupboard. It amazes me everyday how our generation or just college kids in general don’t know how to cook. By cooking I mean everything is put together from scratch not just from a box. I don’t know if its lack of money, time, creativity or that they really just never learned how. Cooking is not hard. In fact it’s easy once you do it. Being able to cook leads to a healthier lifestyle and if you can’t cook you’re not getting the balanced nutrition you need.
Another excuse I often hear is, “I don’t have enough time to cook.” You can make spaghetti in less than 15 minutes. It takes 10 minutes to boil noodles and even less time to make sauce with meat. Other things might take longer of course but the more you do it the faster you become. Most of my dinners take 20 minutes to prepare unless they’re in the oven. Believe me when I say this, it’s worth it to take time out of your day to stay away from processed and pre-cooked food.
So why don’t people cook? If they say it’s money, I don’t believe it. The average four-
person family spends 10 percent of its income on groceries. That means as a single person you should spend 2.5 percent of your expenses on food. I go grocery shopping and spend $60 a week between my roommate and myself. That’s 30 dollars for my half. So if you’re eating out I’ll break it down for you. That’s 30 four-piece McNuggets from McDonalds, six 5 dollar foot-longs from Subway, four 8-inch subs from Penn Station or three pizza’s from Papa John’s. So when people tell me they can’t afford to cook and order food out, I laugh because they get maybe one good meal a day, whereas I get to eat three square meals a day.
Some people may feel they just don’t have the creativity to cook. Once again I don’t buy it. Call your grandma, call your mom or even buy a cookbook. They will give you ideas and tell you how to make it. You don’t need to be creative… you just need to know where to look for ideas. Once you’ve made something for the first time from an idea, it’s like second nature to make it again.
Being able to cook has so many health advantages and I’m not sure people see them. By following the food plate you get your daily allowance of fruits, meats, dairy, vegetables, and grains. Eating out or buying processed foods might satisfy some part of the food plate but in an unhealthy way. With eating out and process foods the fat, sugar and salt content is so high it ends up being terrible for you.
Everyone needs to take a step back and look at cooking in a whole new light. Cooking actually can save you money. It doesn’t take much time once you know what you’re doing and if you don’t know what to make or how, just ask. Cooking’s main benefit is health and you can’t put a price on that.