I get a little concerned when I hear that Americans do not cook. I get it if you both have professional jobs working 50+ hours a week and long commutes. I also get it if you live alone and it is easier and sometimes cheaper to go out to eat. But if you have two or more people and you are not making a bunch of money working crazy hours, going out to eat should be more of a treat and not a twice a day occurrence.
From what is reported in the media, it seems like many people did not learn cooking growing up and decide this means it is too late to learn. In fact, it is just a matter of building up your comfort level with different ways to cook and different ingredients. You can do trial and error, starting with easier stuff and building up your competence over time. You can watch cooking channels and try things you see. You can take cooking classes. You could offer to buy ingredients and cook with a friend who is a better cook than you but let them know you want to cook with them and learn.
Here are five very good reasons to cook at home – even if it is going to take you a while to get good at it.
- Healthier Food – The top reason is that you know what is going in your food and you can make it healthier. The reality is that it might not taste as good as that unhealthy stuff, but it can be very good and be much better for you. For example, I make Chipotle burritos at home and they are not as good because I put less of the cheese and no sour cream. I just can’t bring myself to glob on huge portions like they do in the restaurant (even though it is delicious.)
- Less Fried Foods – You can also cut back on fried foods when you eat at home. It is easy to order a side of fries but a pain in the but to heat up the fryer and fry things just for an unhealthy side.
- Show Off a Skill – As good cooks get more rare, it is even more impressive when you meet one. The only way you become a good cook is by cooking regularly and experimenting with new recipes. Once you get there you can amaze your friends and family, impress a date and act like a snob know it all in restaurants. So much fun.
- Save Money – Sometimes you might spend MORE on a meal than you would have getting the same thing in a restaurant. But what you might not factor in is that you have a lot more food than you would have by going out. So you may get 3 meals for roughly the same spend. Alcohol is one big bonus when it comes to saving money as you buy your bottle of wine or case of beer for what two glasses would have cost in that dinner out.
- Get Sick Less – I am not anti-restaurant, but we do notice we get sick more when we eat out more. When you have a restaurant kitchen full of people cooking and prepping your food, it only takes one person with a cold to get the whole family sick. Restaurants do not want employees to come sick, but since the employees most likely do not get sick pay, they need to work when they are feeling under the weather. This results in people working while sick more then you would like to think.
I am not suggesting not eating out anymore. Far from it. But also you do not want to get into the habit of eating out all the time and eating prepackaged stuff at home that you only need to microwave. It is so much healthier, cheaper and more rewarding to learn how to cook nice meals. Start slow and build up your skills until you are an Iron Chef of your home.