The Gustavian Weekly

Reasons everyone should learn to cook

By Frank Stephen - Opinion Columnist | October 13, 2017 | Opinion

Cooking up eggs for breakfast.

Cooking up eggs for breakfast.

Cooking is a skill that we should all know, not only for its everyday life application, but also because it can save us from the shameful status of being that person that always eats ramen or mooches off of others food.

I come from a long line of amateur cooks.

My dad, for example, has little ability to cook for himself aside from scrambled eggs and toast (depending on whether or not you count toast as something you can indeed cook, which I don’t).

I remember several instances of him attempting to make dinner or a snack with fantastically horrid results.

Here’s just an example: like many of us who make popcorn, we take the small container of unpopped kernels out of the its plastic, stick it in the microwave for a few minutes and then open the doors of said microwave to delicious, buttery, popcorn-y goodness, right?

Well this proved to be quite the adventure without the use of a popcorn button and a wary eye on the length of the timer for the duration of the cook time.

Now, my father isn’t senile, nor is he bad with technology.

So I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

I mean, how hard could that possibly be, right?

The sound of the plastic rustling as he pulled the bag out of its packaging was normal and I hardly gave it a second thought until he took an unusually long amount of time setting up the timer.

Cooking is like being an architect, a scientist, and an artist all rolled up into one, with the added bonus of being able to eat (or shall we say destroy?) that creation as well.

Even after that I wasn’t concerned, I mean after all, it is just popcorn, how much damage could be done in a microwave?

Soon it became apparent that we should have paid more attention to the clock as just after the 8-minute mark or so, the microwave began to smoke.

At this point in time, my dad and I had completely forgotten that we had started making popcorn because we were too absorbed in some TV show.

The distinct smell of burning was a good indicator as any that our snack would have been ready to eat six minutes previously.

It was because of this, and several other hilariously upsetting situations, that I decided it was probably a good idea to start learning how to fend for myself in a way that didn’t involve setting household appliances on fire.

The initial aftermath of what is now called “The Popcorn Incident”, was visible from the outside of the closed door.

It was now a lightly charred brown color instead of its factory original white.

We had hoped that that was the extent of the damage, but the next few times we used it, the machine emitted the distinct smell of burning popcorn.

The smell would linger for about a quarter of an hour after it stopped, so it became a microwave as well as a horribly scented candle.

For this reason, we chucked it onto the porch.

I started taking notice of what kinds of preparations went into making every entrée and its sides.

I never thought cooking could be as fun or as rewarding as it was.

The very first thing that I tried to make was a savory crepe.

I was mostly nervous about getting the portions right.

Reading a recipe book is no obstacle, but worries can start to creep into making crepes when you aren’t sure how much better the batter should look.

Putting the batter onto the burner and seeing it solidify into the little consumable creations is really quite satisfying in a primal, savage kind of way.

Cooking is like being an architect, a scientist, and an artist all rolled into one, with the added bonus of being able to eat (or shall we say destroy?) that creation as well.

No amount of pre-made microwave dinner meals can ever compare to making dinner for yourself.

Cooking creates that feeling of responsibility and achievement to be able to say, “Hey, I can fend for myself a little bit!”

No amount of pre-made microwave dinner meals can ever compare to making dinner for yourself.

All of that time and effort that goes into making a delicious meal makes it its own type of seasoning. And for dessert, the sweet and savory flavor of responsibility that comes along with every successful plate.

No matter what your level of experience in the kitchen, I think most of us can confidently say that we can microwave a meal without it blowing up.

I think that there are few things more rewarding than learning the primal art of skillfully heating things for nourishment.

I know I feel more responsible every time I can eat a meal that I prepared myself.

Nothing quite says independence like sustaining oneself.  It not only gives us a better idea of what kind of nutrition we are getting, but it also highlights the strengths of our ability to work towards a long-term ability, kind of like college!

1 Comment

Comments are the sole opinion of the visitor who submitted the comment and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author of the article, its editors, or The Gustavian Weekly or Gustavus Adolphus College as a whole.

  1. Alex Acedo says:

    Very cool article.
    I might have my culinary arts students read it.

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