On 20-somethings and Cooking
I saw something when I was out grocery shopping this weekend that I can’t stop thinking about. There were three young 20-somethings in front of me in the self-check-out. They had a very full cart. I’m assuming they were roommates shopping for the household. In any case, I had a bit of a wait, so I started to look at what they’d bought. I’m always intrigued to see what groceries other people buy. Anyway. Their food consisted entirely of prepackaged meals, almost all of them Hungry Man frozen dinners. We’re talking enough frozen dinners to feed all three of them for around a month. It took all of my self-control to not let my jaw drop open. There was not a single piece of fruit, vegetable, or even, heck, a box of pasta in the mix! Not even some canned applesauce! Every single item was a frozen dinner.
This rather dramatically demonstrates a trend I’m seeing among my generation that frankly worries me. I’m not one to rant in a pretentious way about what you should eat, but what the hell happened to the art of cooking?! Why are people reaching their young 20s with absolutely zero knowledge about how to make dinner from scratch? I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who are my age who know next to nothing about cooking. One of my meals that never fails to impress these friends who can’t cook I call Poor Man’s Pasta. I take some fresh veggies, chop them up, stir fry them for a bit with herbs, water down some marinara sauce, add it to the pan, and cook it until it simmers down. I toss pasta in with this, and we have a meal stuffed with fresh veggies and herbs and far more health than a frozen meal that god only knows where the food came from, how long its been frozen, or how much sodium is in it. It’s basically frankenfood, and it disturbs me that people my age don’t know how to make anything better.
Cooking is one of those things we need to know how to do as human beings. We should know how to make ourselves food! This seems obvious, but it apparently is not. Why are parents letting their kids grow up without knowing how to cook? Isn’t this a basic human need that should not be ignored? It reminds me of the kids in my undergrad who arrived at college with no clue as to how to do their own laundry.
So, I call out to my fellow 20-somethings. If you don’t know how to cook, please learn. It is cheaper. It isn’t that time-consuming to make a freshly-made meal. Ask a friend who knows how to cook. Take a lesson at a local adult learning facility. This is a basic skill you should at the very least know how to do. Even if you only cook your dinner yourself once or twice a week, it’ll still be better for your health. Not to mention, then you can pass the ability of cooking on to your kids, if you decide to have them. Don’t let the future be a world where only professional chefs know how to cook a meal.