I read an interesting article about why it's so important for kids to learn how to cook in the Guardian, written by Esther Walker, who writes THE BEST FOOD BLOG ON THE INTERNET, Recipe Rifle, which I strongly suggest you add to your blogroll if you enjoy cooking or actually if you have ever gone through a bit of a negative time mentally. I had a dark couple of months early last year and reading Esther's blog really made me feel better as it helped me realise I wasn't the only person in the world who ever felt like that. And you don't normally get that from food blogs, so there you go.
ANYWAY. It got me thinking about how and why I learned how to cook and how rewarding it was to my life.
Despite leaving home in 2008, I didn't really ever cook anything until I turned 22 in August 2012. I lived off ready meals, takeaways, eating out when I could afford it, sometimes just not eating, sometimes eating Mini Eggs instead of dinner, my glamorous rollcall of jobs in the catering industry meaning I occasionally got free meals at work, so on, so on. Once when I was in my parents' house alone I set pasta on fire and my friend had to come and sort it out. Seriously. I was fat. I had bad skin. I gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of money. I became very seriously anaemic. It was not good. I moved in with my boyfriend in 2011, but he did most of the cooking or we would continue down the ready meals and takeaways route. For a long time we didn't even have an oven (seriously).
Then I decided to lose some weight and although Josh was not as overweight as me he decided to join in. We first did this in the WORST POSSIBLE WAY YOU CAN EVER LOSE WEIGHT, by low calorie ready meals. These meals will not satisfy you. They are not filling. They taste 10% as nice as food you cook yourself. They have salt and artificial sweetener and all kinds of crazy additives and chemicals burning holes in your insides. There's every chance you'll eat a disease-carrying horse hoof by accident.You will lose weight but it is not worth it.
It was Weight Watchers that convinced me down the cooking route. As you probably know, on Weight Watchers all fruit and most vegetables are zero points and you can eat as much as you like. I began reading Weight Watchers magazine and realising I could cook exactly the same meals I was eating but add loads of vegetables and stuff and have much bigger portions. I began to realise that there was no reason not to look forward to what I was having for dinner on a daily basis. And then I taught myself how to cook.
It wasn't easy. Many a dinner I have served Josh and he has tasted it then quietly shaken his head. Many a tantrum I have thrown as a result of this. But I have kept going and I have now mastered quite a few 'dishes' in my repertoire. I love cooking. *ANTI-FEMINISM KLAXON* There's something very, very satisfying about able to make a tasty meal for my boyfriend to be served as he gets in from work and I love that it is now me that does all the cooking. I love cooking for my parents and for my friends and for my biggest fan my sister. Cooking in the evening is my quiet time - a time for just me, and I don't understand people who can't be bothered to cook as it's something I seriously look forward to all day.
If you cook your food from fresh ingredients you can save money, have much better tasting food, and most importantly of all for weight loss, know exactly what has gone into it. I always cook every meal from fresh now (except for leftovers which are God by the way) and haven't had a ready meal for months. Even that was in exceptional circumstances. You and your body deserve better, learn to cook!