Your entire relationship with food will evolve once you start handling ingredients on a regular basis.
Cooking from scratch is about so much more than just making fresh food to eat. Your relationship to food will be transformed the more you handle ingredients, turn them into delicious recipes, and learn how they work together. The Huffington Post published a great list of “15 things that happen when you start cooking from scratch,” written by Johanna Bond, and I’d like to share some of my favorites with you below. These show why it’s worthwhile learning how to cook and how the benefits extend far beyond the tasty, healthy food that’s created.
1. You learn how to grocery shop.
Instead of rushing through the grocery store looking for things that can be easily assembled or reheated into easy meals, you start paying attention to ingredients. You learn how to read food labels and ingredient lists, deciphering what’s in the products you buy. This is empowering.
2. You begin to taste food differently.
This is so true. All food, whether prepared from scratch or eaten in a restaurant, tastes different after you learn how to cook – because now you know what goes into creating a dish. You learn to recognize a good cook when you try the food, and you start looking for clues and inspiration for how to recreate those tastes at home. I often find myself asking chefs, "What did you put in this?" and taking mental notes.
3. You start to see your body in a different way.
The connection between what you put into your body and how it makes you feel becomes clearer, somehow, once you’re making the food yourself. Instead of being tempted by pre-made foods in front of your eyes, meals are planned from the bottom up, which I've found makes me more inclined to opt for healthy foods. Writes Bond:
“I make a bowl of quinoa with veggies and feta? I feel great! I make a bowl of pasta or fry up some frozen pierogies? I feel like a sack of potatoes sinking into my couch.”
4. You can control everything that goes into your food.
This is hugely liberating. If there are things to which you’re sensitive or allergic, or simply do not like, you can leave those out. You’re the boss in your own kitchen. You don’t have to ask for modifications or worry about trace amounts of something. You can make your favorite foods over and over again.
5. You create balance in your life.
This is my most favorite point of all. After working all day and caring for a busy young family, there is something comforting and calming about the act of cooking. I love escaping to the kitchen for an hour to prepare dinner. It’s my fun, hands-on creative time. I turn up the music and work as fast as I can.
“Taking time to prepare your own food and fuel means carving out some balance in your life… The kitchen for me has morphed into a safe place of both chaos and respite, a place to recharge both physically and mentally.”