Plenty of Young People These Days Can't Cook, But They Are Seriously Missing Out

Confession: for the first 18 years of my life I did not know how to cook. It just wasn’t something I had any interest in. Then, the summer before I left for college, I suddenly started messing around in the kitchen, something I hadn’t even pretended to do since I was eight and my mother forbade my sister and I from ever making cookies without a recipe again. It seemed unfair at the time.

Over the past four years, I’ve really begun to appreciate cooking, to the point where it kind of confuses me when my friends, both male and female, tell me they don’t know how to cook and don’t care to learn. If this is you, I give the following five reasons not to be afraid of the kitchen and instead give cooking a try.

1. Cooking is empowering. This probably sounds really weird in light of the long of history of women getting stuck “cooking and cleaning” instead of being able to do something more fulfilling. But this isn’t your mother’s generation. In a world where everyone accepts that women can work if they want to, being able to take charge of what you eat and when and how much is kind of awesome. It gives you room to be creative if you want, to try new things, and to be part of the process of keeping yourself alive. There’s a huge sense of accomplishment that comes from making a great meal, trust me.

2. The Internet makes everything easier. If you are somehow unaware of the proliferation of food blogs and "how to" sites, well, they exist. (Here are 5 really, really good ones.) Honestly, everything you need to know about cooking exists on the Internet. Any question you want to ask, any dish you want to make, it’s all just a Google search away. And it’s all free. So really, you have no excuse.

3. Cooking is healthy. So you know that cheeseburger you’re scarfing down? I guarantee you that the one you make yourself will have less grease. Not to mention none of the artificial flavoring McDonald’s puts in their food. Cooking for yourself means that you can control ingredients and portion sizes way more easily, and even just getting a close up look at what goes into your food can help you make healthier choices.

4. Cooking is cheaper. If you’re anything like me, you can’t afford to eat out at very many nice places. But you can probably afford to splurge an extra few bucks on a bit of fancy cheese and make yourself a gourmet cheeseburger at home. (I really like cheeseburgers, okay?)

5. Cooking impresses the hell out of people. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to master a few impressive seeming dishes and stun your friends, especially the ones who can’t so much as boil water. And nothing makes friends faster than some good food.