When I opened my 12-piece cookware set of pots and pans this Christmas and was filled with joy and excitement, I was forced to admit to myself that I was growing up. There was a time when anything short of getting video games or Lego for Christmas was a disappointment and I must admit I feel a little sour that I haven't had any new Lego to play with in years, but now my interests seem to be shifting.
Thinking on it, it doesn't seem odd at all that a malnourished student like myself has become tired of skipping breakfast, lunching on one of the seven meals that I've deemed worthy from MacHall and having Hamburger Helper or some other meal-in-a-box for my supper. As a species we need to eat pretty often to keep ourselves moving, what better practice to get acquainted with than cookery?
I've always been of the opinion that if you can read, you can cook and while I realize the two practices are not entirely compatible-- an armless man might take issue with that statement -- if you can do the former than you ought to be able to figure out the latter. Cookbooks and recipes are everywhere. The Internet is loaded with different combinations of ingredients and cooking methods that lead to an extreme variety of ways we can ingest the animals we slaughter and the vegetables we harvest. The best part is that all you need to know to get the information off of these pages and onto your plate is literacy (and arms)!
Yet we don't seem interested. We're all too busy and are presented with a cornucopia of quick alternatives. I'm well aware that I'm not the first person who's advocating that you watch what you eat, but while others might suggest that you do this in order to stay healthy or to eat greener or more humanely, I suggest that you do it simply because it's fun and it tastes great. The flavours and smells that you can discover when you're chopping up some fresh herb that you've never heard about before or crushing up some previously unknown seeds are fantastic.
There are other benefits as well, of course, like being able to know exactly what goes into what you're eating. You don't have to be content with the boxed selection of pizzas that are available in the freezer or the selection of soups sitting in the aisle. So much is already decided for us when it comes to our lives. Sure, we have choices, but it's usually confined to a designated selection of five or seven varieties that sell the best. It's easy to break away from the straitjacket of the boxed dinner and, with a little faith and a little patience, there can be no food that is beyond your craftsmanship.
But if all this isn't enough to convince you, then consider the travesty of losing these recipes for the next generations. If we compare how many of our peers know how to make pasta from scratch or a chicken stock that didn't come from a dried cube to what our moms and dads know, I'm certain there would be a large disparity. We take our boxed-up foods for granted and so, with the new year having arrived, I challenge you all to cook something you previously thought out of your capacity. Chances are it's not as hard as you thought.