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I see it all around me: young adults drooling over Pinterest, saving magnificent recipes to their boards in the hopes of one day making the #goals meal that they will post all over social media (mainly Instagram, because, let's be real, the foodie community on Instagram is HUGE.) They turn to their friend and say, "Make this for me and I'll love you forever!" They'll share these countless recipes with their mother, who will likely make for them because that's their baby right there and they'd do anything for their baby.
In essence, though, that's the problem: we've gotten into the habit of calling our adult children our "babies" and have thus treated them as such. The problem with all of these young adults pinning these recipes to their boards is the mere fact that they don't know how to cook the meals, nor will they likely learn anytime soon. Their parents never taught them how.
A conversation between me and a friend of mine comes to mind whenever I think of our generational obsession over food. This particular conversation stemmed from her wanting to do something special for her boyfriend for their one-year anniversary, but on a budget, since they were broke college students. I offered up the idea of making him a home-cooked meal, nothing pre-made, pre-packaged, etc. It had to be a meal that you would have to store leftovers for later. She then told me that she wasn't exactly skilled at cooking, that she could cook something, but nothing major enough for an anniversary dinner.
When she told me this, my heart broke. I wasn't sure if it was the fact that I came from a predominantly southern family and so cooking was the one skill that all of us women were taught, or if it was because of the fact that in my mind young adults should know how to cook something.
When we think about cooking, we don't necessarily think about cooking for ourselves, but for others. As young adults, we talk all the time about how we should get together to have dinner or hosting simple dinner parties. We center our entire lives around food and eating it with the people we hold closest to our hearts. Our entire culture as millennials and young adults, in general, is centered around food. We talk about the way young women are obsessed with eating food, and how women will be hangry (really, really pissy when we're even just a little bit hungry) if they don't have their 'round-the-clock meals seven times a day. We talk about Taco Tuesday, and Thirsty Thursday, and every other meal-related day of the week, but we don't talk about how we're going to accomplish those meals on those days.
Young people should know how to cook. This is a simple yet profound reality that many haven't quite grasped yet. You should know how to cook at least two meals: one fancy, sit down, romantic dinner, and a comfort meal. You should know how to fix more than toast and cereal for breakfast. You should know how to properly make a meal to not only feed yourself but to feed others.
My reasons are many, but my greatest reason is simple: the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
Now, I'm not saying that women should learn how to cook to appease a man, nor am I saying that only women should fill this role. However, I am saying that the phrase stems from a place of nurturing and wanting to feel cared for. The way to any person's heart is through their stomach because the very act of cooking a warm, wholesome meal is in itself an act of love and affection. Because I learned how to cook from the time I was twelve, my soon-to-be husband has proudly proclaimed on many occasions that he will never starve the rest of his life, mainly because I wouldn't let him.
Whatever your reason for not learning to cook or for not having learned to cook up to this point, know one thing for certain: eating a frozen dinner or a pack of ramen will get so boring so fast. You are going to find yourself bored with food in general if you don't continuously learn how to cook. At this point in your life, there is truly no excuse for you to not have learned how to cook something. Go to a person in your life who is a great cook and ask them (politely) to teach you how to cook. Don't know anyone? YouTube is a great resource for learning proper cooking techniques as well as mastering dishes.
Learn how to cook something. Not only will your relationships benefit from you mastering culinary skills, but your own stomach will!
Oh, and by the way, my friend ended up cooking her boyfriend a baked spaghetti meal and they both thought it was wonderful.