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Knowing How To Cook Saves Your Life In More Ways Than One

This applies to both men and women. Cooking a meal yourself not only ensures the ingredients you use are of optimal quality but also helps you unwind.

By Nandita Iyer
New Update
cooking

If you are a high-flying CEO or a corporate executive, it is very easy to dismiss cooking as a low-rung menial task that has no place in your life, given all the important things that are vying for your attention. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

Knowing how to cook is an essential life skill and the key to good health. 

Cooking is more than just preparing food. Buying ingredients like fresh produce and groceries, making sure they are stocked in optimum conditions, planning the meals around these ingredients so that they are used while fresh, refrigerating, or freezing leftovers, and cleaning up after are just some aspects that make home cooking a daunting affair. This is your cue to thank whoever is managing this entire show for you at home. If that is you, then you will agree with all that this column is about. 

So, what are the reasons that make this entire process worth it?

Quality Control

Having complete control over the food you eat is the biggest investment you can make towards your health. Some listings on the food delivery apps have such low-priced meals that ordering in every day could seem cheaper than having to buy groceries, cook and run a kitchen at home. But most of these listings are from cloud kitchens which, to get higher margins often compromise on hygiene and quality of food. 

I was once in the kitchen of a high-end restaurant in Bengaluru for a workshop and the oil in their fryer was black. If this is the case with an expensive restaurant, you can only imagine the cost-cutting measures in a cloud kitchen. 

Cooking at home is a conscious choice for your well-being, allowing you to prioritise quality. Opting for fresh, seasonal produce and high-quality fats ensures that your meals provide essential nutrients for a healthy lifestyle. This approach avoids subjecting your body to the negative impacts of empty calories, excessive sodium, and trans fats that are often found in processed foods.

Some of you might think, “But I can hire a cook! What’s the need to know how to cook?” I have an interesting story to share here. After 18 years of cooking 3 meals a day, I finally hired a cook to save time during the day. I decided not to breathe down his neck for the first couple of weeks and give him the freedom to cook the way he does. Both salt and oil consumption went out of whack. The one litre of oil that I would use for a month or so was running out in a week. High-quality steel pans were all blackened due to cooking continuously on a very high flame. 

When you know how to cook, you will understand how to guide your cook on planning meals and cooking healthier.

A surefire tip that works is to measure out the oil and salt for the day for your family’s needs and tell the cook to use only that much for all of the day’s meals. At this point, your cook will either be fed up with you or be happy to have learnt some techniques in healthier cooking.

Mindfulness, Multitasking And Equality

Cooking isn't just an act; it's a mindset. It cultivates mindfulness about what you put into the pan and into your body. Cooking can also be a great way to unwind after a busy, crazy week — chopping vegetables, crushing fragrant herbs or stirring a pot of dal can provide a much-needed stress release.

If your job doesn't often tap into your creative side, cooking offers a chance to let your imagination run wild. This creative diversion from work can lead to fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to professional challenges. Transforming a handful of ingredients into a delicious meal is an empowering feeling of being in control.

Cooking four dishes on the four gas burners simultaneously is an exercise in multitasking like no other. Feeding the right ingredients to each pot, monitoring the cooking temperature, and stage of cooking of each dish and making sure none of them is burnt, oversalted or under-spiced is a massive talent that is completely underappreciated. This trait comes in use in other similar situations at work. 

I will also risk sticking out my neck and saying that most Indian men consider cooking as a trait women are born with and therefore treat it as a female chore, that they either choose to ignore or ‘help’ with. If you are a man, spending time in the kitchen and doing your share of the cooking and the chores associated with it puts into action your beliefs in gender equality. 

Showing That You Care

In the materialistic times we live in, when everything is available with a tap on the app, giving your time and energy to people is the best way to show that you care for them. 

Cooking simple meals for your family, planning a menu and cooking for a party you are throwing for friends, cooking along with your kids, cooking for potential business partners (why not?) – all of this shows that you care enough about these people to spend the time planning and cooking for them. I’ve always enjoyed cooking for my house parties. Even though preparing food for a large number of people is an anxiety-fraught experience most of the time, the satisfaction of serving food that I’ve prepared to loved ones works like a soothing balm at the end of it. 

Most importantly, everyone loves a significant other who can cook. 

The benefits of cooking extend far beyond just providing sustenance. Cooking at home saves money, reduces waste generation from take-outs and provides a safe, reliable way to ensure your food meets your dietary restrictions or allergies.

Cooking is more than a task; it is a path to better health, a gesture of care, and a way to break stereotypes. So, whether you're a busy CEO or a college student, don't underestimate its power. Embrace the kitchen, for it holds the key to a healthier, more connected life. Cooking saves your life in more ways than one.

ALSO READ: From Chai To Cappuccino: Exploring the Growing Coffee Culture and Preferences in India

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