The other day my brother was sitting at the kitchen table (which is actually a patio table… #studentlife) and he was eating some sort of store brand potato salad out of a plastic tub. That stuff is why I was always afraid of potato salad. It doesn’t even look real. So anyways, of course I had to ask why he didn’t just make his own potato salad. His answer? Why make it when you can buy it. Now, I’m not here to throw my little bro under the bus, but this got me thinking. This is the culture we live in. When we need something, our first thought is to just go out and buy it. This is why the majority of what is in the grocery store is pre-packaged and processed and ready to mindlessly consume.
I will be the first to admit, I have not always cooked. I used to eat Lean Cuisines at almost every single meal. And even nowadays, I don’t make every meal or food product myself. Sometimes you just need to grab a rotisserie chicken or Chipotle and call it a night. However, I do try to make a majority of what I eat at home. But why? Why make it when you can buy it? I’ve put some thought into it, and all I can give you is why I try to make it instead of buy it.
- I want to know what is in my food. I mean really know. Sure, anyone can read the ingredient list, but that doesn’t mean you understand what each of those things are and how they act in your body. That’s what I want to know. I don’t want to be another blind consumer. I want to know!!!
- I want to appreciate my food. This may sound weird, but I think it is so, so important. When I spend the time and energy preparing a food, I appreciate the result so much more than if I had just handed over $5 and shoveled it in my mouth. Food is an amazing thing, the way it can either nourish our bodies or harm them, and I think it is important to slow down and truly appreciate that.
- Making meals connects me with where my food comes from. Buying foods in their whole forms, especially from a farmer, really makes me think about what it takes to get the food to me, the consumer. The process of growing and harvesting, followed by transport. I think it is very important that we become more aware of this if we hope to create a more sustainable agricultural system, because the conventional system we’ve got going on now is far from being sustainable.
- Making meals connects me with people. One of the things my fiancé and I love to do together, more than going out for a meal, is cooking something together. Sometimes we have competitions, like who can make the best fish taco, and other times we just create something new together. There’s just something about cooking together that brings you closer!
If you don’t already make food at home on a regular basis, I encourage you to give it a chance (and no, trying something once or twice is not giving it a chance). If you already do, why do you do it?