I wrote last time about my son’s plan to give me cooking lessons and his probing about why I stopped cooking years ago. If cooking is so important why would I have quit after learning the basic skills? It’s a good question and has stimulated enough thought for several posts.

Eating Out in College
Eating Out in College

While I was an undergrad at the University of Tennessee, I became the cook for my roommate and other friends nearby.  They helped pay for food and I developed several good basic recipes (with my mom’s help): Spaghetti, Ham fried rice and other stir fried dishes, pinto beans, Mac and cheese and corn bread (cost 30 cents/person), some chicken dishes etc…. After completing UT Knoxville, my roommate and I both went to UT’s medical school in Memphis. He asked me if I would keep cooking, but I never got around to it and over the years pretty much lost the skill. So why didn’t I continue? First and foremost, I didn’t think I had time. After a full day of classes and studying in the evening, I didn’t want to plan and prepare an evening meal. But more than that, I didn’t want to have to grocery shop.

Typical Fare If Not Cooking

Typical Fare If Not Cooking

The motive for cooking simply wasn’t strong enough with the only obvious advantage being better food at a cheaper price. At that time, I was clueless about nutrition (which med school did nothing to remedy) and it never occurred to me that cooking allowed healthier eating. If I had understood the effects of unhealthy eating in terms of lack of energy, brain fog and even low mood, I would have been far more motivated to continue. So, please be aware that I understand the difficulties of cooking and do not make light of them.

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A recent newspaper article, in reaction to numerous reports about the fabulous effects of home cooked family meals, argued that the added stress of cooking is, for many, a net negative for their health. I’m sure that is true for some folks, but if a few techniques of efficiency are learned, I’ll argue that the benefits are so large that in most cases it’s well worth it. More on that next time.