Cooking at Home Saves Money and Not Only

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Last week there was a question on “Family Feud,” “What increases in the US every year?” As a college girl concerned with student savings, I immediately thought, “food prices.” They do go up every year, month by month, and not only in the United States, but all over the world. To fight the battle “empty stomach” vs “your skinny wallet,” you should learn simple home-cooking recipe in order to save some money on groceries.

And I am not going to give you any recipes, as everyone is different and our food preferences may have nothing in common. I love to have farina for breakfast, and I know many people hate it, especially if it’s made with water instead of milk. As for me, I can make it with water, and I enjoy it. It’s filling, it’s healthy and it tastes even better if you drop some fresh fruit into the bowl once the cereal is ready to be served.

What I am going to do, though, is to give you five reasons why cooking at home is a useful skill for anybody, no matter if you are a woman or a man, if you are rich and can afford eating at new restaurants every day or poor feeding at McDonalds seven days a week.

Reason 1. When you cook, you know what you are eating. With homemade food, you don’t have to worry about food allergies. You know exactly what you drop in that pot, and the most pleasant thing is: you can make things that you like. If you are a fan of beets, put them into everything you eat, and you will enjoy everything you eat. Yes, it’s as simple as that.

For that reason, I believe that one day when I become rich and famous (hopefully, for my writing), I will get a cook to make great food for me at home. I don’t care if the cook will spoil me with fancy dishes or simply serve me spaghetti and meatballs or grilled cheese sandwiches, food that I can get in any diner, as long as there will always be fresh ingredients and the dishes of my choice.

Reason 2. It does save money. If restaurants would not use same ingredients for many dishes, they would have long gone out of business. It’s cheaper to buy one lobster and make a dinner for two than to order your meal from a nearby diner, even if they offer a student discount for their lunch or dinner. A five-pound bag of potatoes costs you $3-4 on average, same as a side of French fries made from frozen. However, you can cook at least two meals from the five-pound bag (if you eat a lot), and French fries are only good for the minute they are served until they cool off.

Reason 3. Cooking encourages you to socialize. I hate to cook for myself. I seldom make meals for one person. I prefer to get some friends over or to share my food with my roommate. Therefore, when there is nobody to split my dinner with, I order take out and eat fattening and unhealthy pizza, paninis and what not. Therefore, organize other people to eat with you. If you have roommates, cook together. It helps to generate original ideas and to become closer with them. If you live alone, talk to other students from your college about taking turns and getting together to cook and eat. You can even use these evenings to study for the common classes you have and to gather useful information from your peers.

Reason 4. There are no germs but your own ones when you cook at home. We had a class discussion on food once, and someone mentioned seeing a cook checking the temperature of the soup by means of dipping his finger into it. Most of my classmates were disgusted by it, but the teacher objected that everyone uses hands when cooking (meaning at home). As far as I’m concerned, I would like to know where he put his finger before he dipped it into the soup, and in home cooking you know exactly how clean your hands were and how long that chicken stayed out of the refrigerator. I don’t remember any time when I got food poisoning eating at home. Do you?

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Reason 5. Learning how to cook prepares you for having your own family. And this is not only for women. I remember oily and juicy “potato chips” my grandfather used to make for me and my little cousin when we were kids. My grandfather died in 2004, and in addition to my childhood memories and all the warm feelings I have for him, there is also the mouth-watering taste of “potato chips” that reminds me how well he could cook. One day you would be that mom or dad, grandpa or grandma, who cooks the most authentic… you name it!

So when the question comes up again on “Family Feud,” I’d like someone to answer, “What increases every year in the United States is the amount of people cooking at home,” and hopefully, the obesity amongst adults and children in this country will, on the contrary, decrease.

Ekaterina Lalo

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