Sunday, December 2, 2012

This Relationship Corner: Now You're Cooking!

A lot of people wonder what they could do to be more attractive. Far too many people focus solely on the physical side to the equation. And while you should make an effort to look your best, be well groomed, not smell terrible, you can't just focus on appearances. You also need to focus on what you bring to the table besides cleaning up nicely. This is why you need to know how to cook.

This isn't an option skill set in your life. You can't be the kind of person who always goes out and never cooks, because that's not how life works anymore. Even if you happen to be very rich and can afford to pay people to cook, even if you get married straight out of high school and move from your parents' house to your spouse's, you still need to know the basics of cooking. It's not just about survival, it's integral in shaping your character.

Cooking is more than just preparing food to be eaten. True, that's a large part of it, but learning to cook teaches you many valuable life skills. It teaches you how to follow directions, and often learning any skill starts with just doing it repeatedly. However, cooking is more than just rote memorization, you also learn how to improvise and take the basic foundation of the meal and make it your way. Successful cooks see a recipe as a general guide and then go from there.

Cooking teaches you, among other things, how to make do without a key ingredient or improvise when something goes wrong. You also learn how to muti-task when prepping a meal with several dishes, each one with their own prep and cooking time. You learn how to schedule and maximize your time so you get the meal finished as quickly and efficiently as possible. Finally, you learn how to overcome failure and be better the next time around. You might take a bold risk and fall on your face, but that's just an opportunity to be better next time.

Yes, this is a big life metaphor. Some people might say they learned all their big life lessons from kindergarten, but I think cooking has just as many lessons to offer. Remember, part of being in a relationship is being the best version of yourself possible, and learning to cook will help you reach your potential.

Of course, cooking isn't just about the great life lessons. It's also about being able to cook, and that's definitely a valuable asset you bring to the table. No matter who you are, the ability to cook is always a plus in any relationship. Here's why.

First, it shows your potential mate that you aren't helpless. Helplessness is adorable in newborns, kittens, an puppies. It is not nearly as cute in grown adults. In fact, I would consider it a deal-breaker. When you can't cook, you are telling prospective partners that they are auditioning to be your live-in help, your personal cook, and possibly butler, maid, valet, and everything else under the sun. Unless this person really wants to devote his/her entire life to caring for your helpless butt, you'll find that your relational appeal doesn't last too long.

Cooking is more than just reassuring your partner that you can feed (and presumably dress) yourself, it's also a great romantic gesture. if you are low on funds, you can save a lot of money by cooking yourself and having a romantic meal at home. If it's not an issue of finances, then your act of cooking shows you investing something far more valuable than money: your time. The fact that you spent several hours, if not an entire day, cooking just to make them happy is a grand gesture that never gets old.

Finally, there's something to be said for a person who can leap into action and whip up a quick, nutritious, and tasty meal. Since eating is something you do every day (and if this isn't the case you have some bigger issues to deal with) you can't rely on just one of you to take care of that particular need. Any good system has redundancy, so that if one of you is sick, working late, or currently keeping the children from sticking crayons places they ought not go, the other can make sure that no one goes hungry.

There is no excuse to not knowing how to cook. However, I understand that this can be an intimidating prospect. I found myself very intimidated the first time I lived on my own and realized that the only way that stove and oven were going to work was if I used them myself. (Which is why I wound up in the McDonalds drive-thru lane more often than I'd like to admit.)

Those first forays into the culinary arts were not my best work,and the fact that I didn't accidentally poison myself was a minor miracle. I still shudder remembering my first few attempts at spaghetti and meat sauce, and it was something I wouldn't even serve to my greatest enemy. (Mainly because he would simply point and laugh the entire time.)

I kept at it. Eventually I got pretty good at a few meals, as I made them over and over until I got them right. Then I added more and more and more to my repertoire. When I got married, my wife taught me even more recipes. Now, I'm very comfortable in a kitchen and can make the simplest scrambled eggs to some pretty impressive dishes.

That's why my wife and I have a tradition for her birthday. She goes through our cookbooks, or any other cookbooks she can find, chooses whatever meal sounds great, and I make it for her. It's a great tradition, especially since it lets us try out new recipes, some of which wind up in our regular meal rotation. I like being able to make that kind of gesture.

As you can see, if you don't know how to cook, this is why you need to learn. I know it's an intimidating prospect, but I can help you with some basic steps. It may take some time, some trials, and a lot of error, but you can do it.

The first thing you should try to make is something straight out of a box or a bag. Just read the directions, follow them exactly, and see how it turns out. You might also try your hand at baking, whether it's cakes, brownies, muffins, or cookies. The whole point is to get a feel for it.

After that, try a few recipes. You can find them in cookbooks or online. (This website has plenty to choose from.) Start with a simple one and then try to get a little more advanced. Eventually you'll get comfortable enough with them that you'll start doing them your own way, making alterations or additions where you see fit. That's when you discover the joy of cooking, when you begin to create your own signature dishes.

If you need more help, you can always try Cooking Basics for Dummies, and if you have Food Network watch Good Eats as much as possible. Watching Pixar's Ratatouille wouldn't hurt either.

If nothing else, you need to read this article on what beginning cooks do to screw up their meals. It will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Cooking is a life skill that you need in your arsenal. You don't have to be as fancy as a five-star chef, just someone who knows their way around a kitchen. Your life, and your relationships, will go a lot better when you know how to cook and are willing to do so when needed.Plus, you'll get to spend all day in a "Kiss the Cook" apron, and who doesn't want that?

Previous Relationship Corners

No comments:

Post a Comment