1. Cook for independence.
For most of us, our twenties bring our first experience of fending for ourselves in the big, bad world. It’s the first time many of us have ever really been in charge of ourselves, with no mum, dad or bossy older siblings to stop us from eating a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner. But weeks after weeks of microwaveable “food” and take-away will eventually take their toll. When you’re lethargic and bloated and can’t remember the last time you saw a vegetable, nothing will make you feel quite as together as coming home to a melt-in-your-mouth meal waiting in your slow cooker.
2. Cook for your health.
It’s inevitable that at some point in your twenties you will go through a health revolution. This can range from eating salad a few nights a week, to smugly telling anyone who is polite enough to listen that sugar is, in fact, poison. In any case, at some point you’ll find that many convenient “healthy” options are actually riddled with heaps of salt, sugar and/or horrid, unpronounceable additives. Cooking for yourself is the best way to get familiar with basic nutrition, and a freezer full of homemade stew is always going to be more appealing than a bland “low-cal” microwave dinner.
3. Cook for someone you love.
Henri Nouwan said “The table is one of the most intimate places in our lives.” And he’s right. In every culture, food and bonding go hand in hand. We share food as an act of love or compassion, feed people we want to nurture. Whether it’s your mum, your best friend or your other half, there’s something distinctly warm and fuzzy about seeing someone you love lick their plate clean after you’ve prepared them something special.
4. Cook because you gotta eat, yo.
Unless you plan on living on ready meals and take-out for the rest of your (slightly shorter) life, you’re gonna need to cook eventually! There’s no getting around it. It’s just going to be a necessity at some point. Your twenties are the best time to learn since it’s fairly common that we’re (relatively) commitment and responsibility free at this point in our lives. Once the high-flying jobs and babies come, you’re just not going to have the time or energy to learn – and that’s when you’ll be most grateful that you did! You don’t even have to get particularly fancy with it either. I’m a firm believer that having just one great roast chicken recipe in your repertoire is the easiest way to fake culinary expertise.
5. Cook because food is awesome!
This kind of nullifies the rest of the list. Who doesn’t love food? It is literally life fuel, and when you do it right, it makes you feel warm and happy (and sometimes a little sleepy). Cook for yourself and you’ll get to eat. Don’t you love eating?
Featured image by stavos.nl