8 Reasons Awesome Girls Should Learn To Cook

by | Jul 16, 2012

Photo by erin MC hammer

My post last week 8 Reasons Regular Guys Should Learn To Cook received a tremendous response (thanks for your Diggs and Tweets), but a few people called it out as “sexist.” Gasp!

Though I doubt anyone would have preferred a post titled “8 Reasons Most People Should Learn To Cook,” I’m happy to balance the scorecard.

The reason I called out “regular guys” in the last post is that although the cooking profession is dominated by the Y chromosome, I’ve noticed a general reluctance from the 20-30 year old single men I know to spend much time in the kitchen. Sure most are willing to grill up some meat on occasion, but few consider cooking essential to their man-skills and I wanted to give them reasons to reconsider.

Girls are a different story. I know a few girls who enjoy cooking, and even more who like to bake. But there is also a subset who can’t even boast the grill skills my regular guys have in spades. I know these girls well, because I used to be one.

When I was in college saying I was a “bad cook” would have been generous. I couldn’t cook anything—I even burned water on more than one occasion (pasta FAIL). I couldn’t prepare any food that required more than a can opener and microwave, and fixing these flaws was not high on my priority list.

I only changed my tune when I got to graduate school, became a born again foodie and realized I could no longer afford to eat out in San Francisco on my student salary. Unwilling to sacrifice the quality of food I was eating I forced myself to start shopping at the farmers market and preparing my own meals. This switch changed my life for the better and I would never go back to my kitchen-free days.

But why was I such a brat about it in the first place?

Honestly, I thought I was above cooking. I was busy building my career and had better things to do than slave away in the kitchen, thankyouverymuch. Cooking was for stay-at-home moms, I thought, not for ambitious girls like me. Who has time to be so domestic?

I was a jackass, and have since learned the errors of my ways. This one is for all you awesome girls out there who still don’t know the value of being kitchen savvy.

8 Reasons Awesome Girls Should Learn To Cook

1. It’s still hot

I’m sure you have no trouble attracting men with your intellect, but no matter how smart and beautiful you are guys always melt for a girl who can cook an amazing meal. You may have already gotten into college, but extracurriculars still matter.

2. Cooking makes you beautiful

Nothing is more attractive than a woman who radiates health. Cooking nutritious food at home will give you sparkling eyes, shiny hair, healthy nails and glowing skin.

3. Good food makes you smarter

Junk food creates spikes and dips in blood sugar that make you tired and kill your ability to concentrate. Cooking healthier food at home will give you the focus to stay sharp all day.

4. Cooking is more efficient

Going out may seem quicker because there is no prep or cleanup, but in the long run it actually takes more of your time. Once you have it down, you can make yourself a solo meal and have your kitchen back in working order in about 30 minutes. Win.

5. You’ll save money

Being a girl is expensive. And if you’re the type who likes to splurge on designer brands, every dollar counts. Cooking at home is a great way to save money on food, freeing it up for you to use on other things.

6. It keeps you slim

For myself, eating out is the single biggest factor in how easy it is to lose or maintain my weight. At home you have complete control over everything you eat, and when you cook healthy foods this works to your advantage.

7. You might one day be a mom

You may have your eye on the prize today, but if you ever plan to raise a family your life will be a lot easier if you pick up some kitchen skills beforehand. Processed foods are bad for you and even worse for kids. Plan ahead for your future healthy family.

8. You might love it

Cooking is like art and science all rolled into one. It allows you to build skills, be creative, de-stress and when you’re finished you have a wonderful and delicious product to enjoy (and show off on Instagram). Cooking is more mentally stimulating than I ever imagined, and it is worth exploring for its own sake.

Why do you amazing ladies like to cook?

Originally published June 15, 2011.

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21 Responses to “8 Reasons Awesome Girls Should Learn To Cook”

  1. I agree with all 8! Especially #8 – it actually relaxes me to come home and create something after a long day at work.

  2. julie says:

    I find some sort of self-satisfaction from being able to feed myself, and I was like you at one time. I could run a toaster oven, and a microwave, what more is there to know? Then I discovered farmers markets, and learned how good fruits and veggies can taste. I like to cook my own food, because I like to control my ingredients. My veggies have flavor, don’t need to be covered in fat and salt to be edible (not that I don’t like fat and salt). I get to make it how I like it. While I do love it, sometimes it is a pain in butt, and does take time and effort, but if I eat out all the time like I used to, I would become obese again, and quickly.

  3. Tracy says:

    I am fortunate that I was raised by a mom who was a decent stay-at-home mom type cook and a dad who was a weekends/holidays gourmet cook. I learned much of what I know from being sous chef for my dad (frustrating at the time, but I appreciate the experience now.) I enjoy cooking for myself and enjoy healthy, quickly prepared breakfasts, lunches and dinners most nights.

    But I have to say, I am MOST thankful for my excellent cooking skills for reason #1. The times I am most proud is when my uber-appreciative boyfriend has just finished one of my dinners. He showers me with praise about how amazing a cook I am. He talks about how NONE of his friend’s girlfriends cook at all and how it makes me stand out.

    People may thinks it’s old fashioned, but it makes me feel great to see him so happy with what I’ve created. I also get the same enjoyment out of cooking for friends and family, I just don’t do that as often as I do for him. [And for the record, I have a great career and a graduate degree...he appreciates my intelligence too, and I think, for him, it makes my cooking skills even sexier.]

    • Nichole says:

      It is so satisfying when a signifigant other says “mmmm” when taking a bite of your food. My husband stopped complimenting me after a while. I asked why and he said, “you know I think it’s great, and you know it’s great, no need to be redundant.” lol! I’m more humble than that, but it was a nice compliment.

      • Tracy says:

        Ha! That’s so funny. :) I’m sure it would slow down after marriage. I just think it’s funny because he goes on and on each and every time. Smart on his part, since it encourages me to do it more often!

  4. Nichole says:

    I love cooking (and baking, too)! There is always something new to learn. I’m slowly trying to add more and more veggies to the mix. I agree with everything in this post!

    I’d also add that cooking your own food also helps keep your weight healthy while pregnant. I hardly EVER ate out and only gained 27 lbs.

  5. Ok first of all, no self-deprecation please Darya you are not (and most likely never have been) a jackass! Just wanted to get that out of the way, it’s the mom in me(but I won’t tell you to stand up straight:) )

    Second: Why do I like to cook? Easy. Because I like to eat :D

  6. trudy says:

    I’m approaching 60 and I’ve always enjoyed cooking. When I was younger, newly married, it gave me a thrill to “create” something really tasty. Then as we had children (and our budget was very small) it was a challenge to see what I could plan that was tasty as well as healthful. I grew up a city girl and was never around a garden or farmer’s market at that time. I don’t remember seeing any established farmer’s market but anyway when I married, my husband enjoyed teaching me about country life and gardening. I enjoyed it and love the food! I found books at the library and from the extension office and taught myself how to can and freeze. Even now we don’t have the space anymore to garden but I know my local farmers and love to put up food. Nothing’s better!

  7. M2 says:

    As usual, Darya…brilliant work here. I’m mystified by why more women don’t cook – I’ve known very few in my adult life … and a few I even taught to cook myself!

  8. Satu says:

    And food simply tastes better when you prepare it yourself! Nowadays it’s hard for me to use frozen veggies because they just aren’t the same as fresh ones (I use them because they’re cheaper…).

    Also there’s something very safistying in cooking. I think it’s because I spend so much time at the computer that I crave for something tangible to do.

    I’m a bored cook though, because I only cook for myself! :-)

  9. Shelley Esson says:

    Cooking is my therapy: a way to shake off the day, focus on simple elements and bring the benefits of my gardening into my home. My seven year old is a picky eater now, but as long as I can fill the house with those rich aromas and show how much joy I get from preparing and eating a delicous meal I know he is bound to follow the path to kitchen happiness one day.

  10. brynn says:

    I enjoyed both this article, and the Guys version as well. Being able to cook totally saves money, tastes better and is healthier.

    Now I’m no feminist, but I think number 7 is awful. You might be a mom, and when you are a mom, you need to provide healthily for your family. There is absolutely no reason that point shouldn’t be present on the guys list as well [of course, replaced with dad]. Number 2 on the guys list mentions being able to feed oneself without a drive thru, but no mention of providing for a family. I know plenty of men who do the family cooking.

    Sorry, I just had to say that. It was irking me. I of course know that you didn’t mean it to be sexist, and I don’t expect an apology nor an addition to the guys article nor an omission from the girls article. I feel bad pointing it out because of the sexism comments that stemmed this article, but I’m sorry, I just had to.

    • Darya Pino says:

      No worries, it’s a valid point. I just was writing this with specific people in mind (for this one, it was my former self), and I was trying to get inside their heads. By no means does a list like this apply to everyone.

  11. This is so great, Darya – I cook (and started cooking) for all those reasons. I grew up with parents who cooked, so I had an advantage in watching them in the kitchen, but I started cooking in earnest in graduate school, where I found it to be 1) an inexpensive way to feed myself better and 2) a relaxing hobby. I got away from it when I was a practicing lawyer, got back in earnest after my first cancer diagnosis and after adopting our daughter. Now, I’m a full-on dedicated home cook, besotted with whole foods and healthful eating and thrilled to create delicious meals for friends & family. And my husband *does* think it’s hot!

  12. Dee says:

    Darya,
    I rarely cooked, until it dawned on me that I was overweight and lazy… So now I cook for reasons 1-7 only…(I find it’s a chore).

    And do you remember that old adage? – ‘the only way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ it’s proven to be true!

    • Dee says:

      Also, i would add that cooking for yourself gives you a sense of security

      - sounds a bit primal…. But before I was an Everyday Cook I used to impulsively buy snacks and cakes and food and eat especially when I’m stressed

      I’ve realized off late I have developed ‘anorexia nervousa’ since I started to prepare my meals at home… I head to price smart(=Costco)- and stock up on extra food – dried fruit prunes, apricots, nuts etc…. Just having food in the house all around me (and not in my stomach) gives that sense of security keeps me full …

  13. krissy knox says:

    Hi Darya! Just found your blog, and I love it! I’ll have to put it in my google reader!

    Anyway, I originally began to cook bc my husband John and I couldn’t eat processed food, very often, bc of our health issues. I have diabetes, and he is in Stage 3 Kidney Disease as well as a blood cancer Survivor of 3 different blood cancers. John is in complete remission, now, from all 3 blood cancers, praise the Lord! But, bc of all the complications he acquired from the bone marrow transplant he had to put the cancers in remission, he now needs me to cook for him in a very special way, and that way is to cook him unprocessed foods. And my diabetes meals must be made w unprocessed foods also. Neither of us can eat your typical boxed, pre-packaged, canned, salted, etc. meals / foods from the store. So I make unprocessed meals.

    The next reason I began to take on cooking more seriously was I wanted to make attempts to make our processed food taste more delicious, or even more palatable, LOL. For example, unprocessed chicken can taste great. But w/o a sauce or spices, it can taste bland, and even very dry. Now when it’s overcooked to boot, as well as without sauce, it can, well, taste almost as hard as a brick, LOL. So I decided, for no other reason than I no longer wanted to serve my husband (and myself, for that matter) hard, dry, yucky tasting, pretty unpalatable food, I had better learn to cook better, LOL. Now my husband John did have severe diet restrictions due to his severe kidney dysfunction, and a deathly milk allergy. So I had to figure out how to get creative. Just how COULD I make that chicken breast tastier? So I let my creativity flow, and began to try different things, using ingredients John and I BOTH could eat. Spices often did the trick, and if I wanted to make the chicken (or fish, beef, etc) even tastier, as well as juicier, I’d sometimes make a sauce for it. I began to experiment, and to make the sauces, I’d use one or more of the following ingredients, for example (and this list isn’t complete): spices, low sodium chicken broth, lemon or lime juice, worchestershire sauce, orange juice, raspberry jelly, mustard, cranberry sauce, homemade salad dressing, vinegar, homemade bar b que sauce, homemade taco seasoning spices, fresh tomatoes and their juice, apple sauce, soup stocks adding a pinch of flour to them to thicken them, apple juice, blackberry jelly, olive oil etc. Then a lot of these ingredients, singly or mixed together, and then added to another liquid to further moisten if nec. (ie apple juice will work, for example), will taste even better if caramelized onions and mushrooms are added to them. After the sauce is boiled it can be added atop the chicken, or instead, without the sauce ever being boiled, can be placed atop the chicken (or fish) before placing the chicken breast (or fish) in the oven to bake it, and the chicken comes out FANTASTIC. Fish (esp cod) comes out even better than chicken when done in the often sitting in a delicious sauce! — esp something like a lemon and/or orange, olive oil, and worchestershire sauce. Yummy! Add a starch such as rice or noodles, and a cruciferous veggie (like broccoli) and you have a bang up meal!

    Okay, so I guess cooking just went on getting better as I became better and better at it! I love the creativity of it, as you stated. Yes, it’s extremely intellectually stimulating and creative, LOL. Had I used recipes to make the dishes I named above? No and no and no! Do I use recipes now? Occasionally, yes, I’ll go look up something online, or browse through recipes. Often no. Because I want to see if I can figure something out, LOL. Even if I do, I put my own twist on the recipe and figure out how I WANT it to taste. Know why? I want it to taste good, and the way my family likes it! Know why else? I’m extremely competitive when I’m creative, LOL. That’s why I don’t want to copy a recipe I see. I want to see if I can create my own concoction, LOL. Even if it’s something already invented. I want to make my own twist on it, or at least try to make it myself, figuring out how to make it w/o reading any directions, LOL. So the answer I’m giving you right now about why I love to cook is — It’S CREATIVE and I’m COMPETITIVE, LOL. And, I guess I WANT TO SEE WHAT I’M CAPABLE OF. I want to see what I can do, LOL. And I’m kind of proud of what I CAN do. Yes, IT GIVES ME SELF-ESTEEM.

    ok, i guess i gave you more information than you asked for, LOL. but then, they are all my answers of why i like to cook. i did over explain, however. so sorry. this is what happens when a verbose person happens, LOL. oy vey. so sorry. but thanks so much for letting me answer the question. :) :)

    krissy knox :)
    my Twitter: http://twitter.com/krissyknox
    want to be friends on FB? http://www.facebook.com/krissyknox

  14. Dee says:

    Cooking for yourself is a chance to burn extra calories … Vs drive thru…..

  15. La Tun says:

    I love this. This is so true. I just love cooking (and baking too). It makes me feel good about myself. Putting ingredients together and having a delicious product in the end is simply awesome. I enjoy cooking for the people I love. I do believe that women should know how to cook. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 2013 or 1813, women should simply have cooking skills.

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