The Perils of Learning to Cook Well

Caitlin Taylor
6 min readApr 4, 2020

Cooking is a mystery to those of us who grew up thinking that cakes come from boxes. Turning things (ingredients) you have in your house into other things (food) is best left to the cooking wizards who possess this type of magic.

The problem with having one of these wizards in your immediate family is that you get used to eating well. Sure, chili from a can is fast. But spending a lazy Sunday making a giant pot of chili is both a fun way to spend the day with someone and infinitely better. Plus, you can freeze most of it to reheat later (just as easy as from a can.)

It doesn’t take much for the average person to be impressed with your cooking. (The notable exceptions are your friends/family who have worked in/owned restaurants — you’ll never impress them, give up now.)

A few recipes you like to repeatedly make plus handy-dandy YouTube videos means you’re on your way to being that dude that people love to invite to potlucks.

But it’s a rough start.

You’ll discover traps like:

  • Don’t knead bread wearing nail polish
  • Sharp knives work better, but you won’t know you’ve cut yourself until you’ve “seasoned” the food
  • What is a proofing drawer, and why don’t they come standard on ovens?
  • Cat hair defies gravity and can be found anywhere

The real trap is the first time you create something that surprises you. You aren’t sure what you did, but it’s delicious. Then you’re hooked.

(Perk: your salt consumption goes down. Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. One of the steps your doctor may suggest is reducing your sodium intake**.)

However, there are perils of cooking well. It’s not that everyone will ask you to make something for the school bake sale. That’s just an excuse to bake way too much — one for me, one for the bake sale. You get it.

(Perk 2: It’s cheaper in many cases. A giant pot of marinara you can freeze will run you less than those bottles of premade stuff.)

The worst part is the restaurants you used to love will let you down. The Olive Garden was my favorite place to go…

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Caitlin Taylor

Ghostwriter and blogger for businesses all over the world.