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The most essential duty of food is sustenance. It is to us what gas is to a car, or any other uncreative metaphors late-night writing sessions produce. (Water to a water mill?) However, the role food plays in our lives should not stop there. What we eat should do more than just meet its basic duty. It should be a creative expression, as energizing as it is delectable.
Instead of cracking that fourth Costco pack of mac-and-cheese this week, or, even worse, having cereal for dinner, pick up a knife and chop a vegetable! Working for your food will heap the returns of more than a satisfied belly, but a satisfied life.
That box of mac may be easy, and it may be quick. In a brief moment of weakness, it may even taste good. (Don’t be fooled, it’s all sodium.) But life shouldn’t be filled with the quick, easy, sub-par options. Cook some real pasta and cheese and not only taste a more delectable dish but experience food that will become part of a better you.
No matter how much sugar, salt and fat (the magic recipe) a company can cram into their microwaveable “food,” nothing will beat the satisfaction of cooking. Things like the meditative act of sharpening the chef’s blade, the rhythmic motion of a fine chop and the aroma of sautéed onions are experiences that create a fully satisfied belly and mind. The basics are simple, and cooking quickly becomes second nature in a daily routine.
Furthermore, the pen may be mightier than the sword in fighting corporate power, but best of all is a kitchen knife. The mass produced food I see in the cupboards and trash bins of college kitchens breaks my heart. Packaged crap stuffed with unpronounceable chemicals, scraps of old veggies and meat straight from the discard lines. Break the corporate-dictatorship over food and cook something that you know is fresh, you know is wholesome and you know will be delicious.
Whether it is as little as one meal a week, or as much as baking fresh bread every morning, skills you hone in the kitchen are skills you can use for life. What is more impressive than a well cooked meal? You will even save money on dates by cooking meals yourself!
Cooking real food will also save you money in your daily life. Food only gets cheaper the less it is processed; a bag of flour may cost the same three dollars as a loaf of store-bought bread, yet that flour can give you 15 loaves to enjoy.
To many, cooking can be daunting, time-consuming and frustrating. But with a little planning and some basic skills, you can replace Kraft with your own recipe of delectable curry flavored cheesy pasta. Swap wonder bread with fresh bread. (It isn’t that hard.) And instead of dining on a $10 bowl of rice and veggies from The Corner, cook your own, and, dare I say, cook it better.
The most important thing I know about food was taught to me by the best chef I know: all you need is good ingredients and love. You can thank my mother for that one.
To learn how to change your life for the better, with better food, check out my new cooking column, Buffs in the Kitchen.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Staff Writer Jackson Barnett at email@example.com.