Upon attending college, you prepare yourself for some surprises. You know that college isn’t going to be like high school and that a four-year institution isn’t going to be like a community college. College professors will be nothing like what your high school teachers said (well, except for that one professor…we all have one), college food will be interesting to say the least, socializing and going out will be so much different now that you’re independent, and you’ll meet a lot of people who don’t know how to cook.
As it turns out, you don’t magically learn how to cook when you go to college. Unless you’re at culinary school, there isn’t a class in that. That means you meet a lot of people who, in addition to the on-campus food, live off instant ramen, mac and cheese, and whatever else can be quickly nuked up in the microwave or made from frozen in the oven. Not the healthiest of lifestyles, and definitely not the most sustainable, but in a country where eating out is more popular than eating in, knowing how to cook isn’t as essential to one’s survival and health as it used to be.
Does that mean that you should neglect to learn how to cook? No, absolutely not. In fact, it means just the opposite. You should learn how to cook because eating in is better for your health and much cheaper in the long run, and you should learn how to cook when you’re a child.
Granted, not everyone has role models in their life while growing up who can teach them how to cook, but those that do should learn. Why? Because it’s easier to learn how to cook as a child or teenager and have the ability to practice and learn with a parent or guardian than it is to try and teach yourself how to cook from online resources as a stressed, overworked, already-short-on-time college student.
This isn’t to say that you can’t learn how to cook as a college student, because you absolutely can, but the point is that learning how to cook in college is not going to be as easy as learning how to cook at a younger age. If you grew up being involved in the kitchen and learned how to cook as a child, then you know how priceless the experience was. That kind of experience is something to hold onto and remember so that you can someday pass it on to your kids in the future.
If you’re the parent of older kids or teens, then please, for the love of God, teach your kids how to cook. Will they hate it? Maybe. But it's more than likely that they’ll be grateful in the future when they get to college or move out of the house and realize that they don’t have to rely on take-out, pre-made, and microwavable food in order to survive.