I don’t think anyone can go a day without thinking about food.
From Five Points to the Vista, not to mention the number of dining options on campus, it would be hard-pressed to say that there is a shortage of good food in Columbia. That said, there is a great cost involved with going out to eat or being on a meal plan, which is why you should consider learning how to cook in college.
Cooking is a great skill to learn, not only if you are in college, but in general. There is a flow to preparing your own meals and creating dishes that cannot be mimicked through fast food. There is also a satisfaction in preparing a meal perfectly and being able to cook for other people.
If you want to impress your significant other, surprise them with a home-cooked meal; they will really appreciate that you went out of your way to cook for them and will be impressed with your cooking skills. There is also a cultural element to cooking, in which you embrace other cultures by making a culture's dish, which in turn passes down traditions and breaks cultural barriers.
When you shop for your own groceries, you have more dietary options than you would if you went out to eat. Unfortunately, there is limited options for people with alternative eating habits and sustainable diets. Even with those options, there is a much greater cost involved than people with a typical diet. Cooking is essential for people with these diets and is essential for those trying to stay as healthy as possible.
While the food you cook might not be as good as the Chick-fil-A on campus, it definitely costs less. Not that any food is better than Chick-fil-A, but eating out for every meal costs much more than cooking your own meals. You also have more choice in what to eat and can give yourself a challenge to make something new. There is an art to grocery shopping in an affordable manner. Penny pinching and couponing are great skills to have; not to mention, with those skills, you don’t have to eat ramen every meal to survive. Meal prep is important to know how to do if you live a busy life or are part of the workforce.
Cooking is also an extremely fun activity to do with friends. Good food is essential for a good Super Bowl party and might be the most important thing there, besides alcohol and a TV.
It also helps you learn how to cook with someone teaching you. With an experienced friend as your Gordon Ramsey, it might seem less like a chore unless you get yelled at. Getting home at 2 a.m. after a night in Five Points and concocting some crazy dish is an experience only known to USC students.
For the students reading this who don’t cook for themselves, I get it.
It takes a lot of time to cook and confidence not to mess up a dish. If you are a freshman in a dorm, it is difficult to find the space to cook for yourself and practically impossible to cook something of quality where you live. However, next time you have a free kitchen, try to make something. Copy a recipe or make your own unique dish. It will be a lot of fun.