Learning to Cook at an Older Age

I am not old. I do not feel old. But I feel like I missed a great opportunity when I was growing up. I never spent much time in the kitchen with my Mom and sister. But on weekends in the summer Dad would get out the grill and make hamburgers and hot dogs. On special days he grilled ribs or steaks. Once in a while he would grill a sausage or kielbasa. I can throw meat on a fire and wait until the right moment to flip it. But is that really cooking?

A mature man and woman in a kitchen.
Learning to cook is a skill worth taking up at any point in one’s life.

Men cook. I never really thought about that when I was growing up. I always thought women cooked but if you watch a cowboy movie the cook is always a guy. Famous chefs were men when I was growing up. Food is as much a part of a man’s world as it is a part of a woman’s world. I just wish I had realized that when I was growing up.

I was reading about the many benefits of cooking from scratch over the holiday. When I was in college (before I met my wife) I did most of my own cooking. If there was a prepackaged meal I could throw in a microwave oven, I cooked it. I never really thought about making a meal from scratch. These food companies don’t want to kill their customers, right?

Well, so I missed out on the occasional spaghetti bolognese recipe (I have always been more of a healthy protein kind of guy). My burgers were popular at our spring cookout parties.

Cooking is a manly art. I am learning to love to cook for my kids. My wife even let me mash the potatoes this year. More importantly, I picked out the turkey and helped her make the stuffing. But I am learning to cook things like fresh vegetables. It’s a whole different world from throwing a bag or bowl into a microwave oven.

I don’t mind cooking leftovers but the next phase in my culinary education is to learn what all those fancy names on food packaging mean. The food companies may not want to kill me but what are you doing to your body when you combine all those chemicals from hundreds of prepackaged foods every year? I may never eat another Twinkie again, to be honest. Doughnuts and I seldom meet any more.

When my kids grow up and have to fend for themselves I hope they make better food choices than I did when I was starting out. But I also want them to be able to prepare a decent home-cooked meal. It can’t all be about hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries.