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  • Writer's pictureChef Ashley, Back 2 Basics Cooking

Why Learning Culinary Skills is Essential: Insights from Chef Ashley

Given that I started a business offering cooking classes, you probably already know that I am passionate about people learning culinary skills. But why? There are so many reasons beyond the basic "save money and we all gotta eat" rationale.

For one thing, if you've never had to restrict your diet, you might not have noticed, but our entire culture (at least in America) thrives around food! So, it just makes sense that knowing at least some basic culinary skills should be something every able-bodied person finds some time to learn.

More Than Just Independence and Confidence

Learning to cook offers much more than just independence or confidence. It provides a unique social connection when you bring a plate of freshly made cookies to share or gather around the grill to show off your latest BBQ creation. Cooking becomes a way to bond with others, celebrate special occasions, and create lasting memories.

Building a Better Relationship with Food

Learning to cook can help you develop a healthier relationship with food. By preparing your own meals, you become more mindful of what you're eating and can make more informed choices about your diet. This awareness can lead to better nutrition and overall well-being.

Practical Benefits

Of course, there are practical benefits to learning culinary skills as well. Knowing how to cook means you can prepare meals that suit your dietary needs and preferences. It also means you're less reliant on takeout or pre-packaged foods. These are skills that you can use for life!

Beyond Basic Survival

My mom always says that she only cooks because she has to eat, so I guess that alone could be a reason for everyone to learn cooking skills. But I don't want you to learn cooking simply for basic survival. I want you to build a life skill that enhances your quality of life and helps you adapt to various situations.

Cooking isn't just about filling our bellies and nourishing our bodies; it's about exploring the joyful side of cooking. Maybe for you that is the art side of the culinary arts—a world brimming with creativity and fun. Whether it's decorating cakes with buttercream icing or plating the perfect dinner, the culinary world truly offers something for everyone.

Benefits Across Generations

For young children, cooking can be an exciting introduction to textures, flavors, and basic math concepts like counting and measuring, not to mention the sensory play! It fosters creativity and provides a sense of accomplishment. For adults, cooking can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby that offers a break from the stresses of daily life. For seniors, it can be a wonderful way to stay active, engaged, and nutritionally balanced. I will dive deeper into this next week. Something Fun For Everyone

Cooking can be an incredibly enjoyable and satisfying activity, but it's essential to find what aspect of it you love the most. If you’re not a fan of following recipes, you might want to start with cooking, where improvisation is not only ok, but embraced. You can create dishes based on what you have on hand or simply what you feel like eating at the moment. On the other hand, if you love rules and precision (first-born's I'm talking to you!), baking could be your calling. The exact measurements and techniques required in baking can provide a sense of order and accomplishment.

Prefer a different approach altogether? Try grilling, which combines the joy of being outdoors with the satisfaction of preparing food over an open flame. Or perhaps you're interested in unique cuisines? Dive into sushi making or vegan cuisine—both offer rich traditions and creative possibilities. You could also take a culinary passport around the world and try out dishes from various cultures. Each cuisine has its own unique flavors and cooking methods, offering endless opportunities for exploration.

Experimenting with spices can be another great culinary adventure! Playing around with different spices and herbs can transform even the simplest dishes into something extraordinary. And if you enjoy artistic expression, decorating cookies or cakes can be a delightful way to combine your love for art with baking. The key is to experiment and find what makes cooking fun for you. With so many different ways to approach it, there's sure to be a culinary path that brings you joy.

A Life Skill Worth Pursuing

So, why not take the plunge and learn a thing or two in the kitchen? Whether you're a complete novice or looking to refine existing skills, there's always something new to discover in the culinary world. Start with the basics and find a skill that calls to you—then dive in! Who knows, you might just find your new favorite dish or side hustle in the process?!?

So pick up a cookbook, watch a YouTube tutorial, or sign up for a cooking class today to kick start or reignite your passion for the culinary arts. Tune in next week as I delve into a few fundamental skills to kick start your journey for each generation!

Picture of a father and daughter cooking together happily
The key is to experiment and find what makes cooking fun for you!

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