COLUMN: Let's get cooking

If there’s a constant question in everyone’s life, it is "what are you doing for dinner?" Whether it’s your mom checking up on you or your friends wanting to make plans, we all think about what we’re going to be eating. 

However, most students I know don’t cook often, if at all. These students and young people say they don't often cook for various reasons, from lacking time to disliking the act of cooking itself.

IU should offer one-credit cooking classes in which students can learn the basics of cooking healthy meals. This would not only help students learn to grocery shop on a budget, but also teach basic skills about cooking that they can use in the future. 

However, there should be a broad overview of the basics of cooking. This class would appeal to more people and show students the basic techniques that they need to further their cooking skills in the future, or just be able to feed themselves when takeout becomes too expensive.

There are already classes that focus on cooking. There is a Jewish cooking class that focuses on teaching traditional Jewish recipes. And these classes are great because they teach a niche set of cooking. 

Let’s talk numbers. The Economic Policy Institute found that a single adult living in the Indianapolis-Carmel metro area spends, on average, about $250 per month on groceries. If that same adult moved to a more expensive borough such as Manhattan in New York City, their monthly food cost would be around $300.  

At first glance, these numbers do not seem so high. However, the EPI based food costs off of the United States Department of Agriculture’s low-cost plan, which assumes the individual would primarily buy and prepare his or her own food. So, if someone plans to eat out more or buy prepared foods, then the cost of food can greatly increase.  

I think we all acknowledge that eating out is expensive. During the first weeks back from break, my bank account takes a huge hit from meeting friends for meals. Thankfully, for the rest of the school year, I cook for myself and that has saved me so much money. 

I learned how to cook because I liked Tasty videos, and part of me still wants to be the vegetarian, dairy-free version of Julia Child. But if you don’t have dreams of being a French chef, then I think having a basic cooking class at IU would be beneficial.

I’m not saying we all need to become the next Julia Child. But learning how to cook can make your daily life easier, make your wallet fuller and teach you an important life skill. And if someone could learn that skill while gaining college credit, IU would be preparing you for the future in more ways than one.  

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