Cooking is popular because, first and foremost, most of us can’t afford to go out to eat all the time, and we do get hungry several times a day.
I used to think that if I were wealthy, I’d always dine out; but in time I realized that just like anything else repeatedly done, it would become old very soon. And even though it may be time-consuming, in most cases a home cooked meal is preferable to one you can buy at most restaurants.
Of course, there are reasons why cooking is popular, other than for the sake of saving money.
To begin with, cooking is creative. Just like some people can sit down and write a song or a novel, or others compose an opera, cooking satisfies the creative urge in some people. They actually enjoy trying out new recipes that present a challenge to their cooking skills. They take their results quite seriously, continuing to modify their first efforts until they’re satisfied that they’ve achieved the utmost with a particular dish.
Cooking is also a way of showing off. Who doesn’t enjoy serving a great meal to company and absorbing all the praise from family and guests? It’s a real ego booster and does wonders for one’s self-confidence.
Another reason cooking is popular is because it’s downright fun! I personally love to cook. I have to admit, though, I enjoy it more when I’m not under the gun to get an everyday variety meal on the table.
My ideal scenario to cook is when I have lots of time on my hands (almost never) and can take a leisurely look through my many cookbooks to decide what new cooking project I can try. That is great fun, and I love cooking under those circumstances. (It’s also fun to have a glass of wine while you’re cooking and so uplifting!)
I am also the type who loves cooking so much that it spills over to other areas. I love to read cookbooks, the same as some people love reading novels. I truly enjoy TV cooking shows, too, when I get a chance to watch them, which is not often enough. And I never miss listening to ‘The Splendid Table’ on NPR every Sunday. I also can’t enter a kitchen store without spending a couple of hours looking at everything and leaving with several things that I may not ever end up using.
Lastly, I think cooking is good for relaxation and good for the soul. A good cooking session (alone or with others) can put you in the “zone,” so to speak. If you like working dough or decorating a cake, you are familiar with the happiness you can feel in doing something so enjoyable, yet so simple. Sometimes it’s not even the end result that is important but the satisfying feeling you get from putting things together and letting the rest of the world go while you’re doing it.
So, to my way of thinking, cooking is popular because it serves many purposes. It always has been and I expect it always will be. No matter what the reasons are that you cook, you will get something out of it on several levels, and not just a meal.