Recently I read an article about the growing convenience food market that left me feeling a little bit confused.
The article claimed that convenience foods, the ready to serve or near ready to serve meals you can pick up near the entrance of most supermarkets, have grown in popularity largely to lack of cooking skills within Millennials (those born between 1982 and 2001) or their unwillingness to spend time in the kitchen preparing meals.
I was confused for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that I am a Millennial who loves food, enjoys cooking and doesn’t understand people who can’t cook.
Of course, no one enjoys slaving over a hot stove or oven, particularly while trying to ignore a rumbling stomach after working all day and I am no exception.
I have been known to pick up the occasional (and perhaps the more than occasional) convenience meal after a long day rather than making it longer by cooking the meal myself.
However, when I have the time, I really do enjoy cooking my own meals. Cooking for yourself allows you to have complete control over what you put in the food. It also gives you a feeling of accomplishment having created something.
When you cook your own food, it gives you the ability to try new things, new meals and recipes.
For example, this weekend when my brother visited me, we both had a good time making a new Asian dish.
I know I’m not alone in being a Millennial who is a fan of cooking.
I have more than a few friends who frequently post recipes and meal ideas on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Furthermore, I know that researching, trying and sharing new meals and recipes is also a growing trend among Millennials.
So if so many Millennials enjoy cooking, how are we the cause of a rising convenience food market?
Well, there are also a lot of people my age out there who don’t know how to cook. With my brother starting his third year of university this week, we also spent a good time talking about past roommates we had had and what skills they lacked to survive on their own.
I once lived with a roommate who couldn’t cook anything that didn’t have the directions on the box. My brother told me how he had a roommate who didn’t quite understand how measurements work.
These people confuse me, because I made sure to learn how to read a recipe book, make measurements and cook before I moved away from home.
I had heard enough horror stories about my uncle spending an entire semester eating nothing but hot dogs and Kraft Dinner and didn’t want that to happen to me.
I don’t know how many people from my generation enjoy cooking and know how to cook versus how many people would rather pick up a convenient meal on their way out of a supermarket, so I guess it is true that Millennials can at least be partially responsible for the rise of convenience foods. But, that doesn’t mean we have to continue to be.
Cooking is a life skill that everyone should have, especially young people. It gives us the opportunity to exercise creativity and control in the kitchen.
Sure, you can buy lots of different convenience foods at the supermarket too, but they won’t give you the same worthwhile feeling of having created something yourself or trying something new. They generally cost more and are less healthy for you too.
So, fellow Millennials, I challenge you, ditch the box, and take a page out of your grandmother’s book (or better yet, call her up and ask to borrow her cookbook) and start making things for yourself.
You will thank yourself for it later.