What Life Skills Can You Learn From Cooking?

What Life Skills Can You Learn From Cooking?

Why are cooking skills important? This question is often asked by certain family members who feel that food just arrives on the table at meal times.

Learning to cook is as relevant now as it always was, and shopping, planning and cooking meals will ultimately save you a lot of money over a year, not to mention the health benefits of fresh home-cooked food for your family.

So, what are those skills?

  • Budgeting
  • Planning
  • Being orderly
  • Creative thinking

Now I’m going to expand a bit on those.



What Skills can you learn from Cooking?

In order to cook the first thing we must do is to learn a few simple recipes, and to do this we require a basic interest in cooking.

The first skill that we learn is budgeting, so we make a list of what we need to buy, and set a limit in order to stay within the budget.

These days we often only have to plan for two meals a day at home, as most of us are at work at lunch time and children are at school.

When we have children we want their meals to be as nutritious as possible, so we put lots of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables onto our shopping list. To shop once a week should be enough if we keep a bit of available stock in our pantry.

The other way to approach saving money is to cook in bulk. If there are four people in your family, cook for 8 and freeze a batch for when you are really busy. This saves the often monotonous task of cooking every day.

The other day I saw a Television program about a women from a family of four people who only cooked the main meals (dinner) once a fortnight by rotating 4 to 6 basic dishes (depending on available ingredients). She had little foil trays to freeze each meal in and made 56 meals for the fortnight.

The really amazing thing to me was that because every ingredient was planned, all she was spending on the main meal was $120 per fortnight. The children were aged four and six, so not huge eaters, but I don’t think that the formula would work for everyone. What it did illustrate was that if you planned, were organized, shopped, and cooked in bulk it would save not only money but heaps of time on a daily basis.

The other thing that cooking teaches you is to do things in an orderly manner:

  • Assemble ingredients.
  • Set the oven temperature.
  • Measure quantities and make.
  • Cook the recipe.
  • Clean up and put away.

You soon realize that you can’t cook in chaotic conditions and it is much more successful if everything is well ordered and planned.


Why are Cooking Skills Important?

If we choose not to learn to cook, and send for take-out for nearly every meal, it will cost us about four times as much as making the food ourselves. Also, the freshness cannot be guaranteed, and often the food is cold on arrival and has to be reheated.

During hot weather, making food at home can be simple. If we have a garden or balcony we can cook a Barbecue and have it with fresh salad. This is great as all the cooking does not fall to the one person, and all the family members are learning new skills.

People now have a renewed interest in learning to cook, and during lockdown cooking has become essential with many restaurants and venues closed. TV programs like Master Chef have inspired many to try their hand at various dishes, and this is a good thing, as they will learn new skills.

So we have learned to save money and to budget, and we have learned some new skills, and we are cooking simple meals that will become more complex with practice.

50 years ago all housewives made cakes and biscuits, afternoon tea was an art form, and mastering pastries, scones, and cakes was an essential skill.

Thank goodness that this is not essential anymore, and can be left to those who like to do it, as many do, but times have changed and we don’t have enough hours in the day for baking, so that sort of cooking is best left to the experts.


Is Cooking a Skill or a Talent?

Cooking starts off as a learned skill for most people, but as we all know some people have a real talent for it, and it is a joy to eat their food.

I suspect that in order to cook well that you do have to love it, and to learn many sets of skills and strategies to reach the degree of excellence that many people display.

If you are running a restaurant all the food has to be of a standard of excellence and in many places, one of the dishes is not up to the expected benchmark. In order to perfect certain dishes, cooking does require practice, and as with any other skill, practice makes it better and better.

Some cooks have a small portfolio of foods that they cook exceptionally well, and others have a real talent and can cook anything.

Another skill of the host is to keep the guests’ glasses full of the right wines, and even if the meal is not perfect, they probably won’t totally recall what they ate anyway.

If you are starting out as a cook, try to concentrate on the main courses and buy specialized deserts in, as I figure we need to play to our strengths, and I realize that not everyone has a talent for sweet foods.


Learning to cook well is very worthwhile, and it is a good idea to do it sooner rather than later. We all have to eat, and if we are able to prepare a few simple meals on leaving home it is an investment in our future.

Related questions

What Life Skills Are Necessary In Modern World?

  • Critical thinking
  • Controlling your emotions
  • Handling criticism
  • Convincing others
  • Investing money
  • Writing
  • Cooking
  • Making friends
  • Searching information

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