Back when I was in university, I roomed with a woman named Beth. She was an intelligent, strong, and determined person, so it was a surprise to me when she insisted that she couldn’t really cook. What?! How could someone who was literate in two languages and gifted with the attention span of a cat stalking a bird be incapable of following simple directions laid out as they are in the average recipe?
I learned how to cook at home, at Girl Guides, and at 4-H. Until I heard it from Beth, I never considered the possibility that someone couldn’t cook if they chose to. I believed and still believe, that anyone who can read can follow a recipe and that the ability to cook is a choice.
Now don’t get me wrong here. Of course I know that some people are better cooks than others. But I think that a lot of that has to do with practice. It’s like Daniel J. Levitin says in This Is Your Brain on Music:
Ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert–in anything.
We can’t all dedicate our lives to the practice required to be Michelin-rated chefs, but we can all learn how to make a grilled cheese sandwich.
I do wonder what makes some of us choose to add a slice of ham or dijon mustard to our grilled cheese, while others stick to the standard. Is it because some people cook for the love of eating and some cook out of pure necessity? Maybe interest is the dividing line between the cooks and the non-cooks, what makes some of us choose to cook or not to cook. What do you think? Is being able to cook a choice you make?