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Why Cooking at Home is Better than Getting Takeout

By: Angela Palese

As a junior in college, I have always struggled to find the motivation to cook for myself. Getting takeout was always the easier option because it required no thought process or extra work. The only decision was what food sounded best. I usually went for the typical Chick-fil-A nuggets or Subway sub, and don’t get me wrong, sometimes I still cave and have to indulge every once in a while. But in the fall of 2023, I promised myself I would stop wasting my money and start cooking.

Once I made the decision that I needed to cook, the most challenging part was grocery shopping. I would buy produce, which would go bad because I would not use it in time. Or frozen meat would sit in my freezer for weeks. I ended up wasting money for a while because I failed to navigate the essentials on my grocery list. Currently, in the spring semester, I learned what my essentials and go-to recipes are. I started with small things, pasta and tomato sauce, salads, rice bowls, etc. As those recipes became muscle memory and more accessible, I was ready to challenge myself. I started making steak, lasagna soup, pot roasts, and pasta sauces from scratch.

I fell in love with cooking at home. The sense of pride I felt when recipes came out was delicious. Or when I force my roommates to try everything I make, and when they like it, I feel such a sense of accomplishment. I did not expect to feel prideful when I decided to start cooking, but now my roommates and my friends ask me to remake certain meals.

Cooking at home does not have to be a chore or a burden. It is therapeutic to do something for yourself, with yourself, and then enjoy the product afterward. Cooking has become an outlet for me after a stressful day and a way for me to learn. Of course, some recipes don’t turn out great, but then you try again another time. I feel that cooking has become a form of self-care, a way to take care of myself, just like going to the gym or doing a facemask.

Getting takeout has no sense of accomplishment afterward and doesn’t teach you anything. Every once in a while, I crave some chicken nuggets and go to Chick-fil-A, but cooking at home is much more rewarding, much more fun, and something everyone should do for themselves.

If you’re worried about where to start, JMU's UREC offers cooking classes! Give it a try!

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