I’ve been cooking seriously for about a year and half now. Truth be told, it’s one of the best and most useful hobbies I’ve taken up. The benefits of cooking are great, and I’m going to list them here.

1) Home cooked food is healthier food. Don’t believe me? Look at the ingredients label. Go on, look at it. I’ll wait. Just WTF are high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil and why are they in nigh every prefabricated food product? I’ve got a couple of doctorates (no, I’m not kidding you about the double doctorates) in biomedical sciences and I can’t even pronounce some of the stuff in these things.

2) Saves money. Don’t believe me? Go to Outback Steakhouse, order a steak, house salad and vegetable side dish. It will cost you over $20. Probably $25 now, since its been so long since I’ve been to one. I can make the same meal in less time for under half that. I’ll admit that they can make a better margarita than me, but I can’t say I’ve been seriously pursuing mixology. Once I do, they’d better watch out.

3) Great conversation topic. Believe it or not, everyone eats (except a few people who I highly suspect are either plants or some kind of rock) and most people actually enjoy food. Therefore, food is the ultimate conversation topic as it is inoffensive and crosses all boundaries (including but not limited to gender, age, politics and religion).

4) Being able to cook makes you look good. Consider the question “What did you eat last night?” It’s commonly asked in a variety of different forms and there are many answers. Lets look at a few and what they say about you. “A pizza and some beer.” Mentally, I’m still living in a college dorm or frat house. “Lean cuisine” (or any other meal in a box) I am boring, lazy and entirely uninteresting. “I grilled a steak/hamburger/whatever.” I am probably a male. *Grunt* “I whipped up a quick chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.” I have mad cooking skills and you should feel lucky if I invite you over to partake.

5) Suck up points. To get ahead you often need to subtly suck up to many people at once, like coworkers or secretaries. Make a cake or some cookies, bring them in to work, you will be loved and adored at least for a day (or until you light the office on fire yet again). Repeat periodically throughout the year.

6) Score with the opposite sex. The ultimate conclusion of points 3, 4 & 5. Everyone likes food and being able to produce it makes you look good. Hence, cooking provides you with leverage in the dating department. Why do you think women have recipes they refer to as ‘boyfriend bait’? And to answer your question, yes guys if you make a good meal for a girl, panties will drop.

7) Unlimited taste potential. Do you live in part of the country where the diet is easily summed up as ‘meat and potatoes’? Are you tired of it? Want to try something else, maybe with flavors other than fat and salt? Learn to cook.