Cooking can certainly be considered a hobby for many people.
Some enjoy cooking as a creative outlet to make delicious foods, while others see it as a fun challenge to learn new recipes and techniques. Cooking engages all the senses, provides a productive activity, and allows you to share your creations with others.
Let’s explore the many benefits of cooking as a hobby and how you can get started.
The History of Cooking
Humans have been cooking for thousands of years, starting with simple methods like roasting meat over an open fire. Cooking allowed people to expand their diet, access more nutrients, and make food safer to eat. Over time, recipes evolved with the introduction of new ingredients and tools. Regional cuisines developed according to geographical and cultural influences.
As an organized hobby, cooking started gaining popularity in the early 1800s when the first cookbooks for home chefs emerged. Fannie Farmer’s 1896 cookbook standardized recipe writing, so more home cooks could understand them. This allowed cooking to become a popular leisure activity. The proliferation of recipes in women’s magazines and advertisements for cooking products boosted its appeal as a fulfilling hobby.
Benefits of Cooking as a Hobby
Cooking offers many benefits as a productive hobby:
- It provides a creative outlet to make tasty dishes from scratch. You can experiment with unique flavor combinations.
- Mastering new cooking techniques and recipes boosts your skillset and knowledge.
- It’s an enjoyable activity that engages your senses of taste, smell, sight, and touch.
- Cooking your food enables you to eat healthier. You control the ingredients.
- It can save you money compared to dining out frequently.
- The process is often relaxing and great for stress relief.
- Sharing your homemade food with family and friends allows you to connect with others.
- Passing recipes down over generations is a way to share your cultural heritage.
- Creating beautiful plated dishes and tablescapes provides an artistic outlet.
As you can see, cooking as a hobby boasts many benefits beyond just eating a home-cooked meal.
How to Get Started Cooking as a Hobby
If you want to get into cooking as a hobby, it’s easy to start! Here are some tips:
- Start with simple recipes that don’t require advanced techniques. Build your confidence with easy wins first.
- Learn some basic cooking methods like sautéing, roasting, baking, and grilling. These will form the foundation for countless dishes.
- Invest in some essential kitchen tools like good knives, pots and pans, a baking sheet, and a blender or food processor. Quality tools make cooking easier.
- Stock up on pantry staples like olive oil, spices, flour, rice, beans, etc. These ingredients build a toolkit for improvisational cooking.
- Pick recipes that match your tastes and nutritional goals. Cook food you’re excited to eat!
- Watch cooking videos online to learn techniques and get inspired by dishes.
- Start a cookbook collection to discover new recipes and cuisines from around the world.
- Take a cooking class to gain hands-on guidance in a fun social setting.
What are Different Types of Cooking?
There are endless types of cooking you can explore once you get started in the kitchen. Here are some major categories:
From breads to cakes, cookies, pies, and more, baking uses dry heat in an oven. It relies on careful measurement and technique. Whipping egg whites, rolling dough, and decorating cakes are common skills.
Grilling directly cooks food over an open flame. Outdoor grilling brings flavor from smoke and charring. It’s great for steaks, burgers, vegetables, and more. Useful grilling tools include grates, tongs, and grill brushes.
Sautéing quickly cooks food in a skillet with a small amount of hot oil or butter. It brings out moisture and caramelization. Sautéing is ideal for searing meats, cooking aromatics like onions, and preparing stir fry dishes.
Roasting uses dry indirect heat in the oven. It works well for vegetables, meat, and fish. Roasting caramelizes natural sugars and intensifies umami flavors. Useful tools include sheet pans, roasting racks, and meat thermometers.
Braising combines sautéing then slow simmering in liquid. It tenderizes tough cuts of meat. The cooking liquid becomes an integrated sauce. Braising works great for stews, pot roasts, and dishes like beef bourguignon.
Broiling cooks food under direct overhead high heat in the oven. It works well for quick cooking of thin proteins like chicken breasts, fish fillets, or steaks. Watch food carefully to avoid burning.
There are many other cooking techniques like poaching, steaming, and microwaving. Discovering new techniques opens up more recipe possibilities.
See Also: Is Baking a Productive Hobby? Here’s Why
What are the Essential Tools and Ingredients for Cooking?
Having some fundamental cooking tools and ingredients on hand makes it easier to prepare a wide variety of dishes. Here are some of the essentials:
- Chef’s knife – An 8 to 10-inch chef’s knife can tackle most cutting and chopping tasks.
- Cutting board – Protect your counters and knives with a sturdy wooden or plastic cutting board.
- Mixing bowls – Having small, medium, and large bowls provides flexibility for mixing, stirring, and prep work.
- Measuring cups and spoons – Essential for accurately following baking recipes.
- Whisk – Whisks efficiently blend wet ingredients and achieve a light, fluffy texture.
- Spatulas – Thin, flexible spatulas are useful for everything from flipping food to frosting cakes.
- Tongs – Grab and flip food safely with spring-loaded tongs.
- Sheet pans – Rimmed baking sheets have numerous uses from roasting to cookies to overflow containment.
- Stockpot – A large 6+ quart pot allows cooking pasta, stocks, soups, and big batches.
- Salt – Salt enhances flavor in nearly every savory dish. Kosher or sea salt offers versatility.
- Pepper – Freshly ground black pepper adds spice.
- Flour – An all-purpose flour handles most baking needs.
- Eggs – Large eggs serve as a binding agent and emulsion stabilizer.
- Milk – Whole milk or low-fat works as a dairy base for dishes and drinks.
- Butter – Butter enhances flavor and texture in both sweet and savory cooking.
- Olive oil – An all-purpose cooking oil with health benefits.
- Aromatics like onion, garlic, and shallots – Build deep flavor in dishes.
- Chicken and vegetable stock – Useful for soups, risottos, gravies and more.
With these tools and ingredients in your kitchen, you’ll gain the capacity to cook like a pro!
Types of Cuisine
Learning to cook different international cuisines adds an incredible range to your hobby. Consider these popular options:
Italian – From creamy risottos to fresh handmade pasta, Italian excels at bold tomato sauces, mozzarella cheese, and herbs.
Mexican – Colorful, spice-forward dishes like tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and more rely on chilies, cilantro, onions, lime, and corn.
Chinese – Chinese cooking showcases garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in flavorful stir-fries and noodle dishes.
Thai – The bright contrast of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy defines Thai curries, salads, and wok dishes. Coconut milk adds richness.
Japanese – Japanese cooking values simplicity and purity of flavors like soy sauce, rice vinegar, dashi, and fresh seafood.
Indian – Complex curries, stews, and vegetable dishes characterized by ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili, and garam masala.
French – Known for silky sauces, braises, and techniques like sautéing. Butter, herbs, and wine star prominently.
Southern American – Comforting, hearty soul food dishes showcasing smoked meats, flour, butter, and seasonal produce.
With so many amazing cuisines in the world, you could cook for a lifetime and still not exhaust all there is to learn!
Beginner Recipes to Try
Here are some relatively easy, foolproof recipes to build confidence as a beginner cook:
- Scrambled eggs
- Pancakes or waffles from a mix
- Breakfast burritos or tacos
- Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup
- Chicken or tuna salad sandwich
- Greek salad with grilled chicken
Snacks and Sides:
- Roasted chickpeas
- Sauteed greens like spinach or kale
- Fresh fruit salad
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Brownies from a box mix
Don’t be afraid to experiment once you nail the basics! Browse food blogs and cookbooks for beginner recipes in cuisines you want to try.
Famous Chefs to Inspire You
Looking to famous chefs can inspire techniques and innovative approaches to cooking:
- Ina Garten – Bestselling cookbook author and Food Network star known for simple, satisfying recipes. Her roast chicken and mashed potatoes are perfect comfort food.
- Gordon Ramsay – Fiery British chef with multiple restaurants and TV shows. Known for European cuisine and high standards.
- Alton Brown – Food scientist and cooking show host who takes an educational, science-based approach to recipes and techniques.
- Bobby Flay – Celebrity Iron Chef and restauranteur with a Southwestern flair. Try his salsa verde chicken or chipotle barbecue shrimp.
- David Chang – Korean-American chef known for his NYC restaurants and the culinary hybrid Momofuku cuisine.
How to Improve Your Cooking Skills
With regular practice in the kitchen, you’ll steadily gain skill and confidence. Here are some tips:
- Focus on mastering certain cooking techniques like searing, deglazing, roasting, braising, etc. Repeat them in different recipes.
- Learn how to balance and adjust seasoning and flavor in dishes.
- Watch cooking videos and read recipes to absorb new tips, tricks, and ingredient uses.
- Pay attention to timing, temperature, visual cues, and details that indicate when food is perfectly cooked.
- Organize your ingredients and prep work before cooking for a smooth workflow.
- Gain an intuitive sense of how flavors complement each other.
- Learn to improvise to troubleshoot mistakes or modify recipes to your taste.
- Experiment with plating techniques and garnishing to make visually appealing dishes.
- Practice repetition to build knife skills and other manual techniques.
- Taste thoughtfully as you cook and adjust until the dish is properly seasoned.
With time, you will gain an intuitive understanding of cooking. But it’s an endless learning process, which keeps this hobby exciting!
Cooking as a Form of Art
At its heart, cooking is a creative pursuit. The flavors, colors, textures, and visual presentation of dishes allow for ample artistic expression.
Many top chefs consider their work a form of art. Like painters with a canvas, chefs carefully arrange food on a plate to create an aesthetic impact. The diner’s enjoyment involves several senses at once.
Cooking also shares common ground with other art forms:
- Original recipes reflect a chef’s unique style, vision, and influences – much like an author’s written work.
- Novel cooking techniques and food combinations showcase creativity and imagination.
- The choice of ingredients, spices, and sauces brings a palette of “colors” to dishes.
- Textures in cooking span a spectrum from crunchy to creamy. This adds dimension like brushstrokes.
- Harmonious flavors, aromas, temperatures, and mouthfeel allow chefs to orchestrate a symphony of sensations.
- Forging an emotional connection and sparking nostalgia in the diner is powerful – similar to how music and art elicit feelings.
- Presentation choices factor into the visual beauty and artistic impression of the final dish.
So don’t underestimate the artistry involved in cooking! The kitchen provides a wonderful creative space to express yourself.
Cooking as a hobby offers immense benefits for learning new skills, exploring creativity, trying diverse cuisines, and producing delicious homemade meals. With practice over time, your proficiency and confidence in the kitchen will grow.
Cooking engages all your senses and provides an invaluable life skill. So get out your apron and start creating some edible art today!
What will be the first dish you try cooking?
FAQs – Is Cooking a Hobby?
What does it mean to be a hobby cook?
A hobby cook is someone who enjoys cooking as a recreational activity. They may not have formal training or work as a professional chef but have a passion for creating delicious meals.
What is the hobby of cooking called?
The hobby of cooking is commonly referred to as culinary arts or cooking enthusiast.
Is cooking a hobby or a passion?
Cooking can be both a hobby and a passion. Some people enjoy cooking as a recreational activity, while others have a deep passion for it and pursue it as a career.
Can I mention cooking as a hobby?
Yes, you can mention cooking as a hobby on your resume or in a conversation. It’s a great way to showcase your creativity, attention to detail, and time management skills.
Can I be a chef as a hobby?
While being a professional chef requires extensive training and experience, you can certainly cook as a hobby and experiment with different recipes and techniques. Many people enjoy cooking as a way to relax and express their creativity.
Why is cooking important in life?
Cooking is important in life for several reasons. It allows us to prepare healthy and delicious meals for ourselves and our loved ones, which can improve our physical and mental well-being. Additionally, cooking can be a creative outlet and a way to connect with others through shared meals and cultural traditions.