The healthier and quicker meal

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               Good afternoon to my respectful lecturer and fellow classmates. Ladies and gentlemen, imagine yourselves in a new surrounding. You are walking along a row of restaurants, each with their own specialty dish and cuisine. You have managed to survive without food for the past two weeks. Feeling awfully tempted to walk into one of the restaurant; you stick your hand into your pocket only to realize you have spent your month's allowance. Upset and hungry, you return to your room and rummage through the refrigerator. There are some vegetables and red meat. Happily, you take out the ingredients and cooked up a meal although you have never cooked in your life. Finally, food is served on the table and you feast on it only to taste what seems like salty ice-cream. Upset, you threw the food away but then again you are still starving...

               Imagine if you were that poor fellow. If only you had fundamental knowledge of cooking skills, you wouldn't have to end up indulging in that terrible meal and starve to bed. Hence, today, through the extensively research on the subject of my subject, I would like to persuade you to learn to cook before you fly off to overseas or other places away from your comfort zone to further your studies. For your information, I had been living alone and away from my family for nearly two years. As a young teenager with meager financial income in the foreign place, I find out how beneficial and imperative it is to know how to cook in order to feed myself. Since a young age, my parents always had the idea of training their children to become qualified "domestic engineers", especially my mother. Although it can be quite irritating and troublesome in the beginning, I soon realized that how practical the cooking skills I had been taught can be in my future.

Ladies and gentlemen, now without any hesitation, I will tell you straight-forwardly that it is worth to learn how to cook!!! Notice that cooking has already become part-and-parcel of daily living since time immemorial and it is an inevitable activity, which most people involve in every single day of their life, therefore it is extremely important for every one of you to know at least the basic skill to cook. Why? The answer is clearly laid on the fringe benefits it offers which I will elaborate later on. In fact, there is nothing to lose if you know to cook a proper meal. With the knowledge of culinary skills, your life could be much easier regardless of whether you are because you are capable of making your own food from simple ingredients that are bought from any groceries. To further enlighten you about my topic, I shall show the comparison between eating home and eating out. Firstly, I will talk about the benefits of learning how to cook. After that, I shall proceed to inform you the few steps to take note of before you start cooking.

First and foremost, a person need not to fear that he or she will starve when there is no one around to prepare meals for him or her; knowing that one day most of us here may depart to places like the United States and Canada to receive higher education where life expenses is higher. When the time has come, we will need to learn to take care of our own daily meal without nannies care. It will be pathetic for those people who are not used to cooking and those in poor financial state as they may encounter a predicament when eating out. The food sold outside is more expensive compared with eating at home. Of course, there is always cuisine in university canteens or campus bars for you to turn to if you wish to fill your stomach with cheaper prices. Yet it is only a matter of time before you get bored of the similar and tasteless varieties of food there. If you know how to cook, you can actually save lots of money by preparing your delicious meals at home. For instances, if you want to eat a hamburger, it costs less for making your own special hamburger from the same ingredients like ground beef and fresh vegetables instead of catering it in a restaurant. According to the article about Choices, Food by J.D on 13th October 2006, he substantiated the fact that eating in is cheaper than eating out. In his article, it stated that one commenter in the AskMetafilter thread conducted an experiment by spending $80 on food a week, mostly eating out as cheaply as possible. After that, he bought $80 of food from the fancy organic grocery store to last him a week. To his surprised, he could purchase more food than he had ever eaten outside last week and still have $20-$30 to spare! Even in the case that he bought the richest foods, the most exciting ingredients, and kitchen staples such as oils and spices and fancy olives, yet he was still left with some dollars. Imagine how much you can actually save per year if you have budget surplus of $20-$30 each week. You are actually earning yourself thousands of dollars indirectly! Meaning you are getting an I-phone in just a few weeks!

Moreover, through my interview with 30 students who study abroad in different places in US and Canada, I found that they spend average $7 to $10 per meal eating outside. In other words, they spend roughly $15 to $20 per day on consuming food outside with assuming that they're having two meals daily. Similar result was obtained from the experiment were carried out by Rob Cockerham who is the site's creator of Cockeyed.com in March 2004. He spent an average of $20.08 per day by having all his meals in restaurants for the whole month. If convert the expenses into Ringgit Malaysia currency, you are spending roughly RM72 per day on feeding yourself. RM2160 every month! Besides that, Cockerham also show that it only costs average $8.65 per day to prepare his own meal at home without including any alcohol or beverage on February 2004. It is indeed a huge difference on food expenses, right? Now isn't it clear enough that it cost less for you to cook at home? So before you start to go broke eating out all the time on foreign countries, I suggest you begin learning some cooking skills from your mum.

Although there are some cases stated that dining out is actually more cost effective than eating at home (Jonsson & Chernesky, 2004), it really depends on the location of dining and the type of food you wish to order. Yet we cannot deny the fact that a person who can cook has many advantages over one who cannot. I know somewhere in the back of your mind you are probably thinking, "Hey it may take me hours to cook at home. It's too troublesome! I don't have the time." Indeed cooking your own meal requires more hard work and planning. A lot of people tend to think that it is time consuming to drive to a farmer market to buy the goods for meal preparation. Unlike eating out, there is no need for large preparation, no frustration of going to the market and finding out that what one was planning to have is not available. It saves time because those delicious meals are served almost instantly. Finally, the kitchen stays clean and there is no washing-up to do- good news for any "busy person". Just pay and leave the messy side of dinner to the stall operator or kitchen helper. Eating out seem to be perfect for people with little time on their hands. However, it is not exactly true. Dining out can actually take more time than eating in. For example, you may need to take time dressing up and walk or drive to the destination. If the restaurant is crowded, you have to wait in a long queue before you get to be served. Then if you are hanging around with friends, you may have a whale of time chit chatting. Before you realized it, you have already spent two hours dining out. Isn't it the same thing that most of us do in these kinds of moments? However, according to J.D, we can take less than 8 minutes to whip up the meals when eating in and it was nearly impossible to achieve if dining out. In addition, you may not need to go to the supermarket or grocery shops to refill your stores every time. You can actually buy all your food and necessary ingredients that is sufficient to last for one week at once.

               Maybe some of you will say that "hey, why bother so much? My family is rich and I can afford eating out for every meal." Indeed, eating out is no longer considered a luxury for most of us, and various types of eateries attract more and more customers from all age groups. Many choose to eat out because it is convenient and suits even fussy eaters. However, nothing can beat home-cooked food when it comes to nutritional value, or the closeness of a friend dinner in the comfort of one's home. With that, I come to my second point of view. If you're not willing to cook at home and choose to indulge in the food outside for every meal, you are just putting your health in jeopardy. As it is reputated for, most restaurant meals, especially fast food restaurants, are loaded with extra salt, fat, sugar, and calories. Besides that, butter has been known as cook's best friend in western countries. Moreover, hawkers and restaurants often use flavor enhancers and additives that may cause a number of health problems. According to the survey conducted by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), the salt levels vary in types of foods sold in four major fast food chains like Pizza Hut, KFC, Burger King and McDonald's are superbly higher than the daily limit of our needs. The health sector of UK recommends a maximum of 6g of salt per day for adults, 5g a day for children aged 7-10 and 3g for children aged 4-6. Yet, we as the customers who eat out are unable to check the quality of ingredients, or the freshness of the food that is served. I believe most of you knew that excess intake of salt and fat in most fast food can eventually result in heart disease and obesity. In addition, if you are one of the over-weight people, you have a higher risk of suffering heart attacks and developing certain types of cancer like cancer of breast, endometrium or gall bladder. Meanwhile, you may have low self esteem with you spotty appearance. In short, it may well affect your academic performance and your love life indirectly. And you don't want that to happen! Hence, there's no alternative but to learn to cook. Home-prepared food is always healthier as you can control the amount of ingredients to put into food, for instances lower the intake of excess oil; choose to eat food or roughage low in cholesterol. Most of all, you can eat in moderation if you can cook.

               Trust me! You do not want to be eating noodles, hamburger, and macaroni & cheese every day. Despite disgusted by them, your health is potentially in hazard too. What's for to risk? At home, you can experiment any dishes you wish to from the recipes book. It won't be the same meal every time and guarantee more hygienic and nutritious. Now we had seen two benefits of learning to cook. Next, I proceed to my third main points. As we know, we will possibly face complete independence when going to university on foreign country. Do you know that for those being able to cook are described as a babe/bloke magnet? According to the testimonies from my friends and commenter on Yahoo websites, majority of people find those can cook are more attractive and preferable. Based on this year's Master Chef Winner James Nathan wrote in the Guardian on 2008:

"I met a gorgeous girl in my third year and what impressed her straight away was the fact that I made tea in a teapot. This display of courtship led to a snog and she eventually became my wife. Marriage may not be your immediate goal but it is worth bearing in mind: imagine what cooking a roast could do for one's love life"

               To clarify the points, it shows that the opposite sexes are usually perceived person who can cook as more independent and grown up. Especially in the case of girl choose her partners, they feel to be taken care of and enjoy the result of cooking together afterwards. Therefore they tend to be easily impressed and attracted to those people who can cook. Do you agree, girls?

               Lastly, I would like to give you some advices regarding cooking. Bfore attempting any recipes, you at least need to have some basic kitchen equipments such as sharp knives, chopping board, spatula, frying pan, skillet and saucepan. Of course, gas stove and cooking oil too. After acquiring that, you're ready to begin your fun cooking journey. Indeed being able to cook requires constant practice and patience. It is a lifetime skill but the effort is rewarding.

               Ladies and gentlemen, as with most things in life, eating at home can be both bane and boon, depending on how you look at it. I urge you to put up with the minor inconveniences of cooking by your own and experience the joy and fringe benefit it offers. I am not advocating that you must cook at home for every single meal. There is definitely certain time when we need to dine out such as birthday party, wedding dinner and format meeting. However, please bear in mind that it can hardly beat home-cooked meals when it come to savings. You can always ensure the healthier and quicker meal to be served at home. It is just an empty talk if you don't put the principles into action. Learning to cook doesn't have to be complicated. If I can cook, why can't you?

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