I live in a city where loving to cook is very hip. Discussing a new vegan recipe, the best way to slow cook a brisket, or a new quinoa salad that will "blow your mind" are all things I might hear around the office or out at drinks on a regular basis. And it's taken me a long time to publicly admit that I don't care. My god, I don't care.
I often find myself cornered in conversations about how someone "just made some awesome sweet potato fries," or how they just perfected a new "amazing" pie crust. And every time I can feel my eyes glaze over (no pun intended) as I try to think of a polite and enthusiastic response, when the truth of the matter is I'm just thinking how I wish "please stop" was a socially acceptable thing to say to another person.
And on some level, I get it. Cooking is something almost all of us must do, and there are certainly a variety of major ethical and ecological issues tied into what goes into our mouths--food is a big part of our lives. But when you start getting into the nitty-gritty of how you braised your cauliflower last night, I just want to put on ear muffs. And don't get me wrong--I don't expect you to care what I ate for dinner either! I would never subject you to that "story" (notice I put story in quotation marks because it implies something interesting or worth talking about).
It's not that I can't cook--I literally cannot afford not to (although I would eat every single meal take out, delivery, or in restaurant if only it were feasible). It's that I can think of a good forty seven and a half things I would rather be doing than preparing a meal. The mere thought of cooking--especially for a group of people--with the planning, the multi-tasking, the thinking, "Well, we'll have to start the roast at 5 if we want it to be done with the asparagus and the couscous" just makes me want to slump to the floor and see if I can find crumbs under the stove to eat instead.
But more than all of this, I get the decided sense that not being particularly interested in this particular pastime is becoming a less and less popular thing to say (or at least admit). There's a certain cache--a social currency--to people in their 20s who consider themselves foodies. Being really "into" cooking is right up there with knowing the most underground band from Sweden. Admitting that you don't give a shit about it is almost akin to admitting that you don't like to read. It's downright gauche!
So this is for all of you fellow open-minded readers into art and culture and improving yourselves who just plain think cooking is the worst: I'm right there with ya.
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