Black Women's Improvement Project (BWIP)

Love & Health: Four Good Reasons You Need To Get in the Kitchen (shoes optional)

Before I met my husband, I thought green beans grew out of cans. Had NO IDEA how different they tasted, and that they weren’t gray-green when they’re fresh. Growing up, my mother hated to cooked and we all had to suffer through that. My dad was a better cook, and could fry the eyeballs out of some catfish. But my dad grew up when food-borne bacterial diseases could put you in a coffin, so…steak? Let’s just say I didn’t know you didn’t have to chew it 1,352.4 times before you could swallow it. My mother, however, could bake and liked it A LOT. Which is still problem even after the doctor spanked her hand about all those tea cakes she eats and thinks nobody knows about.

I say all this to say that I pretty much had to teach myself how to cook. Everything my parents made was either too salty or too peppery, and by the time I met The Hubster, I was so impressed that he could grill a steak a toothless baby could eat, I decided to learn from him and buy some cook books. So now I can cook everything, and anyone who can read and follow directions can too. So there’s really no excuse to eat gray-green beans and frozen dinners in a bag.

Here’s why you should learn how to cook:

Numero Uno: Frozen foods are waaaay over processed. If you look at the ingredients list of Orange Chicken in a Bag and can’t recognize or pronounce all the ingredients, chances are they were grown in a lab. And if you don’t recognize them, you body doesn’t either. For those of you would struggle with your weight, here’s some advice: Don’t buy your dinners in the frozen foods section at the Piggly Wiggly. You’d be amazed at how much energy you’ll have and how much potential weight you can loose by cooking the way people did before frozen dinners were invented.

Numero Dos: Men LOVE a woman who can cook. Forget that feminazi nonsense about announcing on your first date that you don’t cook, and if your gorgeous looks, smarts and gymnastic skills in the bedroom will be sufficient. Here’s a bit of a neuroscience: The same part of the brain that simulated by sex is the same part of the brain that enjoys home made spaghetti sauce and hand made meat balls. A few days back some of the young girls were all up in a ruckus about a Korean girl who brought food to her boyfriend’s job. Are you kidding me? This is ANCIENT SEDUCTION SECRETS 101. And after almost 10 years of marriage, it’s my cooking that brings The Hubster home early when I could easily stay and process a mountain of paperwork. (Also, just as your vetting him, he’s vetting you, and you better bet he’s wondering how the heck you’re gonna fed his future children that doesn’t involve Twinkies and Tyson dinners)

Numero Tres: Learning how to cook in the traditions of your rainbeau’s family gives you 100 automatic cool points, not just with him, but with his parents. Dating someone Chinese? You better learn how to throw down on some pot stickers. Dating someone Mexican? Love him up with some enchiladas. In my case, my mother-in-law created a cook book of all the favorite Karazin family recipes, and because it brings back memories of his Cleaver-like upbringing, I make his favorites especially when his work life becomes a bit stressful.

Numero Cuatro: If you are African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Nigerian, Ethiopian, whatever, learn how to cook five or six of the most popular dishes in your culture. Any rainbeau worth his weight will appreciate eating authentic food from your culture if you make it well. So yeah–I fry chicken, make collard greens and corn bread and sweet potato pie about once a year because we at the Karazin household are not fond of coronaries.

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