Try Something New: Cooking is good for the soul


Hanna Kryhina

During the shelter-in-place, I have been baking a lot. I have made chocolate chip cookies twice.

Legend has it, I made my birthday cake when I turned four years old. 

Whether that’s true or not, food has contributed to my enjoyment of life. 

Throughout my life, my hobby of preparing food has evolved. I’ve done simple things like making a cake from a cake mix to more complicated things like developing a version of lasagna. 

By the end of elementary school, baking had become one of my favorite pastimes. Cupcakes were my favorite thing to bake, and it didn’t take long for them to become my specialty.

Predictably, making only cupcakes and other simple baked goods got boring quickly. I wanted to learn how to make other foods, but I didn’t know where to start.

In eighth grade, I took a food science class. My classmates and I learned a variety of recipes, from smoothies to soft pretzels. Even recipes that had seemed impossible to make became part of my toolkit.

Hanna Kryhina
Cupcakes have always been my specialty. In sixth grade, I made cupcakes decorated with chocolate spider webs for my class Halloween party.

After I completed the class, I could make homemade pizza dough and poached eggs. I couldn’t believe it. Now, I could surprise guests with a pasta salad or convince my grandma that she didn’t need to buy eggs before she could bake a cake because I knew an easy replacement.

Once I started high school, I spent less time cooking because I needed to make time for more “valuable” pastimes. But, I soon realized that cooking is an essential skill like any other.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, those who cook at home are more likely to eat a healthier diet and less likely to develop health problems. Baking is also known to have many benefits.

Like many hobbies, cooking can be a form of self-expression. It can also help ease the effects of stress.

Lately, I rediscovered my love for cooking. At first, I only baked and followed simple recipes. As I regained confidence in the kitchen, I attempted to prepare meals from my cooking training. I started small, practicing how to make different types of fried eggs.

Hanna Kryhina
Recently, I made meatless lasagna without a recipe. To my surprise, my attempt was successful.

Then, I did the unthinkable. Impulsively, I cooked a meal without following a recipe. 

Never in my cooking experience have I been successful when I ignored the help of experienced chefs. I tossed aside the wealth of recipes on the internet when I made a meatless lasagna, and yet, it tasted good. 

Similarly to other activities, practice makes perfect in food preparation too. I hope I have inspired you to cook something new.