The conversation featured a doctor discussing his book and his methods for helping obese people learn healthier food and lifestyle options to lose weight and keep it off.
A caller to the show said she was seriously overweight and wanted to slim down and achieve a healthier lifestyle. She asked if she could do that by simply drinking meal shakes.
She wanted to avoid cooking completely and still experience good health and weight loss through non-food-prep options like smoothies.
“I don’t cook,” she mentioned, very matter-of-factly. “I just don’t like the kitchen.”
Of course, I know deep down that I should be less impatient with people because, after all, not everyone was fortunate enough to have a mother like mine to show them the ropes around the kitchen.
But the truth is when I hear people announce - often quite proudly - that they do not know how to cook; or they hate to cook; or they simply cannot be bothered to cook, it sounds more than a bit ridiculous and entitled to me. Downright silly, in fact. To say nothing of self-defeating.
Here's the deal.
Cooking is a basic life skill that's essential for adult self-sufficiency and achieving and maintaining our physical and fiscal well-being.
I can hear some of you saying that you don't need to worry about money, though.
And maybe you are part of the top 1% of money-earners in this country, and so well off that you don’t have to concern yourself with setting budgets, and you can afford to eat out or do take-out all the time.
An extra $20, $50, or even $100 a week spent on food is no problem for you. It doesn't bother you to spend hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars more for food than I propose because you can afford it.
More power to you.
But that fact is that 90% of us - at least - do not fall into that category of wealth. Most of us need to budget carefully if we have any hope of paying our bills and staying on track financially - and eventually retiring someday. So for us, cooking is an economic necessity.
Or maybe you're poor, but you shrug off the notion of cooking because you are in that altogether enviable position of being able to eat pretty much whatever and however you want, without a single worry about the calories, fats, salt, or sugar contained in any of it.
In other words, you were lucky enough to have hit the genetic jackpot and are that exceedingly rare individual who has no health or weight worries of any kind.
So you don't have to consider the idea of nutrition or a balanced diet. You can live on quick, easy, no-prep processed food, such as ramen noodles and cheap, sugary cereals, without concerning yourself with matters of health.
If that works for you and you feel good while doing it, who am I to argue. By all means go for it.
But for the vast majority of us, our diet has a direct impact on our waistline and our health outcomes -- if not noticeably when we are young, then certainly by the time we reach middle age.
In those cases, cooking for ourselves is an essential part of maintaining control over our health and well-being.
They may have more money, but they are after all just flesh and blood mortals like the rest of us, so they still have to think about all hidden ingredients in the food they eat in restaurants, or through take-out orders, or through prepared meals bought at the grocery store, Costco's or Whole Foods.
Even they occasionally need to pick up a seasoning shaker, use a chopping or paring knife, and incorporate a few ingredients into a recipe somehow if they want to avoid the diet-related health issues so common in the U.S. population right now.
So, there’s really no way around the matter. You have to learn to cook if you have any hope of maintaining good health or controlling your budget.
Cooking is also not rocket science -- or an art -- that only the naturally talented can master. It’s a very basic skill that anybody can acquire.
Honestly, if you can read and are able-bodied, you can learn to cook.
Heck, these days with the internet, you don’t even need to know how to read, since so many recipes offer videos to show you the steps, or an abundance of photos to go along with the written instructions. My own recipes are full of step-by-step photographs to guide you through the process of getting a meal on the table.
But like any skill, it will take practice and time before you are good at it. When you’re learning, all the washing, chopping, cutting, grating, and preparing of food can seem to take forever.
But once you achieve a certain level of competence, you'll see that it requires very little time and even becomes routine. And, of course, along the way you'll learn shortcuts to make meal preparation easier.
The bottom line is that cooking is a skill definitely worth learning and practicing.
So what happened with that woman and her question on the radio?
Well, the doctor was remarkably diplomatic and kind in his response. Still, he was pretty clear that, no, you cannot maintain a healthy weight or body without doing some food prep or cooking for yourself.
That might have been news to the woman he was speaking to, but we already knew that.