Watch an emotionally arousing talk by Jamie Oliver on food and unhealthy eating habits especially in the United States of America. This talk has been held in the US in conjunction with him being a TED Prize winner of 2010 and is linked below. Healthy food is not only important in the US, it is an important topic all over the world! Everyone should take care of what they eat and everyone has to get to know how to cook healthy food!
I haven't learned how to cook as a child either. My mother cooks amazing and very healthy, so I grew up very healthy. But unfortunately, I somehow have not been taught how to cook myself and have not helped my mother with cooking at all as a child. So, I struggled with food and cooking when I moved out and also gained some weight. Only recently, I had a major breakthrough with cooking when I moved together with my boyfriend. He cooks amazing and he taught me a lot and helped me to get a feeling for cooking and dealing with spices and ingredients. Now I really enjoy experimenting with recipes and ingredients and also have developed some feeling for cooking. Currently, I also read Jamie's Dinners by Jamie Oliver which is a very inspiring every day cooking book. (This is why I had a look at his TED talk in the first place.)
Here is a dish we cooked according to a recipe included in Jamie's Dinners last weekend. It's roast chicken with lemon and rosemary roast potatoes (have a look at the recipe online). Yummie - I am not exaggerating by telling you that this was the very best chicken with potatoes I ever had in my whole life.
Cooking is an essential skill for a healthy and thought-ful life. But it is a long way until feeling comfortable with cooking when you haven't got any access to it as a child. Interestingly, a lot of my friends do cook but in the end of the day, it's obvious that they don't have that kind of feeling for ingredients and cooking that I admire and aim for myself (but I am totally not there yet either ;-)), namely to be able to set up a meal in mind while walking through a (super)market or while looking through the fridge and trying to consume leftovers or products near date of expiry. As Jamie says: being a good cook means juggling with ingredients and spontaneously assemble parts of a meal yielding tasty combinations. Here, practice is essential. However, for most people I know (except of my mother and my boyfriend and very few friends) cooking is something special you just do strictly according to a recipe and rather seldomly, e.g. on weekends or for special occasions. Of course, it's no wonder that they don't have much experience with cooking and might also not be able to help their children gaining some.
In the above mentioned book by Jamie Oliver, he manages very well to support the reader with gaining confidence for every day cooking activities. Here is the link to the german version of Jamie's Dinners (german title: Essen ist fertig) at Amazon: