Carlos and I made an agreement that we would set a $50 budget for Christmas, $20 for a gift to the other person and $30 for a donation to Toys for Tots. Seeing as I work in the book industry, my first instinct was to give books (or books with toys attached) for my Toys for Tots donation. Then as I was browsing through Barnes & Noble, I came up with another idea. Why not give the gift of cooking? I saw these wonderful cooking sets (see above) that were $15 retail each. I got two and this is my donation.
So why the gift of cooking? It worries me how many people do NOT know how to cook. And not only do they NOT know how to cook, they outright refuse to learn. This angers me greatly. First of all, many of these people do not cook simply because they believe cooking makes them inferior. Basically, they want others to cook for them. Whether it be restaurant staff, their parents, their grandmothers, their significant others, a hired cook, etc. They want to feel superior to others and they think that cooking their own meals is the same as slave labor. In my honest opinion, those people are complete morons. Being able to cook for yourself makes you independent. You can take care of yourself. You don't need to depend on anyone else for food. You can make your own breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your leftovers are the envy of the office during lunch time.
To those of you who think you are superior by not cooking, I just want to say that I think it makes you codependent not superior. Cooking for yourself and being able to cook for others is a worthwhile skill. You save money, control the quality of ingredients, reduce your exposure to preservatives and other chemicals (especially when cooking with whole foods), and you can improve or maintain your health by making sure those meals are healthy ones.
I hope the kids who get these baking sets will make some fabulous cupcakes or desserts with them. I hope also that it will kindle a love for cooking that will help them in the future.
UPDATE: These donations plus more were stolen from a storage locker in Burlington, MA. Merry fucking Christmas.