Learning to Cook, Right From the Comfort of Your Couch

These days, as many people try to juggle work, family, and hundreds of other obligations, it sometimes feels impossible to devote time to things we enjoy and want to make a bigger part of our lives. Many of us have always wanted to travel, take an art class, do yoga, improve a second language, or learn to cook. Unfortunately, between carpools to school and sports practice, working to put food on the table and pay the bills, and countless other time-consuming tasks that pop up on a never-ending basis, there never seems to be time in the day to squeeze in that photography lesson or Spanish class.

Many of us do find ourselves kicking back in front of the television at the end of the day, however. The good news is, this time can be spent learning a new skill, and you don’t even have to move from that comfy chair in which you have collapsed. There are countless television programs designed to help you develop some aptitude in any number of areas-and while you may not have a lot of luck if photography is your passion (you are probably better off learning this skill in an actual class with a darkroom), anyone who wants to learn to paint or improve their foreign language skills is in luck, as these are things you can do from the comfort of your home. We live in an age of cable, satellite TV, and podcasts, and these skills are easily within your reach, even when your life is busier than ever.

For example, if you are a food or cooking enthusiast, there are countless channels and shows that can help you improve your skills. Cooking shows are nothing new, and if you are someone who loves to cook you may have been watching these since you were a child, constantly looking to try out new recipes and expand your culinary repertoire. Now, of course, the supply of new television shows that deal with food or cooking is continuous. For complete beginners as well as more skilled cooks, there is, of course, the Food Network, which offers every kind of food-related television program you could possibly want and is now available in high definition. There is instructional programming available throughout the day, in addition to food-themed competitions and travel shows. For reality TV’s twist on cooking shows, you can catch episodes of Bravo’s ever-popular Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen on FOX; this will give you a little taste of drama along with some new recipes. If you have no background in cooking whatsoever, these shows may not be of great help, but if you are bored with your old cookbooks, this is a perfect way to come up with new ideas. A Travel Channel favorite is Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, in which host Anthony Bourdain travels the globe sampling traditional food in a wide variety of cultures.

The options really are endless, particularly if you have satellite TV. Next time you find yourself in front of the television watching a mindless soap opera or reality pop star competition, check out a cooking program instead, and see what you can learn!