To everyone out there who thinks they can’t cook, think again. For years I was that friend who didn’t know how to cook. You know those girls who are like, “I can whip up a souffle with my eyes closed and children just naturally gravitate towards me.” Not me. 

The process and effort of cooking never seemed worth the final product to me. My few attempts at culinary greatness didn’t help either. During my freshman year of college I vividly remember burning spaghetti, which led to the apartment staff coming to my room because the fire alarm went off. I had to throw out the actual pot I was cooking in because the noodles were burnt to the bottom and there was no saving it. Looking back I probably should’ve added more water…

Another thing that bothered me about cooking was that it was correlated with being “good wifey material.” I think it’s great if you can cook, but I’m opposed to the idea that you’re supposed to enjoy or be good at something just because you’re a female. I don’t exactly know if it was my distaste of traditional stereotypes or my toddler level of patience in general, all I know is that there were a million things I would have tried before I picked up a spatula. 

Last year I started a new job and the first thing that crossed my mind was, “What restaurants will be near me?” To my delight, there were a plethora of options within walking distance which was almost as exciting as landing the job itself. A few weeks in, people around the office kept buzzing about this cooking contraption we had in the lounge which made cooking easier and the food tastier. Originally this meant nothing to me, but the consistent raving reviews it was getting from my peers started to pique my interest. 

Could you really cook a restaurant-quality steak in 12 minutes? 

Does it actually make cauliflower taste good? 

Wait, you can also cook fish? 

It seemed unrealistic that a small black box had this much versatility. Regardless, I assumed it must take a chef to work the machine so I wasn’t going to bother. However, one day in the lounge I found myself examining the mysterious cooking wonder. After realizing there were pictures of food on the buttons I instantly felt less intimidated. All you have to do is put the food in the machine and press the button with the picture on it. I can do this! I suddenly had a  burst of motivation which took me somewhere I’d never been before, the grocery store. 

I later learned that the cooking contraption in our lounge is called an air fryer and it was a complete game-changer for me. Thanks to the air fryer, I now eat much healthier than I ever did before. I understand the irony of a fryer helping me eat healthier but it’s true. The food tastes like it’s deep-fried but it’s not. In layman’s terms, an air fryer is a small countertop convection oven and its small size allows things to cook faster. The top unit holds a heating mechanism and a fan. Hot air rushes around the fryer-like basket in a rapid circular motion which makes the food crisp. Not only is it faster, but the clean up is minimal since the basket is dishwasher friendly.

One of my personal favorites is a pork chop. I never ate pork chops before but for some reason, in the air fryer, they’re just magnificent. Ever heard of rutabaga? I hadn’t until I read an air fryer recipe for rutabaga fries. Only an air fryer could make a turnip-like vegetable taste like a french fry.  

The simplistic, idiot-proof machine has turned me into a chef. To make it clear how much this has impacted me, I used to eat out for 90% of my meals, I now cook my meals more than 90% of the time. Changing your eating habits can change your life and my air fryer has changed mine.