Learning to Cook in the USA

xkcd comic strip about cooking

xkcd – Learning to Cook


  • I should cook more!
  • Buy ingredients
  • Put some in a pan
  • Cook
  • Does it taste good?
    • Kinda
    • No
  • Put leftovers in fridge
  • Hours pass
  • Order pizza
  • Days pass
  • Throw away leftovers
  • Weeks pass
  • Throw away remaining ingredients as they go bad
  • Months pass


  • ingredient (n.) /ɪnˈgriːdiənt/ one of the different foods that a particular type of food is made from
  • (frying) pan (n.) /pæn/ a metal container with a handle that is used for cooking food in
  • kinda: informal for kind of
  • leftover (n.) /ˈleftˌəʊvər/ the food that you have left when you have finished eating


  • The way the information is organized here is called a flowchart. This flowchart shows the process that many people who want to learn how to cook undertake.
  • The underlying idea of this comic is that when people in the US try to cook, they buy many ingredients, cook a little bit of food that is not really good, and waste a lot of food afterwards (throwing away leftovers and other ingredients because the food is not good anymore).
  • Notice that at each step, the reader follows what the next step is according to his situation, but here, the process is straightforward and there is only one possible way to learn cooking (according to the author) …
  • You may think this comic is too simple, but if you have lived in the USA, you would realize that it accurately represents the process that they go through. Not many people cook on a daily basis in the USA. Leaning to cook is not very high on the priority list!

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