I write about and take photos of food in the few hours I have between a full-time job, so I love cooking. Right?
It’s true that I spend a fair amount of time dreaming of roast chicken and spending several lazy hours over a slowly simmering stew.
But sometimes it’s a weeknight and that roast chicken looks more like a quick-cooking chicken breast. Any sort of stew gets relegated to the myth of weekend cooking.
Sometimes I’m 45 minutes into a “20-minute” recipe and I’m sweating, I’ve lost my appetite, and the kitchen is a mess.
Do I love cooking?
I know that cooking has improved and enriched my life, and definitely made me healthier.
I’ve become more mindful to the taste of my food, and I’ve learned to make things taste better and better.
Most importantly, cooking is a skill I’ve been able to share with others. It gives everyone a reason to gather.
This platform aims to provide you with the recipes, ideas, and confidence it takes to master one area of life that comes around every night.
Learn to love cooking, and it won’t be just another chore on your to-do list. Here’s how to cook with a little more ease, a bit less stress, and plenty of joy:
Clean as you go
Sorry, but this is rule #1.
I support enlisting a helper to do the dishes after dinner, but your workflow will be much easier if you clean during the prep process too. Plus, dinnertime is more relaxing without a pile of dishes looming in the sink.
Throw away scraps as they accumulate (garlic skins, carrot tops), clean messes as they happen (dribbles of olive oil, dustings of flour), and keep a dish towel nearby (throw it over your shoulder) to easily wipe your hands.
Find out what you hate to do in the kitchen, and find someone in your house who hates it less than you do.
I love chopping onions but I can’t stand washing anything-fruits, vegetables, dishes, etc. When someone rinses the produce for me and lays it out to dry, it feels like a really good gift on Christmas morning.
Track down one of the eaters in your house, hand them your least-favorite task (talk it up a bit), and set your focus on what you love about the kitchen.
To your health
If you’re making dinner most nights per week, you don’t have to worry about your health. Forget about counting calories, measuring macros or reading nutrition labels.
A home cooked meal does not have as much salt, sugar, or fat as something from a restaurant. The home cook doesn’t make french fries every day, or dessert each night.
Fall in love with the process of feeding yourself something nourishing; it’s the only hobby that just might love you back.
Zen and the art of cooking
As someone who hates sitting still, I prefer productive forms of meditation (why yes, I did just make up that up).
Cooking is also an excellent form of productive meditation. Chopping onions, stirring risotto, or sitting down to read the latest issue of Bon Appetit while the lasagna bakes are great ways to absorb yourself in the present.
Next time you’re peeling garlic cloves or buttering toast, try to focus on the task like it’s the only thing that matters. After you take a bite, you’ll realize why that’s probably true.
Cooking isn’t easy.
We don’t have little bowls of prepped ingredients waiting for us when we get home. We don’t have production crews or interns helping us make that “20-minute” meal.
But we have the instincts and creativity to get us to some kind of delicious result.
Cooking connects us to our natural ability, our health and wellness, and the people sitting across from us.
Using creativity and a quick google search’s worth of knowledge, we can transform a handful of ingredients into something delicious.
Next time you’re in the kitchen, take a deep breath, pour yourself a glass of wine, and embrace the mess, the meaning, and the magic of every meal. What’s not to love?