How To Find Pleasure In Cooking

I inherited a love for cooking from my mom who has spent countless years cooking for and entertaining others. She's one of those women who has "signature dishes" that people request when she attends an event. Her chocolate chip cookies are famous at graduation parties and baby showers.

Mom's famous chocolate chip cookies.
I've learned a lot from my years in the kitchen with her and I feel the desire to pass on some kitchen wisdom because I've come across more and more people who get overwhelmed by preparing meals for their families. Either they believe that cooking is too time-consuming or that they just don't know how. The truth is that if you just take the time to understand the process, you'll learn that cooking can be easy and fun.

*Take an hour out of your week to plan your meals. It really is that easy. Spend 30 minutes on Pinterest, Eating Well, or wherever you like finding your recipes. Choose your recipes for the week in 30 minutes (or less) and spend the other 30 minutes jotting down your grocery list for these meals. Keep your list on the fridge and don't worry about adding your additional groceries (milk, cereal, eggs, bread) until you you notice you're running low. 

*Read the entire recipe before beginning. Just like you'd read all of the instructions before taking a test (or at least that's what our teachers would hope), you should always read all of the instructions before jumping into a recipe. When you understand what you need to do next, it makes the process smoother.

*Get all of your ingredients and materials out before beginning. The same goes for this step. When you've got all your ingredients, measuring cups, pans, etc. out before you begin, the entire cooking experience immediately becomes 10 times easier. You won't be running around looking for the red pepper flakes like a chicken with your head cut off, which allows you to give more time and attention to making delicious food.

*Become one with the process. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I'm serious. The only way you'll enjoy cooking is if you take the time to understand your ingredients and how to prepare them and cook them properly. Pay attention to their smells, how they cut, and what they pair well with. If you don't know how to cut something (say, and avocado or a mango), take 5 minutes to look up a tutorial on Youtube. Appreciate how all of the pieces of the puzzle come together to make something delectable.

Homemade fruit leather = a very looooong process.
*Learn what you like and what you don't. My mom likes her veggies chopped so fine that you can't even seen them - I like my ingredients chunky and colorful. I used to think I hated brussell sprouts, but after experimenting I learned that I hated the way they had been prepared the one time I tried them, so I made them my way and now I love them. Also, if you don't like a particular ingredient, feel free to substitute with something you do like. 

*Keep track of your favorite recipes. Pin them on Pinterest, save them in a Word document on your computer, or keep an "old fashioned" cookbook filled with recipe cards. This will help when you're stuck on what to make for dinner for those picky eaters. 

*Make your kitchen a place you enjoy being. When you purchase anything for your kitchen be sure it's great quality, attractive to look at, and fun to use. Before heading to bed at night, be sure your kitchen is clean. It's easier to clean up one day's worth of dishes than it is to clean up after an entire week of cooking messes. A fun kitchen makes all the difference in your cooking. Plus, who doesn't like waking up to a clean kitchen?

*Enjoy your hard work. Cooking takes time and effort. Reward yourself by sitting down at the table with your family or friends when you eat what you've prepared. Savor each bite and don't be afraid to make a little noise if you like it! ;) When I've made a meal that my family enjoys, it makes me very proud to know that my hard work paid off. Making something with your hands is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Indulge in your success. :) 

How do you feel about cooking? Do you love being in your kitchen or is it a place of stress for you? Share your tips for enjoying cooking! 


Corie said...

Uh, I am copying this post & saving it in Word! I am the worlds worst cook- no experience, no interest and it's something that I need to work on now that I'm a newlywed!

Thanks :)

Taylor {Our Military Home} said...

Great advice! When I got married, I barely knew how to brown ground beef. It's taken me a long time to learn some cooking basics but for the first time, I've thought that I'd rather eat my version of something, a thought that surprised me.

Brittany said...

Those cookies look amazeballs! And I know you said 30 mins on Pinterest to plan meals...that's easily said. Not so easily done. I can spend hours on Pinterest wasting time...I meal planning!

____j said...

I love this post! A lot of my cooking skills were things I learned from my grandmother [and from watching way too much food network!]. A lot of the things you mentioned [meal plan, recipes, getting ingredients out before beginning] are all things that I do, too!

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