Even those who don’t mind, or even say they love cooking, can hit a slump when they enter the kitchen. Repetitive meals, lack of inspiration and motivation can lead to an increase in take-out boxes and frozen chicken wings during the week. Once you are in a cooking rut, it takes a shock of some kind to get you back in the foodie mindset and loving your kitchen again.
Here are some popular “jump starts” that can get you to put your apron on and loving it.
Part of the hassle that comes with cooking is making sure that you have all the ingredients you need in the amount that the recipe calls for. With a meal box, you get all the ingredients delivered and it’s also where you can find easy cooking recipes for your family. The contents of the box correspond with the meal you want to make and the number of people eating it. You can experiment with new flavours and recipes while cutting out one of the tedious parts: shopping.
Humans respond to visual stimulation. If you see enough photos of interesting meals, you are more likely to cook them yourself. Get a cook book with delicious and simple meals that you can easily make at home and challenge yourself to cook through the entire book. If you have trouble with commitment, encourage a friend or family member to join you!
Though these don’t always have a long-lasting effect, getting a new kitchen gadget might be the jolt you needed to get back into the kitchen. It doesn’t have to be an expensive stand up mixer or sous vide, even a new cake pan can motivate you to try out a new recipe or bake a family classic.
This sounds like the opposite of what you think you should be doing but watching cooking on TV is actually a great way to learn new techniques, expose yourself to new recipes, and reminding yourself that it doesn’t need to be difficult! You can always play YouTube videos and play/pause them as you need to while you are preparing something in the kitchen.
Going out to a new restaurant can be a source of inspiration for even the most inexperienced home cook. Consciously order and eat your food, registering the flavours that work well together, picking up presentation cues, and taking notes on ingredients that you need to buy next time you are in the store. Even the most complicated dishes can be modified to work for busy weekdays, all you need is to Google the right recipe.
Visiting new places and getting a taste of the local cuisine is an interactive and fun way to learn to love to cook again. Take a foodie tour or sign up for local cooking lessons to learn the techniques and special dishes of the area, knowing what makes the food go from OK to next level. Bring rare ingredients home as souvenirs and prepare some of your new recipes for interested friends back home.
Home cooking has a ton of benefits, from saving on money, making healthier choices, to bonding with family and friends. It brings a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment to those who cook, and sense of love and community for those who get to indulge in the results. It’s time to get back into the kitchen and remember that it’s your studio for creativity, not a cage or jail cell.