How to Enjoy Cooking
Scared of cooking? I was. Just the thought of cooking a meal intimidated me so much that I would do almost anything to get out of it. Oh, the excuses I would come up with. I never wanted to have to do this complicated chore, which I wasn't very good at, so my poor family basically lived off frozen meals and take out (which, I’m sure you’ll agree with me, never look even a tiny bit as good in real life as they do on the package). And, they are not exactly healthy meals.
Then, when I became a little older and a little braver, I learnt a few kitchen short cuts, and even started making small meals. I made soups, quiches, even roasts and before I knew it I started to believe that cooking a meal was as easy as the pros make it look on those cooking shows.
I changed my attitude a little and realized that making a good, healthy, homemade meal every day isn't really hard work at all. This also started me thinking about why I had always thought that it was. And, I came up with three (really good - in my opinion) excuses for my previous cooking challengedness.
The first excuse was my up bringing. My mother used to cook for the family (she was a stay at home mom), and when I recall those meals I remember that every time she made a nice hot, healthy home cooked dinner she would make us feel like she had slaved over the stove all day long. This is probably the reason that I believed that cooking was a long and difficult task (don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that all cooking is easy and quick, but you can get away with making lots of quick, healthy meals). In my mom's defense I have to say that I have seen a great many films and television shows which made cooking out to be really difficult (and no, I'm not talking about cooking shows). Yes, I do realize that these are sitcoms and are supposed to be funny, but for those of us who don’t spend very much time in the kitchen, it just makes cooking seem like another tedious chore.
My second excuse for staying away from the kitchen was the home economics lessons that I had to take in high school. We were taught the "correct" way to cook. Did you know that there is a correct way to do everything, including how to measure food? I found this too fussy, and frankly, annoying. I have since come to realize that my cake will rise, whether I level off the cup of flour or not!
The third thing that kept me from cooking was cookbooks. Today's recipe books are far much more fun and user friendly than in the past. I’m sorry, I guess I’m just really shallow, but I prefer to use cookbooks that have nice glossy, colorful pictures. There are also lots of entertaining cooking shows on TV which both teach you how to cook and are packed with brilliant, inspiring ideas for healthy meals.
The internet is also a great source of cooking inspiration to me. I love to visit Pinterest and check out all those pins of delicious looking meals. It’s great to have such a gigantic pool of ideas, all of that cooking inspiration there just luring me in; from drinks, to decorated cakes (I might even try to make one, one day), and even the healthy meals on Pinterest look delectable.
What really helped me overcome my kitchen phobia was the fact that I learned that I don't have to follow every recipe word for word. I can improvise! I can take out any ingredient I don't want (or don't have) and put something else in there instead. Cooking became so much easier when I realized that I don’t have to follow the rules. I actually even enjoy cooking now, it's become a relaxing, creative outlet. Who knows, maybe I’ll also be posting my wares on Pinterest one of these days.
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© 2016 Carol Morris