I often hear that a lot of people don’t like cooking. I hear that it “gets in the way” and “I don’t have time”. It is troubling to hear this when cooking is such a priority for us in our household. We make it part of our lives and try to make it as enjoyable as possible. Why not? We reap the benefits by being able to eat delicious, real and home cooked meals…so the effort is worth it. There are some of us who just know how to cook and can cook…really…good… Like me. I’m not being conceited either.
I know I am a good cook and so is my hubby – arguably he may even be better than me:) I don’t know how I learned how to be a good cook, but I just learned. Well, actually I do. My mother always had me in the kitchen at her side—helping her. We do a child a huge disservice when we don’t involve them in our cooking…I will get off the soapbox…eh-hem. Back to cooking. Then there are some people who can get by and can cook, but need an exact recipe every.single.time. Hey, at least they try! Then there are some of you who not only won’t cook, but can’t cook. Why? Because you don’t like it right? Well, hopefully these tips that we have for you will make you begin to love to cook…hopefully!?
1) Get organized—plan your grocery shopping and then make a meal plan; or vice versa. When you organize not only what you will buy, what you will cook and when you will cook, half the work is done. I find that a lot of people don’t cook because of failure to plan. And, yes, planning takes organization.
2) Plan your meals—plan your meal for the week or for the month. Oh, and don’t stop there. Plan on when you will defrost, season and cook the different items on your meal plan. We try to plan for the month and jot everything down on a shared calendar. This way the whole family knows and is involved with what is being prepared and when.
3) Start with a clean kitchen—clear the sink, empty the dishwasher, wipe the counter and get it ready for a nice time of cooking. This will just help you feel more at ease while you cook and give you the space you need to spread out.
4) Clean as you go—try to find a system for cleaning up as you go. For example, once I throw the meat in the pot to brown, I will wash out the bowls from the marinade and clear the counter. Washing things as you go and putting things back will help you not to have a huge accumulated mess in the end. This will leave less overall cleanup.
5) Get the right tools—we don’t have a lot of tools in our kitchen, but the ones we have invested in, we use and use A LOT! Buy things that you will use over and over and take care of them. We opted not to buy ‘pot and pan sets’ and have purchased items that we will use and need for our own cooking needs. The best investment we have ever made is our Dutch oven and we use it for almost every meal.
6) Try to use as little tools as possible—try to use the same thing for more than one use. If you are making cabbage and then curry chicken, make the cabbage first and then use the same pot to make the chicken. That is one less pot to use. You can also do this with spatulas, spoons and other utensils.
7) Find simple recipes—learn basic food prep skills like cutting onions, peppers, garlic, etc. and then find recipes that have simple ingredients, directions and not too many steps and complications.
8) Get loved ones involved—we cook as a family. We make cooking a family affair and make it a priority. This also helps with children—especially if they are picky eaters. If they are involved in the process, they are more inclined to try the food.
9) Listen to music—don’t worry—be happy! Nothing makes me happier than music. I will turn on a PANDORA reggae station and get cooking. Pick whatever music puts you in a good mood or the mood you need to be in when you are cooking…the PANDORA or SPOTIFY app is perfect for this.
10) Have fun—have fun cooking! Laugh, joke, dance, smile…you get the idea. It is only a chore if you make it a chore. Perspective and attitude is everything! Now get cooking!