I love to cook, because I love to eat. I love searching through cookbooks for new recipes I can change and make my own. But, that’s just me. There are a whole lotta people who hate it.
Preparing dinner is just one more chore at the end of a long day, right? Maybe you’re stressing on the way home, thinking about what the heck you’re going to make– chicken again? There are a few recipes you’ve wanted to try, but you don’t have 2 key ingredients. You arrive home hungry; you just need to eat something, anything. You whip up a frozen pizza (the second this week) and serve it with a side of guilt. You deserve better, your family deserves better. At least clean up is easy tonight.
Sound familiar? Cooking is a dying practice and I desperately want to change that.
The kitchen is a place of power, not a ball and chain. Monks revere their cook because his meals affect the well being of the entire monastery. As head chef of the household, you hold that important role. It’s time to enjoy it!
If you hate cooking (or just aren’t comfy in the kitch), here are 4 things you can do to make the mojo flow mo’:
1. It’s happy hour– so, make it happy. Whether you’re cooking for 30 minutes or 3 hours, make it fun. Put on your favorite music, set up a favorite movie on your laptop, listen to an audiobook. Pour a cup of tea or glass of wine or beer. Breathe deeply. Try to smile. If you have kids, either get them involved or get them out of your hair.
2. Plan it up. So, this is the kicker. Meal planning of some type is essential. Most people cannot come home night after night and whip up a delicious meal based on the contents of the fridge and pantry. If meal planning isn’t your thing, start small and plan just 2 or 3 meals a week. Or, consider subscribing to a meal planning service. If you work from home and dread the dinner-making hour, do your dinner prep (or even cooking) in the morning or at lunchtime.
3. Get your playbook. Get some go-to’s that can be made with pantry essentials. Grab a small binder and put about 10 of those recipes in the front. Teach the occasional cooks in your house how to make a few of those. Bam! A healthy dinner is always within reach.
4. Reframe the clean-up. There’s just no getting around this one– cleaning is part of cooking. Monks clean just to clean, because cleaning, like cooking, is transformative. Dirtying and then cleaning the kitchen keeps it alive, well oiled and loved. It won’t take as long as you think. Here’s a trick: set a timer for 15 minutes and start working. You’ll find that much of your work is finished by the time it dings.
If all else fails, repeat after me: I love to cook. Cooking is an act of self care. Meals can heal. I love to cook.
What about you? What are some ways that you make cooking more fun, more do-able? Let me know, in the comments below.