on Jan 16, 2009

Firegirl asked me a question I get a lot when people discover I can cook: What can I cook if I hate cooking, and dislike 80% of the ingredients God put on this earth?

In my opinion, there several possible answers:

  1. Learn how to cook or get someone else to do the cooking.
  2. Stop being picky. You are an adult. It's time to start trying new foods.
  3. Keep eating your processed fast food (and it's fast food if it came from a box and all you did was microwave it) and live a short -but cook free and picky-eating- life.

Sorry. There is no way to improve your habits if you are not willing to broaden your choices and skills. I get it that you hate cooking. I hate it too most times (which is why I changed careers). But just like house work, and exercise and grooming, you just have to get on with it. Period. Most people who hate cooking do so because they think they are not good at it. Cooking can be really scary, but let me tell you that cooking is just a skill. It's like learning how to drive or how to tweeze your eyebrows. Hard and scary at first, with loads of mistakes, but then you get better at it. And you even want to get adventurous.

The best way to lose the fear of cooking is to have a chat with your family and say, 'listen I am going to make loads of mistakes, but I am giving this a go. So, if what I make is inedible, we can order pizza'. Accept the mistakes. They happen to EVERYONE. I have a chef's degree and have known to salt the soup, burn the meat and use the wrong ingredient. It's not the end of the world. Some food may go to waste but that is the price of it. You scratched the car at some point, and over plucked your eyebrows. They grew back. Next time you make the dish, it will come out better. I guarantee it.

The next thing to do - if you really hate it so much- is to involve your family in the cooking. Either get everyone to cook twice a week or start cooking together. It's easier to make mistakes if the other person is making them as well. Everybody will be more tolerant and even start to laugh about it.

The best way to improve your cooking skills is to start by following a recipe to the letter. There are loads of cookbooks and websites that have recipes categorized by level of difficulty. Start with the easy ones, and make them several times. The first time you will feel unsure and awkward, but the second you at least know what to expect. The third time will be a breeze, and by the fourth time, chances are you won't even need to look at the recipe. As your confidence grows, move up to the harder ones. Eventually, you will feel sure enough to start tweaking the recipes to your own liking. You may not like carrots, and have leftover zucchinni. Try it out. Most of the times it will work out. If it doesn't, well now you know zuchinni doesn't go with parsnips. Boo hoo. Move on.

A good thing about cooking more and involving the family in it, is that you also start trying out new ingredients. Overcoming the fear of cooking makes you feel proud, and it will make you feel more tempted to try (and like) whatever you made.

So go on! Find an attractive website (Pioneer Woman is good, as she does a step by step of easy foods with pictures) and try a recipe out. I bet it turns out amazing!

Wow, I've rambled on about cooking and have not even started on the health part yet. But this post is already too long. I think I'll continue with that tomorrow.


Firegirl said...

Bwahahaha....I just cracked up laughing reading the first sentence while at work...
You sound just like my BFF D!!!! Welcome to the club. (:-D

Oh, okay. I'll try....she types wistfully.

Thank you!!!!!

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

I like going over to someone's home and having them show you how to cook a favorite dish. It is fun to help- and if you're a hands on learner- it makes scarier recipes less so. Plus a little vino helps!

Sarah M. said...

This came across pretty harsh, I thought. Maybe that's not how you meant it. But I was still thinking about it hours later and was really glad you weren't talking to me.

Dynamita said...

You are right Sarah, it came across as pretty harsh and it is not how I meant it. I too thought about it for hours after writing it! I meant for it to be a bit witty but it sounds horribly like a lecture!

Sorry. I hope I didn't offend somebody, I can come across as a bit blunt sometimes.

I do also think maybe people could benefit from an outside observer to help them see things in a different light. Since we don't really know each other, feelings are less easily hurt... at least that is what I am telling myself to not feel too bad.

I'll try to make part two a bit nicer.

Bethtastic said...

I like your straight-forwardness, Dynamita.
In fact, my good friend's husband has just been complaining about how he should eat healthier, but he doesn't eat ANYTHING GREEN. Ever. GAH!
So, I told her about your post, and we had a great laugh.
Thanks for the honesty of your writing - I read it as witty! :)