When I was seeing individual patients, I once had a woman tell me she put the baby gate up to keep her toddler out of the kitchen to avoid the mess. It was a sad moment for me to hear, for her to tell, and most importantly, for that toddler to be left out of learning a basic yet essential lifelong skill. Cooking. It’s often said that kitchens sell homes. If you watch any television that includes home remodeling and/or buying and selling, you have likely also heard someone laughingly say they need a gourmet kitchen even if they don’t cook. It’s time to change the mentality that not cooking is “a thing” and stop letting fear decide whether or not we can tackle our next meal. Here are the steps to take to lead you to success in meal preparation. Your family and your health will thank you for it.
- Prepare properly. Read the whole recipe, including ingredients and directions, ahead of time. Take inventory of the items you have on hand and the equipment you need to make it. Make a list of gaps and shop accordingly before anything is started in the kitchen. Then, don’t just let food happen to you. Instead of playing defense surrounded by food that you maybe wouldn’t have chosen yourself, because you didn’t plan your own, play offense and make a plan. If you have your own delicious option, that sweet roll in the office kitchen won’t call your name nearly so loud.
- Leave enough time. Cooking is messy. It takes time. Embrace it. This is not a luxury, although many food shows position it as such. We are talking about the process of preparing food, without which, we would die. Literally, right? So leave time to do it properly, and dare I say, have some fun? Turn on the radio, pour a glass of water or wine if you desire, and enlist the help of others. Have a conversation while you cook. It can be life changing – or at least enjoyable.
- Much like life, cooking is a journey, not a destination. We are never “done”, so stop trying to finish. The next meal, the next day, the next occasion are on the horizon. That’s the tricky part of making better choices. There is no finish line, only a continued journey, so don’t wish to be done. Learn how to do more while you travel on your culinary adventure.