Some people see cooking as a chore and they dread having to do it. Others may have magierocophobia, the fear of cooking that keeps the out of the kitchen. Many people have given up all together and just eat take-out and convenience foods. To these people cooking is difficult, it’s time consuming and the results aren’t worth it.
But, that’s not me. I love cooking, it makes me happy. I get great enjoyment from finding new ingredients, combining flavors, making sauces, and accepting the accolades that come with a meal so good that it rivals any restaurant in town.
Why do so many people hate and fear cooking while I love it? What could the difference be? Yes, I’m a professional Chef and Certified Culinary Educator, but since it’s my job you’d think I’d need a break once in a while. When I go on vacation from my “job”, I cook even MORE. How can that be? Why would I cook while on vacation?
The answer is obvious to me, and can become obvious to you as well. Cooking is not a chore, and it’s not feared when it becomes fun and easy. How do you make cooking a stress-free, fun and easy hobby?
First, you forget about written recipes. Stop trying to cook line-by-line. They’ll just confuse you with their variables and photography that can never be duplicated. Don’t concentrate on WHAT to cook, focus on HOW to cook.
The next step is to think of cooking as a standard, repeatable method. Whether you will saute, roast, steam, grill, or broil, there are steps that can be duplicated again and again no matter what the item you’re cooking is.
This removes the chore and fear in cooking. If you are cooking by recipes, you have to re-learn cooking every night. You have to figure out what the author’s opinion of what you should be eating tonight should be. This creates the stress of whether “the recipe will come out or not”. Evidently, some recipes work and others don’t. The fact is that NO recipes work correctly and you shouldn’t depend on them.
Once you start to look at cooking the same as driving your car, working at your career, or practicing your hobby, the things you do without thought every day, you will enjoy the same benefits of cooking that make me happy.
1) Freedom – I have the freedom to cook ANY ingredients I can find, even if I don’t exactly know what they are. I can create fantastic meals from the items I have on-hand and don’t have to run to the grocery store for food that the recipe commands. I make recipes from what I already have.