Making Cooking Fun and Easy Again
Food is essential for all of us to live, and cooking meals for ourselves and loved ones has been a sacred tradition for centuries. However, nowadays cooking is often seen as more of a chore than a labor of love. Restaurants and take-out orders are undoubtedly faster and easier than preparing food yourself, and ready-made frozen meals and “junk food” can be far cheaper than purchasing ingredients for a complicated recipe. Though as people are spending more time at home due to an increase in remote working after the Covid pandemic, some are rediscovering the art of home cooking not just as a necessary job, but as an activity they can be passionate about.
In 2020 cooking meals at home became essential as the pandemic forced many restaurants to temporarily (and for some permanently) close. For a while, many people were using the opportunity to experiment, try new recipes, or even learn how to cook in the first place. After such a long period of needing to cook from home though, the excitement died down and many experienced cooking fatigue, causing them to grow bored and lose the motivation they had to cook. Currently, most restaurants are open and offer many options from carryout to delivery, so it might be tempting to go back to the quick and convenient way of eating we grew so accustomed to before. So how does one regain the motivation to cook from home again? By reigniting the excitement of trying new things along with implementing tricks to make cooking just as easy as ordering take-out.
The Spark of Creation
An important step in overcoming any kind of burnout is to add variety and try new things to keep it interesting. During the height of the pandemic, many cooking and baking trends became popular online as people searched for new ways to quell the boredom of being stuck inside. Some of these trends included baking sourdough bread, creating window box gardens, and using tortillas to make quick and easy meals. While perhaps some of these trends were short-lived and others may be too time-consuming or complicated now that we’re back to our normal busy lives, there’s no shortage of creativity and innovation when it comes to food. Professional chefs and home cooks alike experiment and discover new creations every day, and with the internet, it’s easy to find a culinary venture you haven’t tried yet.
One thing the internet has in abundance is recipes, from simple soups to complex desserts. The beauty of food is that everyone can put their own spin on it. It’s possible to find two different recipes for the same meal with completely different ingredients and different results. If cooking has you feeling bored or frustrated, trying a new recipe or even a new take on a classic can do wonders. If you’re more adventurous, maybe try something you’re not entirely sure you’ll like, and don’t let one or two ingredients hold you back. Many recipes offer substitutions for allergies, diet restrictions, or simply for preference.
Along with new recipes, new sources of inspiration can also spark your creativity in the kitchen. Food inspiration doesn’t necessarily have to come from a cooking documentary or celebrity chef cookbooks. Look to the things you love to get your imagination running. Maybe a dish in your favorite tv show, movie, or video game looks so delicious you can’t help but create a recipe in your head so can eat it yourself. Or perhaps a new ingredient you’ve been wanting to try will inspire a whole new dish. An intriguing painting or other art pieces might even get your creative gears turning. You can look to anything for ideas on how to expand your cooking repertoire, no matter how simple or outlandish they may be.
Keeping Things Simple
For many people, cooking can be a daunting task, but there are numerous ways to make it much easier. Keeping your kitchen stocked with handy, time-saving tools is just one way to make cooking feel like much less of a hassle. Consider investing in appliances such as an air fryer, a stand mixer, or a pressure cooker to help streamline the cooking process.
One must-have in the kitchen is a crockpot. Crockpot meals are some of the easiest but also tastiest dishes to put together. Not to mention the amount of leftovers these meals usually leave, meaning you’ll have dinner not just for one night, but for a whole week. There is no shortage of crockpot recipes online, so running out shouldn’t be an issue.
Another great way to make cooking at home easier is with the use of home meal kits. These kits are pre-proportioned and packaged meals that simply need to be put together and cooked, eliminating the need for any prep time or measuring. There are many different companies that offer this service and nowadays some grocery stores even sell their own meal kits as well. They’re a great option if you’re limited on time but still want the feeling of a home-cooked meal.
Possibly the best tool in the kitchen is your smartphone or tablet. The internet is a vast resource for cooking, not just by way of recipes, but also tools to make the cooking process go smoother. There are countless tutorials and even virtual cooking classes, guides for ingredient substitutions, references for cooking temperatures and times, and conversion calculators such as cups to ounces to help you with accurate measurements.
Cooking is an art that many have lost the passion for, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a fun and easy way to fuel your body and those around you. With creativity and the proper tools cooking can once again be something you love to do rather than something you have to do.