6 reasons you aren’t enjoying cooking
It’s fair to say a lot of people out there don’t love to cook. But – cooking and feeding ourselves is a basic survival skill. The fact that so many of us don’t know how to feed ourselves and rely on takeaway food is crazy. Over the last 15 years I’ve found a way to love cooking and a method of cooking that bypasses so much ‘fluff’ that still isn’t talked about a lot. My shortcuts in the kitchen have become my bible and I wish you all knew just how simple cooking can be when you get out of your own way. But before we get there – here are 6 reasons you aren’t enjoying cooking.
1: You aren’t valuing your time and allowing space for cooking
You aren’t valuing your time and allowing space for cooking. You realise that you need to cook. You might go to the supermarket every week and buy your stuff. So you are already one step ahead of someone who isn’t even making that effort. But you are schlepping it around like you have a dark cloud over your head ‘that cooking is shit’.
And it’s a bore and it’s a chore and it’s never going be fun because of some reason and meaning that you’ve applied to it like:
- your mum wasn’t a good cook
- you’re just not that creative
- you have better things to do with your time
- the next season of MAFs is on and you want to watch that
- you can order a $13 Thai dish and it seems to do the same job of filling your gob rather than cooking a very simple Thai dish at home.
So you are schlepping it around with these beliefs. And so you get in the kitchen and you are already assuming that your meal sucks before you even start. And when you look at something from that lens of, I suck, do you know what happens? You suck. You suck big time. You’re never going to get out of that. So what to do instead? Find some ingredients that you love. For me, this is haloumi. I always use this example, one of the most popular dishes that I ever had in my catering business.
My healthy lunch delivery business around Sydney was a simple chickpea haloumi and grilled peach or fresh peach or fresh nectarine and salad. And I had this amazing f-off delicious dressing that was like green and punchy and beautiful and it went so well together. And you know what? It was a joy for me to make. It was simple ingredients and everybody could feel that. And they loved it too.
It was a punch of flavour. So that’s what I’m talking about. Find what’s exciting to you. That might be sausages with an amazing tomato sauce that could be. When frying it up, like fried rice style with lots of tamari and a bit of maple syrup and like heaps of coriander, whatever it is, make it fun because it’s going toi help you get out of this crappy belief that cooking sucks or cooking is boring or “cooking is not for me”, vibe and help you move through that.
SIDE NOTE: While you’re working on your skills, lean on pre-made quality ingredients to get you by. This might be an awesome mayo, dressing, sauce, bone broth concentrate, stock powder. I list a few of my favourite here.
2: You are buying poor quality ingredients
I’m a part of a few free cooking groups on Facebook. EG: Mums of Aldi. And I’m seeing a lot of people posting at the moment saying, My carrots are brown and I bought them 2 days ago.
And without throwing shade on Aldi, I’m gonna say as a broad range of most supermarkets. The quality ain’t there, so they don’t last as long in your fridge, which means you are either throwing them out and you’re wasting good money. The average household throws out two and a half thousand dollars worth of food every year, times that by 40 years, and see what you get.
That’s a lot of money to waste every year. Poor quality ingredients, poor quality produce equals less. Less shelf life, less excitement. Like who wants to see a soggy lettuce and go, Yay, I’m so excited to cook with a soggy lettuce. Unless you are you’ve had it since it was really fresh and it’s kind of going off and now it’s up to you to make something of it before you throw it out.
That can be kind of exciting. But if you just have crap stuff to begin with, it’s not exciting. It’s not going to be great. So my tip for everyone in this situation is, Take a beat and go to a fresh fruit and veggie kind of store and just have a look. You might normally get iceberg lettuce and green beans and pumpkin and sweet potato. Go and price shop if you want to, but also have a look across the board and see what vegetables are on special. See what’s in season. Usually on special means in season in fruit and veggie world. At a fresh fruit and veggie place, they’re going to be passing those savings onto you a lot more than a bigger supermarket that just has the same price all year.
3: you’re following recipes that are over complicating things.
This might look like a poor recipe from the online world that you’ve found, although I don’t like to blame it on recipes, I like to blame it actually on you. You and your skills. There is a chronic under skillage (AKA skill shortage) we’re seeing in the kitchen at the moment. Which is why I have to make videos like this. This stuff used to be taught to us by our parents and our grandparents. It was just what happened. And because of the whole convenience generation and packet food, microwave food, being able to buy a jar of pasta sauce in the supermarket, all these skills have been lost because we thought, Oh, well we don’t need to do that. When feeding yourself is basic survival – who did we allow to fool us that this was optional information?
Thinking a jar of bought pasta sauce is the same thing as cooking it for yourself in your home kitchen. When it doesn’t. And that doesn’t mean that it needs to be difficult at all. It’s just a little bit of effort and a little bit of thinking. So maybe you have a recipe and the writer has overcomplicated it, or maybe the recipe in itself is just a little bit too fancy or advanced for where you are at.
Maybe, you need to get back to basics. You need to learn to roast a cook. You need to learn to make a pot of rice without relying on a rice cooker. You don’t need a rice cooker. It’s taking up space. Unless you’re cooking rice for a lot of people, you do not need a rice cooker. Maybe you need to learn how to store things in your fridge correctly so they last.
Maybe you need to learn how to use your slow cooker or get a slow cooker. If you have to choose between a rice cooker and a slow cooker, get a slow cooker, way better investment. Then you can just pop your meal in the morning, go off to work, come home, and it’s ready to go, like done. Does it get any better than that?
SIDE NOTE: I know you need to learn the skills somewhere. But the longer you hang onto recipes and following them step by step, the less you learn. It takes a lot of effort to consciously learn from a recipe this way without any support or knowing the right questions to ask.
4: you’re following someone else’s rules
You’re either following them from a diet rules perspective. Oh my gosh, I just learned that white flour is the devil and I need to go gluten free. What am I going to do now? And you love bread, you love sourdough, you love crackers. And you don’t even have the symptoms of someone that is not digesting gluten properly. You are following these rules from these wellness people online and you’re just doing it as in dogma.
Someone I know stopped eating mango because someone else told them it was full of sugar and compared it to refined white sugar. So they listened. Even though mango was their favourite fruit and every December and January, all they do was eat mango. That’s fine. Bring your mangoes over here. I’ll eat ’em all. You’re following someone else’s rules and it is boring. It is stifling.
It is making you overcomplicate food, over stress about food and it’s leaving it all pretty lack luster. It’s not exciting.
Now we need to put a bit of a caveat in here. If you have digestive issues, if you have something going on in your life where you don’t feel well or healthy, maybe it’s a good idea to follow someone who knows what they’re talking about that can help you with hands on support to help you feel better. But blanket diets from randoms on the internet? It could be a reason you’re not enjoying cooking.
5: you are applying zero effort and expecting the world
You might find a recipe online, get the recipe, take it home, cook it, It turns out like crap. You feel crap about yourself. You feel angry at the person who wrote the recipe or the person who shared the recipe for you.
You might go and try and find some reason why it’s not working, but you do the same thing over and over again with the same attitude of, I kind of suck at cooking, and you never get anywhere. It’s a horrible place to be and it’s definitely a reason why you might not be enjoying cooking.
6: You aren’t using your brain
You have 30 years (potentially more or less) of cooking experience already, of eating food, of tasting food, of knowing what flavour combos you like, of knowing a lot about food from just your general day to day eating, and you don’t take that and apply it to the kitchen.
You’ll immediately get in the kitchen and second guess what to do with the chicken breast to put flavour in it because you’re not good with flavour. I’m not good at X, Y, z. I don’t know how to cook this. When really you’ve had 30 years of experience and it wouldn’t take much to apply it and to get a decent outcome and the example I like to use is. If I gave you a pizza base and said, Make a pizza, would you be able to make it the most F off delicious pizza you’ve ever tasted in your life?
Without a doubt, you would. Without a doubt, you would. So why can’t you take that pizza method and apply it to chicken breast or a whole chicken, or making some kind of fried rice or a jewelled quinoa or some kind of fritter? You absolutely could, and this is where it comes into it. It is glaringly obvious that most of us are walking around without the basic cooking skills that make cooking so freaking simple and just what we do. PS; that’s what I teach.
For example: You might be following a recipe and it is a one pot chicken and rice and you’ve put it in the oven and you’re following the instructions and you get to a point where it says: cook for 30 minutes and you bring it out of the oven and your rice isn’t cooked. There’s still pools of water in there, and your chicken doesn’t look crispy like it did in the photo of the recipe that you’re following. But you get it out and you’re questioning what to do. This is where our basic skills come in…. You know you want crispy chicken skin, you pop that thing back in the oven, maybe it needs a bit more oil on the top, or some salt.
Your rice isn’t cooked. There’s pools of water. And also your skin isn’t crispy. Maybe your oven is a bit lower in temperature than the version of the recipe creator, which means you might need an extra 10 minutes in the oven and it’s done. This is thinking require, this is being adaptable to a recipe. And it isn’t hard, but its where following a recipe every step of the process and NOT allowing yourself to THINK can trip you up.
This isn’t focusing on a recipe so hard that if it says put in two tablespoons of lemon and you taste it and you can’t taste any lemon at. You get angry at the recipe and decide that you’re a shit cook and you can never do this, and you can never do it again. And you may as well order take away forever and buy a packet dip and spend a lot of money on unnecessary things when all you really needed to do was add an extra tablespoon of lemon.
And that brings us to the end of six reasons why you aren’t enjoying cooking.