Signs your recipe rut isn’t actually a recipe rut… and what to do about it
Are you really in a recipe rut? Do you often think that if you had the perfect salad dressing recipe or rice dish or pasta sauce that life in the kitchen would be so much easier? With over 9,740,000 search results for a Green Goddess salad dressing alone… that’s for one single recipe type. It’s hard to imagine anyone who owns a computer or a phone can honestly feel like they’re in a recipe rut. There are recipes everywhere! Read on to see the signs that your recipe rut may not be a recipe rut at all and what you can do about it.
watch: Signs your recipe rut isn’t actually a recipe rut
READ: Signs your recipe rut isn’t actually a recipe rut
SIGN #1: You believe you’re either born with the cooking skill. Or you don’t have it and will never be a good cook.
You think recipe chips are implanted in our brains, like the latest Thermomix. You either know the recipes or you don’t. That you’ve either go the ‘cooking skills’ or you don’t.
No. A big fat no. Think of the food shows where Nigel Slater tours the world learning about new cuisines or Anthony Bourdain. They’ve committed seasons and seasons of shows to learning new cuisines, delicacies, skills. So you may argue they were cooks to begin with. What they uncover on those shows is this: “no matter where you live in the world, cooking is an essential part of the home, of life, of your culture, your region, your health. It’s just what they do.”
Watch any success story (for anything ever, maybe besides Mozart or a child prodigy), what you’ll find in the beginning of any skill, the person was really average.. for quite a while.
Do you remember learning to walk? Probably not. Instinctively we know to move from crawling to standing to walking. It’s innate in us. Like the drive to eat, because we get hungry. Yet I reckon you learning to walk was a hilarious process for your parents/guardians to watch. I dare say, you sucked for a while.
SIGN #2: You know what would make your meals better / get you out of your rut. But you never do anything about it.
“I need a new chicken dish”, you say.
“More on pot meals” you ask.
You collect and collect and search and bookmark. But you never do anything with the new information you’ve gathered.
Here we are, week 255 of this story and you’re still ruttin’.
Get the flavour bomb. Just do it.
You resisting getting the flavour bomb is more exhausting than actually going to the shops and buying it. I’m serious.
When we change our habits we are in fact teaching our body a new way of being and doing. So it will feel weird, don’t let this get in your way.
You’ve had the idea and you know exactly what you need. It’s meant for you. You brain and body want it.
You are not in a recipe rut. You’re in an action rut. Sure there are things on your plate to do, but really? This I’m too busy excuse is getting old. Do you want to get to the end of your life and think – farrk, I missed out on a lot because I thought I was so busy, I filled my life with the wrong things. I get a vibe a lot of us are heading down that path and maybe that’s what is meant for them. I doubt those people are here reading this. You are though, consider this your intervention.
Start with doing the thing you said you were going to do.
Make it easy for yourself – set a calendar reminder.
Buy the ingredients you will be so excited to cook, its what you’re going to think about all week until your scheduled cook day.
SIGN #3: You say the words ‘recipe rut’ multiple times per week.
Out loud in your head. On blogs. To your partner. you probably even scroll the food people on Insta. You bookmark all the recipes. You have a shelf full of cookbooks. Yet here we are in the age of information, with all the resources in the world. There are more recipes on the internet than you have days left in your life. And you’re telling me you’re in a recipe rut.
Here’s a start – open the first recipe you find and cook it!
If you’re short on time – business, work, family, partner, socialising. I want you to stop for a second and think about the times before you were in your current situation. We often move from phase to phase in our life using our current scenario as the reason we’re not doing the things we want to do. Yet, we move to a next phase and we’re still making excuses.
Life is a long time my friend. You’re human too, eating is essential to living.
Eating well is essential to living well. These are facts we all know about.
When you put these 2 things together – I see my pain and want to move through it quickly. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
The definition of a choice is anything that’s going on in your life. It’s there – you are choosing the be busy. You are choosing to make cooking hard. It will be hard for most people when they start – it’s just a reeducation in being human. It will be hard – but not as hard as you’re building it up to be.
SIGN #4: Everything in the food world is boring for you. you cant see how a tray of caramelised roasted pumpkin is exciting, or what you could do with it, simply, in under 5 mins.
You poo poo the simple cooking ideas and equally you won’t make the effort to find a more intricate recipe that floats your boat. You’re bored by the whole thing, the simple, the fancy, the recipe rut…. you point your frustration outwards, instead of looking at the thing that’s holding you back. A C T I O N.
Try this: really ask yourself what is boring you. you may find it’s your status quo – the in-between, the dragging of the feet, the making it difficult than it already is. From there: think of a meal that would excite you – crispy pork crackling? roasted beetroot dip. frittata. now go do it.
SIGN #5: You expect to know how to cook with applying zero effort.
This is a self fulfilling prophecy too – because each time it’s again boring, hello Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday…. you say, yep- there we go again, this shit is boring. See Lou, I told you I suck. No friend, you’re pushing shit up hill. This is your doing. I’m reminded of a quote from The Simpsons, the hillbilly mum says “help me doc, I’ve tried nothin’ and I’m all out of ideas” <queue laughter> my friend, it you.
SIGN #6: If you’ve never made it before you think it must be difficult.
Because your brain can’t even comprehend whats in it, even with zero exposure – OK this is natural. Yet you write it off – because you don’t know about it. This is not cool. What you’re really saying is ‘I don’t want to learn’ or ‘I don’t think I have the capability to learn anymore’. Keep your inquisitive mind, please. Your life and the world will be better for it. Complacency is a mother of a problem. Look around.
You’ve read the list and you can relate. What can you do now?
A recipe rut is a clear sign you’re overwhelmed by the cooking process and need structure via a meal plan and/or meal prep ritual.
It can also be a sign you lack foundation cooking skills – don’t worry most people lack skills. I certainly did. Once upon a time, these skills were a natural part of family life and ALL of the family was involved in learning and passing these skills on.
The negative affect this has had on our modern day health, habits and lifestyle is no joke. Nowadays… we pass the cooking buck to pre-made meals, takeaway and hide behind an excuse of busy. It’s not our fault this has happened but we are the ones bearing the brunt of it – especially if you’re within the ages of 25 (ish) and 45 (ish).
In my private client work and in Kitchen Saucery, we focus on building your Master Recipe list that works with your life. Everyone’s Master Recipe list looks a little bit different, depending on their life situation but at the core of it its a bunch of staple recipes that allow for sneaky ingredient variations to make them new, exciting and taste different.
This means you’re not starting from scratch every night following a new recipe step by step (which takes a whole lot of extra time). It also means you’re constantly getting better and faster at making these recipes and learning how to make them new and different. It’s the ultimate (and only) kitchen hack you’ll ever need.
There’s no better confidence booster than realising you have the skills to cook yourself and your family simple meals. It’s the cheaper, smarter and healthier option no matter which way you look at it.