For as much as I love to cook, I was SUPER intimidated by the thought flying solo in a professional kitchen at the beginning of my career. Yes seriously.
Now to give you some background as to here I believe my inner doubt came from, I was a pronie as a child. Professional pronie complete with falling up stairs and getting stuck between the wall and the top of the bunk bed when I did fall off. And let us remember the time I was sitting in the house watching tv on my new beach chair because it was raining outside, and I fell off that also. And the time I was helping my Mom make her fabulous cheesecake in the b lender and turned it on before the lid was on it. That truly got me banned from the kitchen for an exceptionally long time. So, I think most of my inner self confidence had to do with my overachievement in the accident-prone part of the world.
My question to you-Does cooking intimidate you? Are you afraid that your food will not turn out as good as that picture of the recipe you found? Do you think snazzy knife skills are the only way to be a good cook? Do you think that if you do not have the exact knife to do that exact cutting job you see in the instructions; your food will taste like cat poo? Does the mere thought of cooking turn your knees to applesauce?
Let’s begin with differentiating between being intimidated by cooking and NOT enjoying cooking. One of my all-time favorite lines that I say is “If everyone loved to cook, we would not have stoves, ovens, furniture, cars, etc.”. God gave us all our skill sets to make the world go ‘round. It is okay to not enjoy cooking or simply loathe the thought of being in a kitchen doing anything other than eating food. Intimidation is when you can think up literally ANY reason why you are cooking is a bad idea for anyone eating the food you prepare including yourself.
I would like to destroy cooking imaginary rules for you today and maybe make cooking a little more enjoyable. That is what I do when you have cooking lessons with me. I meet you where you are at in your food journey and find ways to make cooking more enjoyable.
Rule Number 1 You need a complete knife set in order t cook. To me, as long as you have a chef knife to your comfort zone (so many sizes and handle shapes and weights), a paring knife (same as the chef knife), and maybe a filet knife if you cook a lot of chicken and meat, you can prep ANYTHING. It is truly about having these knives that are comfortable in your hand that makes knife work easy, not the brand of knife. Now, it does need to be sharp or you will be cutting your fingers instead of your veggies and meat, that is true. So, make sure you have a place to get your knives sharpened or have an at home knife sharpener you like.
Rule Number 2 You must follow every step in a recipe. Oh My Gosh. Sometimes I wonder where these people come up with recipes. Now I get it that when you do not know how to cook, it does help to be told wash your veggies, cut your veggies, cook your veggies. And that knowing your oil needs to be hot before adding your food makes it cook properly. But sometimes, there are multiple unnecessary steps that turn me off from recipes. I will have clients send me recipes they want to me to make, and after I read them, I think “No wonder they want me to cook this for them, I would pay someone also!” Some also LOVE labor intensive recipes (that is the way some meals MUST be prepared), it just is not for me. My husband loves spending all day in the kitchen to make a meal that is annihilated in 10 minutes by our boys. I digress. It was my Chef Ed that told me all you have to do is throw all the ingredients in a pot and your soup will taste fine. And it does. Does it taste better/is better for you when you make your own veggie or meat stock? Yes. But seriously, you can literally toss a soup together in minutes and let it cook until it is done.
Rule Number 3 Always use only the ingredients in the recipe. One of my happiest moments happen when I am scheduled to do a lunch and learn, or a TV spot and the produce is out of stock that I am demo-ing. And I must then find a substitute for that ingredient. You can literally find multiple suggestions online for food/seasoning substitutes for almost everything out there if you cannot think of a substitute on your own. For example, what happens when you do not have peanut butter in the house, and you are making a peanut sauce? Use almond or cashew or whatever nut butter you do have. What if I am allergic to rosemary? Use thyme or oregano. Or if you want sweet use basil. Oregano is more savory. Want to make an Asian flair? Sauté your onions and ginger together Don’ like the look or onion or ginger? Use powdered. I do that for plenty of my clients that like the flavor but do not want to see these foods.
These are a few of my tips. If you have any questions, please leave them for me to answer or ask my o my FB Page The Food Whisperer.
Love yourself. Love your food.