Do you often joke about how you’re a terrible cook whilst tucking into yet another plate of take-out food? Do you always say how you should probably spend some time learning to cook, but simply don’t have the time?
If you’ve never been taught cooking skills, then building a habit of cooking your own meals can be truly daunting.
But, spending most of your life surviving on microwave meals, sandwiches, frozen pizza, restaurant meals and take-out isn’t great either – not for your health, or your wallet.
Maybe you want to make a lifestyle change when it comes to your diet, but are simply lacking the know-how to do it. You may have plenty of reasons as to why you keep putting off learning to cook – but are they excuses that you could work around, if you had the motivation to do so? It’s perfectly possible to overcome your fears and reservations to become a confident, capable home cook.
The first step to building a cooking habit that you can sustain for life is to face your challenges head on and come up with some rational solutions to any excuses that you have been allowing to hold yourself back so far. Some of the most common reasons people give for not learning to cook include:
#1. When You Don’t Have Time:
This can be a powerful and very popular excuse, and it’s often used to avoid much more than simply cooking. In order to overcome it, a shift in mindset is needed. Now, it’s not uncommon for people to have very little spare time left over in the day if they are already committed to several different things, or have a difficult job that requires them to work long hours.
But most of the time, ‘not having time’ all comes down to a matter of priorities. If learning to cook and getting better at it is important to you, then you will probably be able to make the time by shifting around some other activities. For example, if you tend to come home from work and watch TV, you could swap this for cooking instead – and then watch your favourite show while eating your delicious home-cooked meal.
#2. When You Didn’t Learn How:
A lot of adults who are comfortable in the kitchen will have spent their childhoods around parents or other relatives who did a lot of home cooking. As kids, they probably have fond memories of helping mum with making dinner or even making it on their own and feeling proud afterwards.
But if your parents didn’t teach you how to cook, the good news is that you can replicate that experience. Cooking courses are a great place to start. You can find online cooking courses that you can go through at home by yourself, or attend a class where you will be able to share the experience with others and have a teacher guiding you every step of the way. Remember, start small, and making mistakes is normal – messing up is just an opportunity to learn what to avoid next time.
#3. When You Hate Washing Up:
Nobody likes washing up – and it’s an entirely reasonable excuse given that cleaning in general isn’t most people’s favourite activity. But, as human beings, we have to keep ourselves and our environments clean in order to lead a happy and healthy life, so it’s important to incorporate this thinking into your cooking.
You may find that it is easier to incorporate cleaning into your cooking process – for example, when you’re waiting for your food to bake in the oven before eating it, you can use this spare time to get any dishes you’ve used to prepare out of the way. And, try to shift your mindset – cleaning dishes doesn’t have to be a chore! In fact, if you put some music on while you’re cleaning, it can be a great opportunity to wind down and relax after a long day.
#4. When You Don’t Like Grocery Shopping:
Grocery shopping isn’t for everyone. And when you’ve got an hour or so spare, the last thing you probably want to do with your spare time is spend it walking around a busy supermarket – it can be time consuming, expensive, and just downright stressful. But most people who cook regularly actually don’t mind grocery shopping that much – because they’ve made it work for them.
First of all, check out online grocery shopping options. If you can, then it may be a better idea for you to simply place your grocery order online from the comfort of your home and have it delivered right to your door. This isn’t just easier – you also have the advantage of being able to see your basket total up, which can make it easier to save money.
And, if you must go to the store, schedule it in – it’s always easier when you have a set grocery shopping routine, rather than doing it in your spare time. You may want to pay a visit to the shop when you’re already out, such as when you’re on the way home from work.
#5. When You Don’t Know What to Cook:
Cooking can be a very exciting and rewarding experience when you’ve got a certain dish in mind and put your mind to creating it and making it really well. But what if you’re completely lost for ideas, and hate looking for recipes? Maybe you’ve been looking through recipes for a while and just can’t find something that you like the look of.
Well, the good news is that no recipe has to be followed to the letter. It’s easy to swap out different ingredients to customise a dish to your preferences, and still get really tasty results. And, once you have a basic idea of how to cook, coming up with your own recipes is easier than you may have realised.
#6. When You Don’t Know the ‘Proper’ Techniques:
Don’t get too worked up around correct cooking techniques – the only time these are really going to matter is if you’re working in a professional kitchen. It’s no big deal if you have no idea how to ‘correctly’ handle a spatula, or if your whisking doesn’t quite go to plan – leave worrying about professional techniques to professional chefs, and if something works for you, then simply continue on with it!
There is a huge margin for error when it comes to cooking, and even if you feel that you’ve seriously messed up when in the middle of cooking a meal, it might end up coming out of the pan or oven tasting delicious anyway, so in the end it doesn’t even matter. And even if you do end up messing your dish up beyond repair, you can take this as a learning curve – you’ll know what to avoid next time you cook that dish.
And, thanks to the endless wealth of cooking information now available online, you can simply look anything that you’re unsure about up – there are plenty of ‘how to’ articles and YouTube videos you can use when cooking.
So, what are you waiting for? Learn to cook and change your life today!