To this day I question my abilities as a cook. It’s not really the cooking part that causes my anxiety, it’s the “what will other people think” that gets to me.
I don't feel that way when cooking for me and my husband or for my side of the family - because, well - I don’t really care what they think ;-)
Actually, it's that I don't feel the need to be a "chef" when I cook for them, but I have felt that way when cooking for others.
I'm comfortable that I'm not a bad cook, but can get really stressed about cooking for others, because I'm a simple cook. In fact, I always apologize that I’m not a fancy cook – and therein lies the rub.
We don't have to be fancy or a chef to prepare great-tasting, nourishing food. In fact, people love home-cooked food. I’ve typically heard nothing but praise. For some, perhaps it’s just politeness, but from most, it comes across sincerely, and when they ask for seconds, I’m pretty confident that they liked it.
So it's time to stop feeling you need to measure up to the standard of chefs on TV cooking shows! Don't let watching others cook intimidate you into cooking less.
Countless studies have proven that a huge key to health is cooking our own food. We know the ingredients and can stay away from those things that make us bloated, sick, suck the energy out of us, etc.
At most restaurants, the descriptions on the menu don't list everything that's actually in the dish - something I've "paid for" many times.
I came across a post from Shalene Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky, authors of Run Fast. Eat Slow in Rodale Wellness, and wanted to share their simple wisdom with you - with my take added in.
“Cooking is a crucial life skill, a lost art form, and a gift that keeps on giving. Arguably it’s as important as learning to read and write, but most schools no longer offer cooking classes and unfortunately very few of us cooked alongside our moms. For those who grew up with Sir Stouffer, Mr. Campbell, and Chef Boyardee in their kitchens, it’s never too late to learn to cook.”
5 Tips Every Cook Needs to Know
1. Buy the freshest and highest quality ingredients you can.
Yes, much of the time, it will cost you more, but far superior flavor and nutrition. I’ve found that the fresher the food, the less I need to do – the food speaks for itself.
2. Don’t be afraid of salt.
Salt draws out the juices and flavors that transform ingredients. The key is to use high-quality, minimally processed salt such as sea salt or pink himalayan salt, which can contain over 80 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron, so it does more than just make your food taste better.
3. Don’t be afraid of fat.
Fat is an essential component of cooking and is a key for carrying flavor. A little fat can transform a dish from bland and dry to full of flavor and satisfying. Good fats (such as avocado, coconut or olive oils, ghee or real butter) are good for you, and fatty foods can even help you lose weight.
4. Read through a recipe in its entirety before you begin, and prep all of the ingredients in advance.
Mise en place is a French culinary phrase used by chefs the world over, and it literally means “putting in place.” Put all your ingredients in place and the recipe will flow smoothly. This has frequently been my downfall – I get lazy and don’t want more dishes to clean from all the prepped food. I have learned the hard way– I create more of a mess and screw up when I don’t do this.
5. Taste as you go. (I’m all over this one!)
Obviously don’t taste meat dishes until they’re fully cooked; however always be sure to taste your final dish before serving it. If it’s bland, it might need a little more flavor, such as - a touch of sea salt, a dollop of olive oil or some lemon juice to brighten the flavor. “Because ingredients and cooking techniques vary tremendously, it’s impossible to give precise measurements for seasonings. That’s why it’s always up to you to taste and decide if the dish needs any extra love.”
So maybe you're not ready to host a dinner party, and that's OK! But there's no reason not to experiment and cook for yourself and your family - and get everyone involved!
Wishing you Bon Appetit
P.S. If this all sounds good, but you need some help working through the practicalities, let’s talk and find solutions for YOU. I offer a complimentary session and scheduling is simple with my online booking system: Schedule Now