8 Ways to Really Enjoy Cooking

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I’m not going to lie: sometimes I don’t love cooking.

Most of the time I feel passionate and energized about trying out new recipes, making favorite meals, and baking. But when it comes down to it, sometimes I get stressed out or feel the “chore-ness” of cooking.

Maybe you have the same thing?

I think it just comes down to a few barriers that can be solved without too much work. Here are my 8 ways to enjoy cooking.

Practice mise en place

This fancy term (which I hope I spelled right) means have everything ready to go before cooking starts. That means washing, chopping, maybe measuring, and having all tools and utensils ready. I find this really helpful. Sometimes when cook without any prep, I turn into a stressball. I suddenly need my onion, but it’s not chopped yet or I’m scurrying back and forth between the fridge and cabinets. I feel so much more relaxed and chef-like when my ingredients and tools are ready for me.

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Music!

I always forget how music turns my kitchen-time into play-time. I love putting on a fun song, and then singing and dancing like a goof. I am fully aware I sometimes take myself too seriously — dancing or all-out-singing is a good remedy.

Here’s a couple songs to get you started:

Goofy+banjo+SNL nostalgia makes this one a winner.

Oldie-but-goodie from BNL.

Work It Out

This may sound obvious, but sometimes you just have to look at the small problems that are making you not enjoy your kitchen-time and then work them out.

For example, I really hate needing to defrost meat the same night I need to use it. So even if I don’t have an exact meal plan, I make sure to defrost overnight to save the small headache later. Maybe you hate getting lots of dishes dirty? Look for recipes that are one-pot meals.

Try a new ingredient or recipe

Reading other food blogs always makes me excited to try new recipes. Same with Pinterest. You can look around the web for ideas or include ones you’ve already pinned/bookmarked on your next week’s meal plan.

You can also look for new things to try at the grocery store. It’s easy to blindly grab your usual foods, but even one new sauce, veggie, or ingredient can get you pumped for cooking.

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Organize your kitchen

It’s never too late to do some re-organizing so that all your most-used ingredients and tools are accessible. I did this the other day with a drawer that never opened or closed right because it was too full. I stashed a few of the utensils I hardly used in a different spot. An easy fix for a small annoyance. Again, I’m sure Pinterest is a hotbed for storage and organization ideas. I would love to hear if you’ve tried any of them.

Find a hang out buddy

David’s my hang-out buddy in the kitchen. I love when he hangs out with me while I cook, tells me about his day, only occasionally gets in the way, and entertains me.

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Plan your cooking time

I don’t always love spending my weeknights cooking. So I do more cooking and prepping on the weekend. This includes chopping vegetables for salads, roasting sweet potatoes, cooking soup or another meal that will give us leftovers, or grilling chicken. I think it helps to pay attention to your motivation levels and work around them.

Smile, act like you enjoy it, and give yourself props

Another take-away from The Happiness Project: act the way you want to feel. Acting like it’s fun to prep and combine ingredients into a meal can make it more fun. In any case, a home-cooked food is an accomplishment. It means you made the conscious choice to ignore take-out, save money, feed your loved ones, practice a cooking skill, or just nourish your body. Seriously, good job!

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

What are your ways to enjoy cooking?

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2 thoughts on “8 Ways to Really Enjoy Cooking

  1. Chore-ness – definitely going to add that to my vocabulary. Also, stressball! I love cooking, usually. I find that things that help me not turn into a stressball include planning ahead, putting things away immediately after I use them, and keeping a sink full of hot soapy water while I’m cooking/baking. Nothing would stress me out more than to start planning dinner at 4:30 in a messy kitchen with a bunch of dirty stuff piling up in the sink. (Also, too many non-essential people in the kitchen!)

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